Tag Archives: Muslim extremists

Christians Must Be Alert and Prayerful About News of Terrorism

The horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon has been headline news for days. It has been interesting to observe the language people use to talk about it. Some in public life seem quite hesitant to call this act terrorism. Others are quick to remind us not to blame all Muslims for the behavior of some Muslims. We can’t guess all the information that will come out as the investigation proceeds, but one thing Christians should not do is ignore this news. Christians should be extremely attentive to the investigation of this bombing, because it so closely resembles the sort of violence Christians endure from Muslim activists around the world.

            In Nigeria, a group called Boko Haram has been bombing churches and private homes for many months. The northern region of Nigeria is predominantly Muslim. Boko Haram has taken on the task of “cleansing” the region of Christians. As a consequence, many Christians have been killed in bombings as horrible as the one at Boston, by people whose ideology is quite similar to the information we now know about the two men who are alleged to have executed the bombing in Boston.

Christians in the USA probably do not feel directly threatened by the bombing at the Boston Marathon, but Nigerian Christians would recommend that US Christians not ignore what has happened. Nigerian Christians would recommend that American Christians learn as much as they can about the motivations and goals of the Chechen bombers in Boston, because Nigerian Christians can remember when bombings of Christian churches in Nigeria would have been unthinkable, just like a church bombing by a Muslim activist in the USA would look to American Christians today. Before Muslims in Nigeria grew aggressive, before the Muslims became the dominant demographic in northern regions of Nigeria, there was a time when Christians thrived in Nigeria and the nation as a whole was a generally free, safe nation. Now, the northern half of Nigeria is a dangerous place for anyone who is not Muslim. Boko Haram is not publicly linked to any part of the government, but amazingly, after some recent negotiations, Boko Haram asked to be recognized as a legitimate political voice in Nigeria and the national government hinted that it might agree. Nigerian Christians are quite fearful of the outcome of such a decision.

With malice for no one, American Christians need to open their eyes to certain things that are happening around the world.

  • In Nigeria, Boko Haram is terrorizing Christians with the purpose of cleansing them out of the population. This situation is not unique.
  • In Pakistan, the Salem News Channel reports that in the past month, three Christian villages have been assaulted by Muslim mobs who also desire their country to be “cleansed” of Christians.
  • On April 29, a Christian mother of five children was killed by al-Shabab, a Muslim organization dedicated to cleansing Somalia of Christians. Her husband had been killed months before, and she was captured at a roadblock set up by al-Shabab. Her children’s fate is not known at this time.
  • Mark Mousesian of First Things reports, “A mob attack this month on the Cairo cathedral that serves as the seat of the Coptic pope raised alarm bells among Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the country’s 90 million people. There has been a surge in attacks on Christians and churches in the two years since the ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.” The Arab spring has not been a time of blossoming for Christians in Egypt.
  • In Iraq, which had a Christian population of about 1 million in 2003, the Christian population today is about 400,000. Christian churches have been bombed and Christians have been killed, sometimes by beheading or crucifixion.
  • In Syria, Christian communities are systematically being eradicated, at the behest of a mosque that tells the populace that it is their “sacred duty” to drive Christians away.
  • In Mali, after an Islamic coup, 20,000 Christians fled immediately, and the remaining churches as well as the homes of Christians are being looted and destroyed.
  • In Bosnia, Christian churches cannot obtain the required government permits for repairs to buildings. The dominant Muslim demographic treats Christians as an undesirable sub-culture.
  • In Ethiopia, despite the existence of a recognized Ethiopian Christian church, Christians who belong to other variant Christian groups must flee their homes and watch churches and houses burn while the police do nothing.
  • In the Ivory Coast, Islamic activists have actually crucified many Christians and thousands others have fled, leaving behind homes and churches which have been systematically destroyed.
  • Libya, where many Christian NGO’s and religious orders have provided charitable services for years, any group with Christian connections has been forced to abandon property and flee for their lives.
  • In Chechnya and Dagestan and surrounding areas, the predominantly Sunni Muslim population expressed outrage at the completion of a translation of the Bible in the Chechnyan language in October of 2012. The national animosity toward Russia, which has only slightly subsided since the end of hostilities in 2009, translates into virulent rejection of Christianity, and Christians are considered traitors. It is dangerous to be a Christian in Chechnya.

In country after country, Islamic activism demands that the population be 100% Muslim, and is willing to rampage and murder and torture to achieve that goal. The battle cries of these groups are not so different from the cries posted by the Tsarnaev brothers on the web before their bombing at the Boston Marathon. Their objectives and their attitudes are chilling, right down to the testimony of a runner whose legs were blown off right after the brothers looked him right in the eye.

            The bottom line is that in country after country, mobs claiming to speak for Muslims who want their countries to be 100% Muslim execute actions similar to the bombing at the Boston Marathon. To date, no such campaign appears to have been launched in the US, but it is worth noting that neither has the US seen a flood of outcry from Muslims who are appalled and angered by the bombing. Americans already work very hard not to assume anything inappropriate when events like this take place, but it would be foolhardy and dangerous not to investigate till all the facts of the matter have been uncovered.

            Christians need to know that sharia law abhors conversion from Islam to anything else. Most Christians in America are not converts from Islam, so that isn’t a huge problem for American Muslims. However, sharia law also considers any attempt to convert a Muslim to Christianity or any other religion as a high crime. The history of Islam is full of evidence that there have been times and places where Islam co-existed with Christians and Jews, the people of the book, peacefully and respectfully. It can happen, yet the news around the world today makes it clear that peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians in any country cannot be regarded as a foregone conclusion. That does not mean that the Tsarnaev brothers actually have any connection with a group with a real agenda to cleanse the USA of Christians, but it does mean that we should not assume anything or be stupidly complacent about the meaning of their bombs.

If we ever needed the truth about something, this is the time. May God grant the investigators the persistence and insight to find the truth and to hold Dzhokhar Tsarnaev accountable for whatever he did. May Christians pray fervently for the truth to be revealed and for Christ’s redeeming power to work in the heart of this young man. No matter how alert we are to dangers, we must never lose our love for Muslims. By the power of the Holy Spirit, it is completely credible to believe that a Christian can love Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and simultaneously regard him as a terrorist. That is how truth works. This is a time to exercise Christ’s admonition to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

So What if the Boston Bombers were Muslim Extremists?

                The current investigation of the bombing at the Boston Marathon is muddied considerably by an effort in government and media to avoid the reality that the bombers at the Boston Marathon were Muslim. People who want to be called reporters and news analysts tie themselves in knots to project an image of Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev as anything but agents of Islamic extremism. They might have actually been found much sooner if neighbors who recognized their photos as young men had not been hamstrung by willful political correctness. People who knew those men refused to tell anyone what they knew, because they were afraid it would cause the investigators to think the bombing had something to do with Islamic extremism.

                Almost certainly, the people who knew these men included Christians. Christians claim to be committed to Truth, as in Christ’s statement, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” but they did not speak up. In fact, the chaos of comments online, on television and on radio, can be safely assumed to include Christians who chose not to tell investigators truth when they knew it. The reason is that like many other people in contemporary US culture, their natural instinct to speak truth when they see it was suppressed, because they have been led to believe that to name something is to attack it. They were afraid that something they said might lead investigators to go looking for Muslim extremists.

                What difference would it have made if the investigators had found the two men earlier and under much different circumstances? What difference would it make if the investigators had been able to apprehend these two men alive and well? A great deal. Half the truth behind this event died with the older brother. A lot of important information was lost because people feared they would be accused of being insensitive and bigoted. Christians are constantly accused of being bigots, and many Christians worry more about what someone might think than they worry about the truth.

                It is important to say all these things, because this situation is part of a larger picture that betrays how American citizens are allowing themselves to be deceived into thinking that they, not the Muslim extremists, are the wicked ones. Please don’t assume that when I use the term “Muslim extremist” I am referring to every Muslim. When I say “Christian” I am not including aberrant behavior such as the Ku Klux Klan, either. When I say “Muslim extremist” I mean it in the way this term is used internationally. It is important to know about this term, because country after country around the world is being driven to violent chaos and terrible instability. Around the world, Muslim extremists are pursuing the objective of making countries 100% Islamic, pure and unpolluted by any other religious belief. In the USA, people do not want to believe that anybody who claims to be Muslim could possibly behave this way. It is not politically correct to believe that there are Muslims in the USA who want this country to be 100% Muslim.

                There are a lot of Muslims in this country who have no interest in destroying anything. There are a lot of Muslims in Kenya and Indonesia who don’t want to destroy anything, either. To speak of Muslim extremism is not to speak of them. To speak of Muslim extremism is to talk about a force that all people must feat. Many countries have suffered because of the work of Muslim extremists.

                Here is some representative news from a few countries under assault by Muslim extremism:

IRAN

                Most people already know that Iran is an Islamic republic. Few know that Christianity has been active in Iran since Persian converts on the Day of Pentecost returned home to share the good news of Christ. In the early 1970’s, Iran was targeted by Muslim extremists who wanted Iran to be a pure Islamic state. After the revolution in 1979, historic Christian churches were tolerated, but they had to be registered with the government. With the solidification of power under the leadership of the ayatollahs, who are the power behind Iranian Muslim extremists, registered churches are being forced to close, one or two at a time. Before the revolution that established the current regime, Iran was a model of liberty and prosperity among nations in the Middle East, most of which struggled economically. Today, it is one of many Islamic republics led by an extreme ideology that demands the nation be 100% Muslim. In fact, the current president is not shy about his preference that the whole world be 100% Muslim.

PAKISTAN

                In Pakistan, Islam is the state religion, and all law must be compliant with sharia. According to the Constitution, every person is free to believe any religion. There has always been a cultural preference for Islam, but in recent years, activism by Muslim extremists has resulted in numerous arrests of Christians for the “crime” of blasphemy. More than one victim has been exonerated when it was discovered that the accusation was fraudulent. Nevertheless, during the current month, Muslim mobs have torched two predominantly Christian communities and assaulted individuals fleeing the fires. Witnesses say that the police ignore the reports or stand by and watch it happen. The constitution may establish religious liberty, but the government does not enforce that right.

SOMALIA

                Islam is the state religion in Somalia. Sharia is the law of the country. The constitution specifically says that “No other religion than Islam can be propagated in the country.” Muslim extremism has escalated over recent years. The rise of extremism has been propelled by Al Shabaab militants who move freely and attack people with impunity. Beheadings of Christians common. Police, the agency of government tasked with keeping peace and good order in society, ignore reports of violence against Christians or other non-Muslim residents.

INDONESIA

                This country is 87% Muslim, the most populous Islamic republic in the world. It is interesting to compare the work of Muslim extremism in Indonesa with the work of Muslim extremism in Kenya, where the population is more than 80% Christian. Indonesia’s constitution guarantees the right of citizens to choose their own religion, but during recent years, Muslim extremism has taken up the cause of purging the population of non-Muslims. In theory, police should protect any citizen from violent assault, but when Muslim extremists complain to local officials about the presence of Christians, local officials lock the church buildings and send heavy equipment to tear the buildings down. The local officials fear pressure from radical Islamic groups, and the national government has not seen fit to intervene.

KENYA

                In 2010, in response to Muslim activism, a new constitution was enacted in Kenya. There had been considerable religious freedom in the era immediately after independence, and even today, the population is 80% Christian. Muslims make up about 10%. Yet in 2010, Muslim activism, sometimes quite extreme, resulted in a new constitution, which provides special treatment in special sharia courts for Muslims. The violence associated with Muslim activism has escalated since passage of the constitution, and today non-Muslim businesses, non-Muslim individuals, security agents, and especially Christian pastors are targeted. Shootings in churches, street violence, and personal assaults on non-Muslims are increasing. All non-Muslims are under threat and many are fleeing the country. This country is only 10% Muslim, yet Muslim extremists have succeeded in terrorizing 90% of the population so thoroughly that all non-Muslims feel threatened.

Think about the pattern in these countries. There was a time in each of these countries when populations made up of many religions lived and worked peaceably together. At some point, Muslims became politically active and Muslim extremists began to apply violent pressure in the culture. In some cases the campaign to create an Islamic republic has succeeded. In others the campaign is ongoing. When Americans contemplate the work of the bombers in Boston, the story should motivate all citizens to look at what is actually happening in the culture of the USA. The violence that shows up in a monstrous act like the bombing at the Boston Marathon is only one feature in a landscape that most citizens don’t examine deeply. There are people in Iran who remember that it used to be a free and prosperous society. There are people in Kenya who remember that it used to be a free and prosperous society. There are people in Egypt who remember that it used to be a jewel of the Mediterranean nations. What happened? Muslim extremism.

American citizens all should care whether the Boston bombers are connected with Muslim extremism. American Christians should be especially attentive to detail in this investigation. Everywhere Muslim extremism grows strong, religious liberty suffers, and Christians usually head the list of religions suppressed by Muslim extremism. There is no reason to make up facts or warp our interpretation of the facts. We simply need to be wise and careful. Do the work it takes to find all the facts about this bombing. Kenya is a cautionary tale of what can happen to a predominantly Christian country that does not guard its religious liberty.