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Dane Skelton is the Pastor of Faith Community Church and the author of Jungle Flight: Spiritual Adventures at the Ends of the Earth, a book of true stories from the ministry of JAARS (formerly Jungle Aviation and Radio Service). His second book, Papua Pilot: Flying the Bible to the Last Lost Peoples, co-authored with the late Paul Westlund, is now available on Amazon.com and Christianbook.com.
On the 12th anniversary of 9-11 and the 1st anniversary of the murder of our Ambassador in Benghazi, Libya, and as our nation contemplates military action in yet another country in the Middle East, I thought it would be good to remind you of a few fundamentals about dealing with Islamism.
In her recent column in USA Today, courageous Muslim physician and author, Qanta Ahmed writes,
“"The Mosques are our barracks; the minarets our bayonets. The domes are our helms. The believers are our soldiers"
This was the Islamist poem quoted by the mayor of Istanbul, Turkey in December 1997. Charged with using inflammatory speech, he was ejected from office and sentenced to jail by the Ankara High Court.
Today, that mayor, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is prime minister of Turkey. During a decade in office, he has slowly but inexorably pushed secular Turkey, a member of NATO, toward an unabashedly Islamist future.” (CASTRATE ISLAMISM. USA Today, Sept. 4, 2013. http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/09/04/turkey-arab-spring-islam-extremist/2735303/)
Ahmed, along with other courageous Muslim voices, reminds us of our first fundamental regarding Islamism.
BE REAL: ISLAMISM IS NOT GOING AWAY
Ahmed’s article illustrates the fact that the Islamic faith as it is understood by the Islamists now vying for political power in Turkey, Syria, Egypt and other countries across the Middle East justifies aggression against anyone or any state that can be labeled a threat to Islam as the Islamist define it. Theirs is a long history.
In 732, barely a hundred years after the founding of Islam, a very significant battle was fought just outside of Paris at a place called Poitiers. Muslim armies seeking to conquer Europe were stopped. For the next 951 years Crusades were called to throw them back. The Muslims countered until finally, in 1683, the armies of the Ottoman Empire were decisively defeated by Polish and German infantry near Vienna. The date? September 11. Bin Laden didn’t choose that date out of thin air; nor did the Benghazi bandits who murdered Ambassador Stephens one year ago today.
How are we to react to this fact of life? Romans 12:17-21 teaches that we aren’t to fear Islam or Muslims. We aren’t to seek revenge for 9-11 or other attacks. Biblically, it is the role of the state to pursue justice and punish evil. As believers we are to love our enemies and seek peace in all of our personal contacts. But we also need to be honest with ourselves and understand that Islamism is not going away. Our children and grandchildren will be dealing with it when we’re gone.
BE ON GUARD
The second thing we should remember is that loving our enemies and seeking peace doesn’t mean being naïve. We need to be on guard.
In Matthew 10:16-18, just before sending out the 12 on a mission to the Jews, Jesus warned them not to be naïve. He also told them not to be afraid to speak the truth no matter what the cost. See Matthew 10:26-28. Paul did essentially the same thing with his protégé Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:14-15. “Be on your guard…”
We need to be on our guard against the mission and the mandate of Islamism.
Most Muslims are like most other religious people in the world: they are concerned with making a living, educating their children, worshipping their god and keeping food on the table. Thankfully, moderate, pluralistic Muslims like Dr. Ahmed are beginning to courageously speak out in favor of living in harmony with other faiths. But Islamists aren’t interested in assimilating into Western culture on an equal footing with other religions.
“Omar Ahmed, the founder of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim “civil liberties” group in the United States that works to promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America,” believes that Islam must become dominant in the US.”
Quote: Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.
Taqiyya means dissimulation, permitted deceit, and is allowed in Sharia law in order to promote Islam – “Protective deceit and dissimulation are an intrinsic part of Islam, permitted in certain specific situations, one of which is war, i.e. the defense of Islam.”
Not all Muslims hold to this practice, and Shiite Muslims support it more often than Sunnis, but it is in wide spread use today.
Hamid Ali, spiritual leader of Al-Madina Masjid, a mosque in Beeston, West Yorkshire, UK publicly condemned the London bombings of July 7, 2005. But in a secretly taped conversation with a Bangladeshi-origin undercover reporter from The Sunday Times he said the 7/7 bombings were a “good” act and praised the bombers as “children” of firebrand cleric Abdullah al-Faisal who has made statements such as: “The only way forward is for you, the Muslims, to kill the kufrs (infidels).”
Dr. Taj Hargey, chairman of the Muslim Education Centre, Oxford, later explained this discrepancy on British Television:
We have one vocabulary in private and we have another vocabulary for the public domain and that’s why you don’t hear it because you’re the public domain.
Jesus commanded us to love our enemies, but he wasn’t naïve and he didn’t encourage us to be gullible either.
Once Islam gains a foothold somewhere through the implementation of Sharia any opposition to it, any attempt to reverse it, becomes in Islamic thought not a defense of the constitution, not a matter of freedom of speech and not a defense of religious liberty but an attack on Islam. Any attack on Islam justifies jihad. So be on guard.
The third thing we need to do as we remember 9-11 is what Jesus commanded us to do from the beginning: Go and make disciples. The best way to change the world is to change lives.
Islam is one of the fastest if not the fastest growing religions in the world. It has a historical record of swallowing up whole nations and forcing them to submit. It is relentless in its dogma and in its determination. It is not going to be stopped ultimately at the ballot box, or in the courtroom, or on the pages of public opinion or even on the battlefield. It is a powerful spiritual force in the world. The only thing that will keep it from overcoming the world is a more powerful spiritual force: The message of Jesus authentically lived and faithfully shared.
Sam Solomon (real name not disclosed to protect his family) was an Islamic recruiter. His job was to train suicide bombers in Islamic ideology. He became a Christian and in a 2006 interview with Cal Thomas he explained:
"There's not a single verse in the Koran talking about peace with a non-Muslim, with the Jews and the Christians. Islam means submission. Islam means surrender. It means you surrender and accept Islamic hegemony over yourselves..."
I asked him about the best strategy for fighting it: "It cannot be combated simply by force. It needs to be combated ideologically, spiritually (as well as) through arms."
That is why it is so important for us to reignite our own commitment to the mission that Jesus commanded. That is why we need to support the ministries of Answering-Islam.org and those who run it, which serves Muslims wishing to escape from Islam every day through sound apologetics and other ministries. That is why it is so important that we support David Reeves, whose work in the global Bible translation movement empowers indigenous people to share the message of Jesus in their own languages with people trapped in Islamic spheres of influence. That is why our support of Samaritan’s purse is so important. They go into places most of us can never go, places with huge Muslim populations, with the life giving ministry of support in the name of Jesus, clearly speaking the message where ever they can.
I want to ask you to pray for those ministries. Pray every day for them. And give to them. It is the least we can do in remembrance of this fateful day.
Colson, Chuck; Presentation to the Wilberforce Forum Centurions Program Participants, Given March 4, 2006
Sookhdeo, Patrick, The CHALLENGE OF ISLAM To the Church and Its Mission, pg. 15; Isaac Publishing. Quoting Lisa Gardiner in “American Muslim Leader Urges Faithful to Spread the Word,” San Ramon Valley (CA) Herald, July 4, 1998.
Ibid, pg. 37 quoting The Sunday Times Feb.,12, 2006; and Dr. Hargey speaking on “A Question of Leadership,” Panorama, BBC 1, August 21, 2005.