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The struggle for the soul of Islam

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When in doubt, blame Israel.

 

Dr. Abdallah Al-Naggar, a religious columnist for the Egyptian government

daily 'Al-Gumhuriya,' wrote an article (7/10/01) which claimed that the

attack on the World Trade Centre was a plot organised by 'the Zionists':

'The Jews were behind these ugly acts, while we, the Arabs, were innocent.

Although the Americans suspect that the Zionists are behind the act, none

has the courage to talk about it in public. … The Zionists control

everything, political decision-making, the big media organizations, and the

financial and economic institutions. Anyone daring to say a word is

considered an anti-Semite.'

 

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Gamei'a, Al-Azhar University Representative in the U.S.

and Imam of New York's Islamic Centre, was interviewed for the website

www.lilatalqadr.com, on October 4, 2001 (Al-Azhar University in Cairo is one

of the main intellectual centres of Islam). He said, 'The American attack

against Afghanistan is terrorism... This war will be the end of America...

If the Americans knew that the Jews carried out the September 11 attacks

they would do to them what Hitler did.'

 

This version of events, which in effect is inciting a second holocaust

against the Jewish people, is widely believed throughout the Islamic world.

For those who accept this incredible lie there is no problem in justifying

terrorism in the cause of Islam. Add to this the promise that the 'martyr'

will have 70 black-eyed virgins in Paradise and you have a potent cocktail

for terror.

 

Jack Kelley of 'USA Today' visited Hamas schools in Gaza City, where he saw

an 11-year-old boy speak to his class: 'I will make my body a bomb that will

blast the flesh of Zionists, the sons of pigs and monkeys... I will tear

their bodies into little pieces and will cause them more pain than they will

ever know.' His classmates shouted in response, 'Allah Akhbar,' and his

teacher shouted, 'May the virgins give you pleasure.' A 16-year-old Hamas

youth leader in a Gaza refugee camp told Kelley, 'Most boys can't stop

thinking about the virgins.' (USA Today, 26/6/01)

 

Islamic fundamentalists never see faults within their own society but are

constant in their vindictive hatred of the west and Israel. They put the

blame for everything that goes wrong onto others and so become incapable of

any kind of examination of their own sins. Corrupt rulers use this hatred of

non-Muslims to deflect people's anger from themselves. Iraqi dissident Kanan

Makiya, wrote in 'The Observer' (7/10/01): 'Attribution of all the ills of

one's own world to either the great Satan, America, or the little Satan,

Israel, has been the driving force of Arab politics since 1967. As a

powerful undercurrent of Arab culture and politics, it has been around much

longer than that. After 1967, however it became the legitimising cement upon

which such murderous regimes as Saddam Hussein's Iraq were built.'

 

The pro government Iraqi press spews out the kind of nonsense, which

Stalinist and Maoist Communism used to produce. Here is an example of a

meeting of Saddam Hussein with the heads of the Iraqi nuclear and defence

establishment: 'At the outset, Dr. Fadhl al-Janabi, submitted to his

excellency (i.e. Saddam), may Allah preserve him, greetings bounded by love

and loyalty from the NEA's warriors and their commitment to remain forever

loyal to the source of their inspiration, the light of their brains and the

guide of their innovations, the great leader, Saddam Hussein, may Allah

render him victorious. They expressed their willingness to continue giving

with great energy, solid faith, and steadfastness to resist aggression and

the forces of evil and vice, and consecrate themselves and the fruit of

their brains to Iraq, its leader and the proud Iraqi people.' (Babil

7/11/01)

 

Challenging the lies

 

However there are voices, which seek to move the Islamic and Arab world away

from dictatorship and controlled thinking and are willing to do some

self-examination. Municipal elections have been held in the Gulf state of

Qatar in which women could both vote and stand. Bahrain, Jordan and Kuwait

have made similar moves including introducing an element of free speech. The

Arab states, which are on the democratic path, all have one feature in

common. They are all members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Arab

observers see a clear connection between the WTO, and the kind of open and

trading economy it requires, and democratic practices. 'Democratic

governments tend to have a free economy and dictatorships in the world have

restricted economies,' notes Jordanian economist Fahd Faneq. 'Free trade and

democracy normally go together.'

 

Fareed Zakaria wrote an article in Newsweek, reproduced in the Sunday Times

(14/10/01) in which he shows how Islamic fundamentalism has come out of the

failure of the Arab world to produce a free and creative society: 'If there

is one great cause of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism it is the total

failure of political institutions in the Arab world. Muslim elites have

averted their eyes from this reality. As the moderate majority looks the

other way, Islam is being taken over by a small poisonous element, people

who advocate cruel attitudes towards women, education, the economy and

modern life in general. If the Muslims do not take it upon themselves to

stop their religion from falling prey to medievalists, nothing any outsider

can do will save them.'

 

Kuwaiti university professor Ahmad Al-Baghdadi wrote an article titled

'Sharon is a Terrorist - And You?' which appeared in 'Akhbar Al-Youm'

(Egypt), (3/11/01). The article attacked the Arab press for focusing on

Israel's actions but disregarding what was being done by Arab rulers to

their own people. 'Persecuting intellectuals in the courtrooms of Arab

countries, trials of intellectuals for heresy, destruction of families,

rulings that marriages must be broken up because one spouse is charged with

apostasy - all exist only in the Islamic world. Is this not terrorism? The

Arab intelligence apparatuses killed hundreds of intellectuals and

politicians from the religious stream itself. The Zionist entity (i.e.

Israel) has never done such things against its citizens. Isn't this

terrorism?! The capability of the intelligence apparatus in every Arab and

Islamic country to arrest someone and make him disappear does not exist in

Israel and in the West. Isn't this terrorism?! Iraq alone is a never-ending

story of terrorism of the state against its own citizens and neighbours.

Isn't this terrorism?!'

 

Hashem Hassan, from Sudan, sent a letter to the editor of the London

Arabic-language daily, Al-Quds Al-Arabi (7/10/01). He wrote: 'Most of the

articles published in the Arabic press about Operation New York-Washington

are no more than symptoms of a mental illness from which we have suffered

since we were defeated by Israel in 1948. This illness is manifested by

blaming others for everything connected to our calamities and mistakes,

great as they may be. … We, the Arabs, are a people of adults who came of

age and gained independence from Britain, France, and America decades ago.

See what we have done with our free will. We became lost in a labyrinth of

corruption, economic backwardness, and civil wars on the day we lost our

democracy and the right of the people to remain free.'

 

The main reason for the lack of freedom in the Arab world is Islam itself.

Whether it is monstrous tyrants like Saddam Hussein, hiding behind a façade

of Islam, or the religious despotism that rules Saudi Arabia and has taken

over Iran and Afghanistan or the murderous Islamic guerrillas of Algeria and

Egypt, it can be shown that the more Islamic a country becomes, the less

free it becomes. Even in the West Islamic groups seek the overthrow of

democracy. Metin Kaplan, head of 'Caliphate State', a radical Muslim group,

lives in Germany. He stated: 'Islam and democracy will never be compatible.

When we come to power we will destroy and burn Parliament and cast its ashes

into the sea.' (Newsweek 5/11/01).

 

Jihad and Jesus

 

A major contribution to freedom in the Arab / Muslim world is to be found

through those who are most persecuted within it - the Bible believing

Christians. Sadly many Christian leaders in the West are now betraying the

cause of Christianity and their own Christian brethren in Muslim countries

by making totally untrue statements that Islam is a religion of peace and

tolerance and that the God of the Bible is the same as Allah of the Koran.

 

Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus said, 'If you abide in my

word you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.' (John

8.31-2) Personal freedom comes when we stop blaming others for our troubles

and examine ourselves, recognising our own sins and repenting of them.

Through faith in the once and for all sacrifice of the Lord Jesus we can

receive forgiveness and a new start. When real Christianity influences a

society it creates a greater degree of social freedom as well. Despite the

decline in Christianity in the West, our Christian heritage has given us a

respect for human rights and personal freedom, which is the main reason why

thousands of asylum seekers from Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Afghanistan and other

Muslim countries seek to come here.

 

Recently I was watching a programme on the BBC in which Muslim apologists

stated that 'jihad' in Islamic writings mainly means a personal struggle

against evil habits and ways rather than a violent struggle against

non-Muslims. That may be true, but the reality is that we cannot deal with

the evil within ourselves, except by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy

Spirit bears witness to the truth, denied in the Koran, that Jesus is the

Son of God, the one mediator between God and humanity. Therefore the Holy

Spirit is not available to the person seeking to overcome the sinful nature

through Islam.

 

The result is a sense of failure and condemnation. One way to avoid facing

the implications of this failure is to concentrate on the violent jihad,

hoping to gain entrance to Paradise through martyrdom in the cause of Islam.

On this subject it was interesting to note that Mohammed Atta, the leader of

the suicide team responsible for destroying the World Trade Centre, went to

a lap dancing bar in Florida where he spent money on alcohol and girls, the

week before the outrage. He could not get the victory over lust through

Islam but deluded himself that God would give him a place in Paradise

through committing mass murder of 'infidels'. Such a horrible deception can

only come from the Devil, whom Jesus describes in John 8.44: 'He was a

murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there

is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources,

for he is a liar and the father of it.'

 

Paul wrote in Romans 8 of the freedom from condemnation, which is available

in Jesus: 'There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ

Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the

law of sin and death.' Let us pray that many in the Muslim world may know

this freedom in the Messiah Jesus!

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