Among the more than 220 people arrested in connection with the 6 January attack on the American National Capital, the FBI has linked at least 40 defendants to extremist movements with at least 16 members or associates of the neo-fascist Proud Boys plus at least five connected to the anti-government Oath Keepers.
And nearly half of the 220+ federal cases were inspired by conspiracy theories, right-wing propaganda and racist, anti-immigrant extremist ideologies.
Also among the more than 220 people arrested have been state lawmakers, military veterans and a [Christian] ‘rabbi’ from Tampa Bay. This should be noted by Muslims because it publicises the sly tactics that some Christian Missionaries use to win converts.
The United States Department of Justice filed several charges against Michael Stepakoff, who is the Christian rabbi at Temple New Jerusalem, a messianic Protestant church [called synagogue] located in Palm Harbor.
Documents from the DOJ say Stepakoff could be seen on surveillance video taking photos with his cell phone after entering the US Capitol. He later posted these photos on social media. Someone who knew Stepakoff over 20 years ago, later identified him to authorities. Stepakoff appeared in court and was released on $25,000 bond and ordered to surrender all his firearms.
Michael Stepakoff was raised in a Jewish family but later was baptized after he accepted God’s son Jesus who he calls the Messiah known as Yeshua; through a Church named Beth Israel, a Messianic Jewish congregation whose ‘synagogue’ is the headquarters of the International Federation of Messianic Jews.
About 2/3 of the Beth Israel congregation are ethnically Jewish and 1/3 are Evangelical Protestants who love Israel. Messianic Jews say they do not refer to their messiah as “Jesus Christ,” although they admit that Yeshua is the same person as Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The large majority of Jews, who believe strongly that Jesus is not Son of God, think Messianic Jews may have been Jews once, but they are not now Jews at all, but camouflaged Christians who want to convert other Jews and baptise them.
That suspicion is bolstered by the Southern Baptist Convention’s financial pledge to expand Messianic congregations. Baptist leaders called it a quest to bring salvation to America’s 5.9-million Jews.
A century before the Jews for Jesus movement started, there was an organized Anglo-American Hebrew Christian Missionary movement; because most Jews have a strong ethnic identity that makes it easier for family members to accept a Jew who has become an agnostic, or even an atheist, than to accept a Jew who converts to Christianity.
American Muslims should be alert to this because they also are now the target of Christian Missionaries. Eleven years ago the DETROIT FREE PRESS reported that standing amid a crowd of Muslims at June’s 2009 Arab International Festival in Dearborn, Michigan, the Rev George Saieg declared: “I’ve been commanded as a Christian to reach out to these people.”
These Christian groups flocked to Dearborn to convert its Muslim population:
Arabic Christian Perspective: Based in Anaheim, Calif., and started in 2001, the group does outreach at mosques and Arab festivals. Also known as Ministry to Muslims, it is headed by George Saieg, a pastor. It filed a free speech lawsuit against the city of Dearborn in June, alleging the city trampled on its right to hand out literature on sidewalks at the Arab International Festival that month.
Acts 17 Apologetics: Features ministry work of David Wood, an evangelical from New York, and Nabeel Qureshi, a convert from Islam who lives in Virginia. They visited metro Detroit at the request of Saieg and produced a controversial video on a dispute at the Arab festival in Dearborn.
Confident Christianity: Based in Houston and headed by Mary Jo Sharp, who helped film the controversial video of the Arab festival. Works with Saieg and Arabic Christian Perspective on debating Muslims.
Josh McDowell Ministries: A native of Michigan, McDowell is a popular Christian evangelist who warned of the “tidal wave of Islam” during a June visit to Michigan when he attended the Arab festival.
Everyone should be free to invite people who are seekers to study and join their religion; but they should not use deceptive techniques or insulting language in doing so.
Everyone should listen to the Qur’an admonition: “Argue not with the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), unless it be in (a way) that is better (with good words and with good manners), except with such of them as do wrong; and say (then): We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our Ilah (God) and your Ilah (God) is One (God), and to Him we have submitted (as Muslims).” (Quran 29:46)