September 11, 2001 made the Western world aware of Islam like never before. Twelve years ago, many Americans knew that Islam existed, but knew very little about it. Few would have known who Osama bin Laden or the Taliban were. The destruction of the World Trade Center changed everything.
A couple of nights ago on The Factor, Bill O’Reilly made some an interesting comments about Islam (I don’t normally watch the program, because although O’Reilly is a pretty bright guy, he is terribly rude to friends and foes alike). He mentioned that Islamic countries will always despise the United States because they see us as infidels. Contrary to what we might hear from the media, he is correct.
We often hear in the mainstream media that Islam is a religion of peace. It was (in)famously stated as such by President George W. Bush, as well as by others from a more leftist political bent. Unfortunately, there are more than a few disturbing quotes that contradict that evaluation. Please consider the following:
• In Muhammad’s own words, “Paradise lies under the shade of swords” (Sahih Al-Bukhari vol. 4, book 52, no. 73).
• In Sura 2:216, Allah commands his people to wage war: “Prescribed for you is fighting, though it be hateful to you. Yet it may happen that you will hate a thing which is better for you; and it may happen that you will love a thing which is worse for you; God knows, and you know not.” Trust Allah. If he orders the death of the infidel, the faithful must follow those orders in spite of their own consciences.
• Sura 5:54 says, “O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Whoso of you makes them his friends is one of them. God guides not the people of the evildoers.” Although Muslim apologists claim that Jews and Christians are “people of the book” (which was true earlier in Muhammad’s life), later revelation given to the Prophet reversed this position.
• In Sahih Al-Muslim Book 41, Number 6985, we read, “Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.” Even nature hates the Jews. This sentiment is obvious in leaders such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who have made it clear that one of their goals is the destruction of Israel.
Someone might ask, “But aren’t there similar statements in the Bible about war and destruction?” Yes and no. Yes, in that there are descriptions of war and commands to engage in war. No, in that those instances occur in the Old Testament and refer to one-time events. The words of the Prophet are commands that are to be followed by faithful Muslims in perpetuity. Christians are to demonstrate a faith that is willing to be insulted and even injured (Matthew 5:39) without retribution or retaliation, because it is God himself who will avenge (Romans 12:19).
I have known and worked with a number of Muslims. They seemed very friendly, and were very respectful. But I was in Egypt, which has been one of the most secular Muslim countries in the Middle East (this will possibly change with the Muslim Brotherhood gaining power there). America supports Israel, and therefore devout Muslims see us as a friend of Jews. But the Muslim faithful also see us as a decadent nation. Studies have strongly suggested that the reason for jihadist attacks is politically—not religiously—motivated.
There are signs of hope. Muslims are converting to Christianity in record numbers. For some reason, many of them are citing dreams of Jesus as the cause. We can only pray that more and more Muslims reject the harbinger of death who could only raise the sword and embrace the bringer of life who will raise the dead.