WHERE HAVE WE BEEN? WHERE ARE WE NOW?
November 13, 2015 – 4:30 pm Pacific Time.
Terrorist attacks are still ongoing in Paris, France, as I write this… One CNN reporter says, “We cannot discern any iconic target in these attacks…” I am baffled at how the West is still slow in grasping the signs and symbolisms that characterize such attacks, or what jihadists are all about or what it is they’re targeting.
First of all, anti-terrorist forces have only “noted” that an Al-Qaeda message calling for small scale coordinated attacks was given just a few days ago.
Second, whenever such a message goes out, anti-terrorist forces seem to always fail to take seriously the fact that jihadists follow Hadithic patterns (Islamic Tradition and warfare recommendations from Muhammad), especially those that would ensure “baraka” or power/blessing, success. Among these recommendations Muhammad said to attack on days of blessing, namely Fridays and odd-numbered dates (like today, Friday 11/13/15). I have spoken about this issue many times in the past, and it has proven to be true 80% of the time, but the authorities are slow to grasp this.
Third, this was an “iconic target” in at least two of the attacks: 1) the attack at the Bataclan rock concert is doubly symbolic, because jihadists are more at war with Western decadence than they are with religions contrary to Islam; and 2) The band playing at this concert was American. The attacks at the stadium targeted both France and Germany at once. The jihadists knew the French President was at the stadium attending the game. If that’s not an “iconic target,” then what is?
I unabashedly reassert that unless the Obama administration proceeds with extreme care and implements an extremely stringent filtering system for receiving Middle Eastern refugees into America, then the same tragedy will unfold here.
Even as we stand with heartfelt empathy with the people of France, it is so important that we pause right now and pray.
WHY I DID NOT CHANGE MY FACEBOOK PROFILE PHOTO TO DISPLAY THE FRENCH FLAG
The day after France suffered a terrorist attack on January 7, 2015 that killed 17 people (an attach targeted at the Charlie Hebdo magazine), Boko Haram slaughtered nearly 2,000 people in Nigeria. Hardly a tear was shed in the western world for the folks in Nigeria. I am not aware that people were encouraged to post a Nigerian flag on their Facebook profile. Same thing on April 2, 2015 when terrorists attacked the Garissa University College in Kenya killing 148 students. No Kenyan flag on Facebook. Let me be provocative here: Do black lives matter? Really?
Sometimes the liberal and so grandly “progressive” media’s hypocrisy just floors me!
What about the 42 people who, just the day before the recent Paris events, were killed by terrorists in Beirut, Lebanon? I have over a thousand friends on Facebook, and only one of them posted the Lebanese flag on her profile. Let me be doubly provocative: Do Muslim lives matter? Or is Muslim on Muslim terrorism somehow less horrific?
As followers of Christ, it is incumbent upon us to answer such questions from a biblical perspective, not from the effects of fleeting emotions such as angst and anger; not from cultural bias; not from conservative or liberal political perspectives, but from an understanding of the Scriptures and God’s heart for all people, even enemies.
THERE IS NO SEPARATE RELIGIOUS ENTITY CALLED “RADICAL ISLAM”. THERE IS ONLY ISLAM.
President Obama recently said that 99.99% of Muslims reject “Radical Islam.” In a sense the President is correct, but the issue needs some serious qualifying. Please consider the following:
FIRST of all, though I cannot find a scientifically conducted poll that gives us this 99% figure, those of us from a Muslim background and who are working in Muslim communities would agree with it. Indeed, 99% of Muslims would genuinely say that they are against terrorism, but here is the problem:
- What constitutes “terrorism” in our eyes is not always so in theirs. For example, Hezbollah would consider its actions against Israel as self-defense in an ongoing war. When it is pointed out that civilians are being killed by their rockets, Hezbollah’s argument is that Israeli bombs do kill civilians too, and this is just a case of justifiable retaliation. Of course, I do NOT agree with Hezbollah on this. I am just pointing out a problem of divergent definitions when it comes to what constitutes “terrorism.”
- When certain actions don’t fit the category above and are clearly seen as terrorism by Muslims, they do not stand up and oppose the perpetrators. Why? There are several reasons, but the main two are: (A) they are afraid of reprisals from the jihadists – thus 99% of Muslims who say they oppose terrorism but remain silent when it happens are in the grip of cowardice. We must remember the saying that all that is needed for evil to prevail is for good people to remain silent. Then, (B) many Muslims are so ignorant about their own religion that they struggle with doubts such as, “What if the jihadists are right when they say that this is what Muhammad has taught and this is the way of Islam? What if the jihadists are the true Muslims and I am not?”
- Even as 99% of Muslims SAY they are against terrorism, they nevertheless believe that Islam (and to a certain degree Shari ’a Law) should be the only religion in the world. How should this be achieved? They say it should come about through non-violent missionary jihad, through economic jihad (buying influence, lobbying for laws that favor the Islamic agenda), through social transformation (dominating through demographic growth – as is the case in Detroit, MI), etc., etc. But what if people rise up against this Islamic domination, what will Muslims do? They answer that it depends on the nature of that resistance to Islam. If it is a political resistance, they will pursue a political agenda to get what they want. If it is an armed resistance, they will answer in kind and that would not be “terrorism,” but “self-defense.” Again, I do NOT agree with the Muslims on this. I am just trying to give you a glimpse of how they view things.
SECOND, here is where our president and this perversely politically correct America is wrong: Islam (not some supposed other “Radical Islam) does teach terrorism both in the Qur’an and the Hadith (the example of Muhammad himself). The president’s statement is intended to focus on a very tiny minority of Muslims (perhaps Obama would say, “so-called ‘Muslims’ ”), not Islam, and that’s why he uses the expression “Radical Islam,” instead of just “Islam.” “Radical Islam” can be some descriptive phrase, but in reality there is no such thing as “Radical Islam” as an entity. There is only one Islam.
As long as we play this game we help no one. We do not help ourselves, because Obama’s statement will make people hate Muslims, not the Islam that holds them captive. And we do not help Muslims who, in fact, do not know their Qur’an or their Hadith, and are in dire need of being challenged to look into what Islam teaches. So long as they remain ignorant (Obama’s statement inadvertently helps keep them there), how will they find courage to challenge the jihadists?
THIRD, our president and other pundits should be careful about blabbing figures like the 99% not agreeing with terrorism. That’s 99% of what? It’s 99% of 1,600,000,000 people on this earth who call themselves Muslims. Even if that 99% figure could be statistically proven to be true, that would mean that there is an astounding 16,000,000 people out there who are intent on destroying us through terrorism. That’s a formidable army!
The solution cannot just be a military one. We have to fight the ideology of extremism and terrorism by setting aside political correctness to denounce it and show the entire Muslim world the true colors of Islam. But we must be respectful debaters, not hateful ones who fling insults at Muslims instead of asking them thought-provoking questions. I believe that followers of Christ should take the lead in this, because they have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Isn’t this the age of communication and information? What are we waiting for?
Finally, as a missionary who knows firsthand the struggles of many Muslims, especially their need to discover the love of God in Christ, it pains me that every time some tragedy happens, the heart of those who could make the mission to Muslims possible will become angry, hardened, or apathetic. Here is my problem as I share in the churches: Though 99% of Muslims are not terrorists, 99% of terrorist acts are committed by Muslims. It’s the kind of thing that blinds us and keeps us from seeing ordinary Muslims the way that Christ sees them. Even a terrorist can be transformed by an encounter with Christ. Remember that terrorist whose name was Saul-Of-Tarsus?
I trust you understand and will pray the Lord of the harvest to touch hearts and give us all the conviction that NOW is the time to engage Muslims with the Gospel – we cannot slack, or hide behind lame excuses, and God forbid we should even think of retreating and “leaving those Moslems to their own fate” as someone once suggested.
DOES ISLAM PROMOTE VIOLENCE?
This question must be answered.
In an interview with CNN, Professor Reza Aslan first addresses the problem of taking some incident or an observed practice in a Muslim country and then deducing from it that such is Islam in general. He does his best to depict some practices (for example, female genital mutilation or FGM) as being African, not Islamic, and even points out (correctly) that some predominantly Christian countries like Eritrea and Ethiopia practice FGM. It is true that there is no strict teaching or Shari ’a article that mandates FGM in Islam (Muslims are divided on this issue). However, Mr. Aslan’s argument is flawed on three counts:
First, it is a type of syllogism (i.e. “all fish swim; my fat brother swims; so my brother is a whale of a fish” – in the same vein, “FGM is seen a lot in Africa, even in non-Muslim Africa, so FGM is both African and non-Muslim”).
Second, it deliberately ignores the Islamic historical origin of FGM.
Third, it deliberately sets aside the geo-historical factors that contributed to the practice of FGM in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Who introduced the practice of FGM into that region of the world? Answer: Muslim expansionists that subdued much of east Africa under the banner of Islam and Shari `a law. Just because these two countries are now predominantly (and mostly nominally) Christian does not erase the Islamic origins of this horrible practice.
Mr. Aslan is correct about overreaching and generalizing on the part of the western media, but his argument that there is no link between one Muslim country’s actions or laws and those of another is a cop out, because there is a common thread to the practices of the various Muslim countries he mentions, and that thread is what the Qur’an and the Hadith teach.
Indonesians may honor women more than do the Saudis, but their respective choices do not annul the fact that the Qur’an and Hadith offer a dismal view of women. The same thing is true with regard to violence.
Indeed, when asked “Does Islam promote violence?” Mr. Aslan categorically stated that Islam promotes neither violence nor peace. He adds that people bring to it either violence or peace by personal choice or personal interpretation.
The problem is that Reza Aslan deliberately chooses to ignore historical Qur’anic and Hadithic data which clearly show that violence is religiously normative in Islam.
Yes, personal choice or personal interpretation do play a part in how one chooses to practice the religion of Islam, thereby offering either a violent or a peaceful practice. But that is a half-truth, because even if we take personal choices and interpretations into account, it does not annul the fact that both the Qur’an and the example of Muhammad, as seen in the Hadith, do promote violence.
The 33rd chapter of the Qur’an clearly mandates that all Muslims follow every example and practice of the prophet of Islam. He promoted and practiced violence toward perceived enemies, including simple dissenters. A Muslim may choose not to imitate Muhammad in this regard, but he cannot say that violence is not taught by him or his religion.
I need not list here the many Qur’an and Hadith passages that unequivocally spell out V-I-O-L-E-N-C-E. That information is readily available by making a quick Google search – something I can only suppose Mr. Aslan has opted not to do recently.
Update on the clear link of FGM and Islam from Abu-Bakr-Al-Baghdadi, PhD in Islamic Studies, highly respected Sunni imam in Baghdad, and supreme leader of ISIS: Please see “ISIS leader demands female genital mutilation of 2 million girls.”