It again struck.
Unreasoning, brutal and deadly, its calling card read “revenge for the honor” of the prophet Muhammad.
This time it was the Paris headquarters of a satirical newspaper that had dared to poke fun at the Prophet. Twelve people, including the editorial director, were killed. Three of the terrorists were later cornered and gunned down. But not before four other innocent victims lay dead on the floor of a kosher market.
France was stunned. Nothing like this had happened in a half century.
The civilized world recoiled and then united in defiant solidarity against terrorism. Millions marched in Paris and throughout the country. The mayor of the city made clear her determination to fight back. President Francois Hollande joined the leaders of Germany, Great Britain, Israel and representatives from more than 40 other nations, arm in arm, for the show of resolve.
And once again, pains were taken to explain that this was a united resistance only to “radical” Islam, not Islam itself.
With each attack, with each mindless invocation of Muhammad and each bloody cry for “Allah”, even the most reasonable are beginning to question this persistent premise.
Is it true?
Is the religion of Islam, the world’s second-largest with 1.57 billion followers, totally blameless in the rising tide of global butchery committed in the name of its god and his messenger?
Is it possible that the guilt-ridden and dangerous dogmas of political correctness and multiculturalism have blinded us to the stubborn facts – the unvarnished truth – about Islam? Have we, in the name of a false peace and uneasy co-existence, turned a blind eye to the troubling reality of this oftentimes fervent, harsh and unforgiving religion?
By embracing acceptance do we practice cowardice?
“Tolerance,” observed GK Chesterton, “is the virtue of a man without convictions.”
Ideas have consequences. And some of the ideas – and history – of Islam lend themselves to a stridency of belief and an extremism of behavior.
It is ideas that unite terrorists around the globe who repeatedly shriek that they are acting in the name of “Allah.” And when we see this religious violence committed in the name of a single religion – over and over again – we have every right – and the duty – to be aware, informed and suspicious.
And we have the moral obligation to condemn any religion that breeds this violence; whether it is deliberate or unwitting. The danger is no different.
If our political leaders had any spine they would stand up.
These attacks, such as the one in Paris, may appear to be isolated but they are in fact united. What unites them is a sworn hatred of Western civilization and of Christianity in particular.
Muhammad is diametrically opposed to Jesus Christ. They cannot both be God’s sole messenger.
In Pakistan last November, a young Christian couple, living in poverty, was beaten to death with hockey sticks, rods and crowbars by an angry Muslim crowd of more than a thousand. The couple had been accused of burning a Koran while disposing of trash.
Muslim clerics used loudspeakers to incite the crowd while the couple was held captive. After being clubbed to death, their bodies were burned in the kiln where they had labored their whole lives. They left three small children. She was pregnant.
Where then was the outrage of Islam at such an act? Where indeed has it been throughout the Middle East in the face of savage persecution of Christians?
Even the new president of Egypt warned imams that they must rise up and condemn this terror committed in the name of Islam or their religion will disintegrate in a cauldron of vengeance.
When Abraham, doubting God’s promise, listened to his wife and was intimate with her slave Hagar, the son they had, Ishmael, was destined for violence. “‘This son of yours will be a wild man,’” the angel told the pregnant Hagar, “‘as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives’” (Genesis 16:12, NLT).
Ishmael is the father of the Arab race – the progenitor of Islam. Hate and violence are his legacy.
“I have been ordered (by Allah),” declared Muhammad, “ to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle”
Blasphemy against Islam is a criminal act in many nations, punishable by death. Responsible Muslims must call for the abolition of these repressive laws.
There are many peace-loving Muslims and we must never hate anyone. The right to worship must be protected in this country – for everyone.
This must be the Christian response.
We must continue to evangelize Muslims – to lead them to the love of Jesus Christ and the freedom, grace and forgiveness that only he offers. This is both right and effective. Haggai Institute, the great ministry for which I work, has trained thousands of ex-Muslims in leadership for evangelism. At their grave peril, they spread the Good News to their friends, family and colleagues.
Many Muslims around the world have told of seeing the Savior in dreams and visions.
Yes, he loves and he comes. Yes, he comes to them too.
Let us pray that the scourge of religiously-inspired violence will end.
Let us love all people everywhere, as He wants us to.
And let us recognize the destructive danger of falsehood, the glorious power of truth and the triumphant reality that Jesus Saves!
May God bless you and your family.