Wineskins Archive

December 18, 2013

Behind Muslim Hostility – Part 3 (Sept-Dec 2010)

Filed under: — @ 10:02 am and

<co_text>by Edward Fudge
October 14, 2010

Muslims believe that Islam is the true religion revealed by God, that non-Muslims (“infidels” or “unbelievers”) will finally be wiped out and the whole world will serve Allah and acknowledge Mohammad as his final prophet. We Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the only Savior and that, in the end, evildoers will be gone and we will reign with Christ. Clearly someone is wrong; there is a spiritual warfare here that is inevitable. But spiritual warfare is not the same as literal battles, massacres and slaughters. Historically, how do Muslims fare on that subject?

During the 6th and 7th centuries, Islam spread through “holy war” and by the edge of the sword, first throughout the Arabian peninsula, finally as far as Russia and Turkey and Spain. “Infidels” (including Christians) were given a choice: convert to Islam or die. That is a wretched record of behavior by our standards, and we certainly would never do anything like that. But Muslims remember a history we do not recall. They remember Charlemagne, in the 8th and 9th centuries, establishing the Holy Roman Empire by the edge of the sword, giving Muslims a choice: convert to Christianity or die. They remember, in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, other soldiers who claimed to speak and to act for Christ, in his name slaughtering “infidels” (including Muslims) in more than one Pope-blessed Crusade.

But that all was long ago and far away. What is Islam’s intent today? Do those Middle Eastern Muslims who hate us see the struggle as a spiritual battle only, or are they committed to pursue it by terrorism, war, and by any other means? And what about Muslims who live in our own towns? What is in their minds? I found one website listing pages of verses from the Qur’an, supposedly proving Islam’s murderous intent, and the religious duty of every Muslim to wipe out “infidels” and take their lands. As I read these verses in the Qur’an in their contexts, I found that many (but not all) were taken out of context. Even more often, the meaning of the verse was ambiguously stated. That is why peaceful Muslims and terrorists can both quote the Qur’an for their opposite points of view. (I wonder if some Muslim goes around saying, “You can prove anything from the Qur’an.”)

I read a Canadian Muslim website for young people, that opens with pretty pictures, ecology projects, and the like. For the children’s reading, it also includes a speech by Iman Shaheed Hasan Al-Banna, founder of the fanatical Muslim Brotherhood (the radical group that assassinated Egypt’s president Anwar Sadat), urging every young Muslim to join jihad and become a martyr as the fastest and surest way to heaven. And I read an American Muslim website that condemns terrorism. Instead it advocates that Muslims become involved in politics and advance their interests through democratic processes. Even that sounds threatening if someone already is fearful and suspicious. However, we need to remember that, while fear and suspicion can be useful if balanced with reality, they become dangerous time-bombs if out of control. But what about the American Muslim family who lives down the street? (continued)


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