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Powerful poetry: reaching out in Arabic culture

How Middle Eastern Christians are reaching their own people through creative media ...

Poetry holds a special significance in Arabic culture, and now Middle Eastern Christians in the Arabian Gulf are using it as a way to communicate with their own people about Jesus.

Through On Bended Knee, a new series of short films by Middle East Media, local believers from a Muslim background are writing and filming poems to communicate the life-changing power of Jesus in their lives, using a medium that their audience respects and understands.

“Historically speaking, when Arabs lived among other lands, they didn’t know if someone was a true Arab,” says Basma, a local believer and poet who is one of the producers of the series.

“When in doubt, they would often test someone by asking him to recite poetry. If his poetry was good enough, they knew he was a true Arab!”

Many Arab Muslims have a certain perception of Christians, typically associating them with a ‘Western’ culture and ideology. By speaking about their newfound faith through poetry, Middle Eastern Christians are hitting back at the stereotype to show that it is possible to be a follower of Jesus without abandoning one’s cultural heritage.

The series will be made up of 365 short film clips of poetry, as well as prose and prayer, in the Gulf Arabic dialect. The clips have been written and produced by local believers, and will combine the tradition of Arabic poetry with the power of modern online media, to reach millions of people in their own homes with the message of God’s love.

Christians face persecution throughout the Arabian Gulf and it is dangerous for them to talk about Jesus face to face. Online videos provide the perfect platform for Gulf believers to share their thoughts, experiences and revelations about God with their own people and nations in a safe and anonymous way.

Middle East Media hopes that the beauty of poetic language will stir the hearts of viewers to find out more about Jesus and a life of faith in Him.

“I love poetry, so I read it every day,” Basma says. “It is as important to me as reading the daily news. Poetry is a way for me to get through to my own people, since I am speaking the language that touches their hearts.”

Find out more about Middle East Media’s use of creative media across the Arab world at www.mem.org

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