Many in western democracies are blind to radical Islam’s threat to their security and cultural values, speakers said at a day-long discussion of Islam during the National Religious Broadcasters International Christian Media Convention.
“The majority of Muslims are peaceful and good citizens,” Robert Edmiston, a member of Britain’s House of Lords from the Conservative Party, said at the Feb. 24 event in Nashville. “But there are some that are extremists, and they are gaining ground.”
The threat Islam poses stems not merely from a radical fringe but from central doctrines of the Muslim faith, some of the speakers said.
“Moderate Islam is to Islam what nominal Christianity, cultural Christianity is to Christianity,” said William Lane Craig, a professor of philosophy at Houston Baptist University who has studied Islam for 30 years. “It is a mere cultural set of mores that one has adopted, but it isn’t representative in either case of the fundamental teaching of the original book of that religion, whether the Quran or the Bible.”
Caroline Cox, another member of the House of Lords, said “verses of peace” are in the Quran, but the Islamic principle of “abrogation” teaches that “verses of the sword” trump those advocating peace.
“Way back in the early days of Islamic theology, the authorities found it very hard for Allah to be inconsistent. So they had to reconcile the inconsistency between the verses of peace and verses of the sword. They did so by the principle of abrogation, whereby the earlier revelations of the prophet [Muhammad] are abrogated by the later revelations,” said Cox, a former member of the Conservative Party who currently is not affiliated with either of the two major British parties.
“And unfortunately for all of us, the earlier verses, the earlier teachings or revelations, are the verses of peace. The later ones are the verses of the sword. And so those who do use those verses of the sword to justify their terrorist activities, which we see on our television screens, are operating in many ways from the correct theological interpretation according to traditional Islamic teaching,” Cox said.
Cox added, “You cannot say that [jihadi terrorism] has nothing to do with Islam.”
Topics at the NRB Islam discussion, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, ranged from national security to culture to the church.
Islam and security
If estimates by the Gallup polling organization are correct, 7-10 percent of Muslims worldwide believe in violent jihad, author and Middle East expert Joel Rosenberg said. That translates to approximately 150 million supporters of jihad — a number equivalent to half of the U.S. population.
The Iranian government and the terrorist group ISIS advocate “apocalyptic jihad” and pose perhaps “the most grave danger right now,” Rosenberg said. Those two groups believe they can hasten the end times and the coming of an Islamic messiah by committing genocide, he said.
Iran’s leaders think a way to hasten the messiah’s appearance is “to annihilate two nations, two civilizations: Israel, which they believe is the little Satan, and the United States, which they believe is the great Satan,” Rosenberg said. “But the Iranians’ strategy thus far has been, wait until you can acquire [or] build the nuclear weaponry to accomplish that end.”
In light of Iran’s genocidal theology, it would be foolish for the U.S. to strike a nuclear deal with Iran that allows the Middle Eastern nation to maintain nuclear weapons, Rosenberg said.
Frank Gaffney, a former adviser to President Reagan, warned that “global jihad” — not just the isolated activities of ISIS — is the present generation’s “existential threat.”
There is “a global jihad brought to us by these Islamic supremacists for the purpose of imposing what they call sharia on the entire world and creating a caliphate or a similar kind of governing arrangement to rule according to it,” Gaffney said.
Rosenberg and Gaffney made their comments during a panel discussion moderated by Richard Land, former president of Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
Islam and culture
Violent jihad, Cox noted, is just one of many strategies used by Muslims who seek Islamic dominance of western nations. Among the other types of jihad she cited:
- “Political jihad” seeks the passage of legislation imposing judicial penalties for criticizing or making jokes about Islam. The British parliament narrowly defeated legislation during the Blair administration that would have imposed up to six years in prison for criticizing Islam, Cox said.
- “Cultural jihad” utilizes investment in western universities to create centers for Islamic studies and install professors with biases toward Muslim causes and ideas.
- “Demographic jihad” has led to government-permitted polygamy for Muslims in the United Kingdom, with some men having as many as 20 children. As a result, the Muslim population is vastly increasing.
- “Legal jihad” has led to the establishment of at least 80 sharia courts in the United Kingdom that impose a strict Islamic code on individuals who choose to settle legal matters there. Sharia courts “pose a threat to the fundamental principle of democracy of one law for all,” Cox said.
- “Humanitarian jihad” demands conversion to Islam as a condition of receiving humanitarian aid, even amid dire circumstances. Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations have given $27 million toward humanitarian jihad in South Sudan, Cox said.
“In western liberal democracies, [jihadists] are using … the freedoms of democracy to achieve political change to try to destroy that democracy and the freedoms which it enshrines,” Cox said.
Erwin Lutzer, pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago, told of seeing a Muslim holding a sign on television during a demonstration in Dearborn, Mich., that said, “We will use the freedoms of the Constitution to destroy the Constitution.”
Such a strategy captures “exactly where Islam is at,” Lutzer, author of “The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent,” said.
In 2004, an FBI investigation revealed that the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood planned to infiltrate America by establishing Islamic influence through education, mosque construction, the banking industry and other cultural avenues — not violent jihad, Lutzer said.
Faced with such cultural attacks by Islamic extremists, America must discontinue its present strategy of submitting to Muslim demands and seeking to avoid offending Muslims at all costs, Lutzer said.
Lutzer compared America’s posture toward Muslims and Islamic nations with “dhimmitude,” the custom of minorities paying a tax within an Islamic state in exchange for protection from persecution. “What we have decided to do is to play the role. We haven’t signed a pact, but the pact is there,” he said.
Islam and the church
Michael Youssef, pastor of The Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, said he is less afraid of jihadists than he is of Christians departing from biblical theology because Islam has expanded during periods of doctrinal weakness in the church.
In the sixth century, Muslims conquered North Africa as a heresy called Montanism caused many Christians to believe God would provide continuing revelation beyond the Bible, Youssef said. Centuries later Islam expanded all the way to Austria “on the back of a weak church.”
“I look around today and I see the church is plagued by universalism, heterodoxy, hyper-grace, emergent church, the insider movement, Chrislam,” Youseff said, “I grieve more and become more concerned about this than I am about Islamists.”
Despite the church’s weakness, Youssef said thousands of Muslims are coming to faith in Islamic lands and providing hope for a better future.
One such former Muslim, Isik Abla, told of praying as a little girl in Turkey that Allah would let her kill and die for Islam. As a teenager, she married a radical Muslim and began supporting “educational jihad” — sending Muslim students to study at western universities and then gain power in western nations.
By age 28, Abla had been abused and twice divorced, and she plotted to kill herself. But on the day of her planned suicide, she received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.
Since 2009, she has been hosting Christian programming on satellite television to reach Muslims in the Mideast. Abla reported terrorists being saved through her broadcasts and cited the Gospel as the ultimate solution to Islamic radicalism.
“The name of Jesus Christ was an offense to me as a Muslim,” Abla said during the NRB sessions. “… Truth offends but it saves. And I am so glad that I was offended by the name of Jesus Christ.”
— by David Roach | BP