Who is the Enemy? Is it Islam?
Let's look at history.
Militant extremists have done some pretty dastardly things in the name of religion, including
in the name of Christianity.
There's a big difference between Christianity and the way it is practiced by
some of its scholars
- The Crusades: By 1000 A.D., the Muslims had spread west across Europe and had conquered Spain and
Portugal. The Roman church, the main proponent of "Christianity", sponsored the Crusades,
offering indulgences for Christians going to war with the goal of driving the Muslims out
of Palestine, killing off the "heretics". Augustin justified this with a misinterpretation of
Luke 14:23 ["compel them to come in"]. (Sending thousands to war would also help to reduce the overpopulation
of Europe at the time.)
- The Inquisition: Between 1100 and 1200 A.D., a Papal order was issued that said "Anyone who did not believe
should have his property confiscated, and be put in prison".
- Martyrdom: In 1231 A.D., Pope Gregory IX declared, "Heretics should be seized and burned", resulting in
the martyrdom of many, including Galileo and Joan of Arc. [read Fox's Book of Martyrs.]
Similarly, there's a big difference between the fundamentals of Islam and some of the extremists
who call themselves Muslims but practice fringe interpretations of the Quran.
So is the Enemy Islam?
No. The terrorists would have the world believe that our fight is against
Islam. But millions of peaceful Muslims (Islamic believers) condemn the attacks, as do
the political leaders in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Jordan.
These are overwhelmingly Muslim countries, but are with us in this fight.
Why? Because it is not a fight against Islam, but against terrorism. (It was a difficult decision
for these countries.)
Facts about Islam:
Islam is the name of the religion. In Arabic it means "submission" to God.
Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, now covering one-fifth of the world's
- A Muslim is a person who practices Islam.
- Arab is the name of a race of people; not synonymous with "Muslims".
There are many Arab Christians, and Arabs who do not practice Islam.
- Allah is the God of Islam. Muslims claim that Allah is the same God as Jehovah
of the Jews and Christians; but some evangelical scholars take issue with that notion.
- The Quran (sometimes spelled Koran) is the sacred text of Islam, dictated to
Mohammed in Arabic. Muslims claim that it cannot be accurately translated.
- A mosque is the house of worship. It means "place of prostration" (prayer).
- Mecca is the birthplace of Mohammed, the holiest city of Islam. Mecca is in
Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden is angry at Saudi Arabia for allowing U.S. troops into the area
during the Gulf War, desecrating the land.
Islam is basically an offshoot of Judaism.
- There is one God, without equal, who created and maintains the world.
- Angels exist as servants of God, to reveal his will. Every person has two angels:
One records all your sins, and the other records all your good deeds. [Parallel with Christianity:
The "books" were opened at the White Throne Judgment].
- Prophets: Mohammed is the final and greatest prophet that trumps all the others:
Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus.
Next week: More about the Quran and what it teaches.