A Religion of Death and Violence

Around the world, daily news reports reveal the bloody carnage wrought by followers of Islam who simply seek to obey the clear instructions of their scriptures and sayings – the Quran and the hadiths. While the politically correct establishment in Western nations refuses—or fears—to acknowledge that this is the true expression of Islam, millions of Muslims take literally the explicit commands to fight, seize, kill, crucify, and to smite the necks and cut off the hands and feet of those who do not follow Islam.

A sampling of recent atrocities:

• On Nov. 4, a mob in a Pakistani village—urged on by mosque loudspeakers—attacked a husband and wife, accusing the woman of desecrating the Quran. They tore off­ the couple’s clothing, broke their legs, dragged them behind a tractor, doused them with diesel fuel and threw them into the burning furnace of a brick kiln. Why? The woman had burned some amulets that her late father-in-law had used for black magic, and those amulets may have contained verses from the Quran. The woman could not have known that. She was illiterate.

• On Nov. 8, al-Qaida claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed dozens of people in Rada, Yemen.

• On Nov. 10, at least 46 students at a boys’ school were killed, and 79 more were wounded, when a young man thought to be a member of Boko Haram dressed himself as a student and detonated a bomb in the school’s assembly hall.

• On Nov. 18, two Palestinians, armed with a gun, knives and axes, burst into a West Jerusalem synagogue shouting “God is great.” They massacred five worshipers before being killed in a shootout with police.

Such attacks are not limited to the Middle East and Africa. A four-day stretch in late October saw violent attacks by Muslims in Montreal and Ottawa, Canada; and in New York City.

This past summer, Yoannis Lahzi Gaido, the Coptic secretary to Pope Francis, made news when it became widely known that he had referred to Islam as “a culture of death.” Journalist Magdi Cristiano Allam quoted Gaido as saying that the difficulties faced by Christians in countries with Muslim majorities “are not caused by a few Islamists, but by a culture of death and violence that is based on very clear verses [of their scripture] that they quote, calling for violence and jihad, saying they should murder all who are di­fferent and killing [those who express] freedom of conscience. Just to think differently is enough to be sentenced to death.”

But such candor is rare, as most leaders and others in the public eye seem unwilling to speak the truth about this religion. Why?

“It’s fear—pure fear,” says pastor and author Michael Youssef, who grew up in a Coptic family in Egypt and now is a well-known evangelical leader in the United States. Youssef cited the 2012 statements of Mark Thompson, then BBC director-general, who admitted that his network treated Christianity with far less sensitivity than Islam, in part because mocking Islam could lead to death threats rather than the polite complaints that tend to come from Christians.

Thompson’s admission shows that, on some level, many recognize the di­fferences between Islam and the Christian faith. But even in so-called Christian churches, liberal leaders try to gloss over those differences. Some go so far as to claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and that either religion will lead one to Heaven.

“Christianity and Islam cannot both be truth,” Youssef told Decision. “One is true and one is not. These liberals within the churches who say Christianity and Islam are equal in value are either totally ignorant of what Islam is, or they are deliberately deceiving themselves.”

Aside from the claim that there is one God who created the world, the two faiths are polar opposites, Youssef said.

“One says pray for your enemies and your persecutors; the other says kill everyone who does not believe like you believe. One says that a woman, as the weaker sex, is to be honored and respected and valued. To the other, a woman is an object who needs to be covered up so she does not tempt men. And if she fails in any way, you beat her or even kill her. Christians are told to forgive; Muslims say you do not forgive anyone.”

In addition to murdering those who do not follow Islam, many Muslims also hope to die themselves while engaging in such acts. They have been taught that to be “martyred” in this way will guarantee entrance to paradise, which they believe will include generous amounts of alcohol and dozens of virgins for each martyr. In 2001, Afghan jihadist Maulana Inyadullah famously told David Blair of The Daily Telegraph, “The Americans love Pepsi Cola. We love death.”

How should Christians respond to such a dark, hopeless view? Youssef says believers must be committed to the core of the Gospel—that there is no other Name except Jesus by which we can be saved. He also suggests that we demonstrate the very thing that Jesus said would be the distinguishing mark of His followers: love.

“We may not agree with your ideology,” Youssef said of those who follow Islam. “But we love you as an individual, and the best way to express our love for you is to share with you the best we have: namely, salvation through Jesus alone, and eternal life that really is eternal life.” D 2014 BGEA