A Love Affair With Islam
Terror - Islam
Friday, July 08, 2016
The West is entrenched in a love affair with Islam.
Islam isn't the official religion of western nations - at least not yet. Arguably, Christianity isn't either. Nevertheless, there's a default mechanism in the hearts of many westerners for Islam which overrides any criticism of the faith.
This mechanism functions on the fashionable assumption that Islam is fundamentally a peaceful and tolerant faith. Supporters of this popular narrative include Christians and political leaders. Pope Francis and assorted evangelicals have affirmed that the God of Islam and Christianity are one and the same, even though Muslims reject Christ's divinity.
The premise following on from these suppositions is that terrorism perpetrated by Islamists and organizations such as ISIS cannot possibly represent authentic Islam. Atrocities committed in the name of Allah are therefore a distortion of the Islamic faith.
After the Pulse Nightclub tragedy in Orlando, apologists and activists quickly acted to exonerate Islam. They pointed to homophobia and guns as culprits. There was even speculation that Omar Mateen was a gay man who acted out frustrations associated with living in a homophobic world.
This was despite Mateen's admission that he acted for Allah:
“In the name of Allah, the merciful, praise be to Allah, and prayers as well as peace upon the prophet of Allah. I let you know, I'm in Orlando and I did the shootings.”
Note that homosexuality isn't tolerated in the Qur'an or Hadiths (see Surah 70:80-84 etc). Many respond by highlighting the Old Testament's punishment of homosexual activity in Israel. In other words, Christians shouldn't point the finger. An in-depth reply is beyond the scope of this article.
However, while the New Testament doesn't abrogate homosexual activity, Christians aren't called to punish sinners. We're all sinners needing redemption (John 3:16; Rom 3:10). Instead, we are to make disciples (Matt 28:19). Moreover, we're called to love and pray for our enemies (Matt 5:44; Luke 6:27, 35; Rom 13:8). These are important distinctions.
Snopes is a popular myth-debunking website which also defends Islam. It uses internet search engines to fact-check news stories. In many cases, it does this reasonably well. It's frustrating when Christians occasionally link to a sensational article on Facebook which can be debunked with simple checking. When there's a Snopes article of that same link added by Facebook, it makes us look silly.
But Snopes isn't always objective with fact-checking its own opinions, especially regarding Christianity and Islam. For example, it has debunked news item about the implementation of Sharia Law and no go zones in particular regions. Yet it will ignore legitimate problems present elsewhere. See Daniel Pipes' column highlighting these issues.
A mix of truth and error is found in a Snopes article by David Mikkelson. It refutes the story about General John J. Pershing's strategy against Muslim terrorists in the Philippines. Along the way, Mikkelson correctly states that not all devout Muslims are terrorists. Then he takes a walk into speculative territory by suggesting that the perpetrators of 9/11 may have been Muslims in-name-only.
He comes to this conclusion by pointing out that the men indulged in carnal sins prior to 9/11, contrary to Qur'anic guidelines. Mikkelson testifies that the Qur'an forbids suicide and links to a Wiki article as proof. In fact "suicide" may be a "false terminology" for what occurs during acts of terrorism in the name of Islam. Suicide is killing oneself in personal despair.
On the other hand, as James Arlandson notes:
"Interpreting Sura 61:10-12 reveals three unpleasant themes. First, the divine 'bargain' has death as the currency behind it. What do Allah and his followers get in the exchange? The martyrs receive the forgiveness of sins and heaven, and Allah receives complete devotion to him in establishing his community and religion."
This is why the 9/11 terrorists indulged themselves prior to flying their planes into the buildings. Their sins were forgiven them because they died for Islam. This is justified in the Qur'an. Read also Robert Spencer's 9/11 and the Fog of Denial.
The vast majority of Muslims who live peacefully in the West do not always do so because they interpret the Qur'an differently to ISIS. Many likely don't fully understand what it teaches. Others are nominal Muslims, just like the Christians-in-name-only who don't know their Bibles. Former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi's instructive testimony admits his prior scant knowledge of the Qur'an and Hadiths, even though he was devout.
Sometimes attempts to whitewash Islam border on the absurd. David Wood produced a video highlighting 20 errors circulated in an ABC News documentary designed to defend Islam. One point (error 11) was that the 72 virgins (houris) allegedly promised to martyrs was a "mistranslation." The correct rendering was stated to be "72 raisins."
Wood notes (12 minute mark) that there are two errors there. One is that the number 72 isn't taken from the Qur'an - it is found in the Hadiths. Secondly, the Qur'an states that Muslims will marry these same houris and that they will be chaste, with beautiful eyes and large breasts. Strange raisins indeed!
We're told by apologists that there is no compulsion in religion in Islam. Or that jihad is really an internal spiritual struggle. If these assertions were the case, then how do we respond to its violent history beginning with Muhammad? Once again, David Wood addresses these questions in Three Stages of Jihad.
The media, political and religious leaders want a unified world where all faiths harmoniously coexist. No one wants to admit an intrinsic problem in a major system which may provide dynamics for terrorism. What do you do with the millions of Muslims who happily coexist in the West? Whether or not they really believe the peaceful nature of Islam, they are bound to stick to the narrative.
It is prudent for us to recognize what we're dealing with. We don't have a love affair with Islam. Yet understanding Islam's true character doesn't mean we hate Muslims. On the contrary, we must love them.
What should we do about the Muslims in our community? We pray for them and pray for opportunities to share the glory of the gospel with them. This is what we are commanded to do.
And all that is what separates us from Islam.
About Alf Cengia
Last week: Brexit and Prophecy
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