War against terrorism is a spiritual war that must be won spiritually.
by Kenneth D. MacHarg
LAM News Service
The United States and its allies are up against a spiritual war that must be won spiritually, according to a recent speaker at the Latin America Mission who has worked with Muslims in Miami for over 15 years. The war against terrorism is not one that can be won by bombs, freezing bank accounts and destroying terrorist training camps, Yusuf Abdallah warned.
Abdallah says that to combat terrorism from extremist Islamic groups, Americans must understand their deep devotion to Islam and why they view the United States with such anger. He also says that we must look more closely at Islamic claims to be a peaceful religion to see that such claims are contrary to much of the teaching of the Qur'an.
Abdallah ministered for many years in the Middle East and recently wrote the book Jesus Gives Peace; Jesus in the Qur'an and the Bible.
Speaking to a Miami audience, Abdallah said, "Muslims feel it is a great honor to die in a battle against the enemies of Allah."
Pointing to several areas of Muslim anger, Abdallah listed:
A great resentment against the founding of Israel, "The Israelis humiliated the Palestinians, many of whom were Muslims, by stealing their houses and land, chasing them away and killing whatever Arab patriots dared to fight back," he said.
A great resentment against the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia.
Holding the United States responsible for the deaths of perhaps millions in Iraq because of the sanctions placed on that country after the Gulf War.
Frustrations that U.S. aid helps keep several moderate Arab governments stable, making them more susceptible to U.S. influence and control.
Outrage against what they see as the corrupt effect of the U.S. in the world. "Muslims hate the immoral influences in Islamic culture brought there by Western television and movies. Women nearly naked parade across the screen, consumption of alcohol is encouraged, such sins as adultery, homosexuality and godless secularism are openly condoned and espoused and laughed at," he explained.
"The greater the influence of Islam is in a Muslim's life, the more he hates the economic, political and cultural influences of the United States," Abdallah affirms. "Is it any wonder that there is a strong religious revival going on all over the Muslim world that seeks to fight the immoral excesses of the West and bring even moderate Muslim nations back into the fold of true Islam?"
It should not be surprising that "those united in their love for Allah should work together across national boundaries in the only fight that seems to work for them, namely terrorism," Abdallah says.
Abdallah stated that when Islam is portrayed as a religion of peace, "They are omitting the basis of that peace, which is total submission to the will of Allah and complete obedience to His commands, to the point of giving up one's life as a joyful, willing surrender to Allah."
"Muslims work toward world peace by seeking to bring all nations under the guiding influence of Islam," Abdallah explained. "The peace will be the peace that occurs when the desert chieftain god is in total charge of his people and they willing submit to the dictator god."
Abdallah charged that Muhammad, the chief prophet of Islam, gained his power by fighting and overpowering other tribes, brining them subject to Allah. Those who rejected Islam, he said, particularly Jews and Christians, were sometimes brutally murdered so that the peace of Allah would rule.
Abdallah referred to the Qur'an, quoting from chapter 5, verses 33 and 34: "the punishment of those who wage war against Allah and his messenger (Muhammad) and strive with might and man for mischief through the land is execution or crucifixion or the cutting off of hands and feet."
"That is how Allah's peace is maintained," he said.
Abdallah said there are several lessons to be learned by Americans who say that militants who use terror and consider themselves true martyrs in the righteous wars of Allah against sin and unbelief are "deluded."
"First, we can listen to the hijackers," he said. "Our society is secular and immoral and spreading bad influences around the world. We should hate these things as much as the hijackers do. We should work as hard to eradicate these evils as the hijackers do."
"Second, we can relearn the lesson to always have our heart right with Jesus. He has warned us that his coming will be unexpected."
"Third, this is a time to pray for our enemies and those who misuse us," Abdallah said, referring to the scriptural reference in Matthew 5: 44 "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." He explained that many of the two million Christians in Pakistan have committed themselves to pray for Muslims for five hours a day. "The evangelical churches in Pakistan are leading the way," he affirmed.
"Fourth, we must get the gospel to the Muslim people." Although most Muslim lands are closed to Christian missionary efforts, Abdallah pointed out that God has brought between seven and ten million Muslim people to the United States. "Churches must develop outreach, evangelistic and social, to reach these millions. If we had done a better job here in south Florida in reaching Muslims, perhaps the hearts of the hijackers who lived here could have been changed for Christ," he charged.
Fifth, Abdallah said that "Christ's death on the cross must be lifted up and proclaimed clearly. Hijacker blood has no value to bring in God's Kingdom. It is the shed blood of the Lamb of God that makes God's Kingdom possible.
Finally, Abdallah called on Christians to pray for the eight Christians now on trial in Afghanistan on charges of evangelizing.
(The text of Abdallah's presentation can be found at lam.org/articles/muslim.html.)
In an interview, Abdallah said that he had spoken to many Muslim families in south Florida who expressed their love and concern for those who were affected by the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. that left nearly 6,000 people dead.
He said that many have expressed fear about harassment and attacks on them and other Muslims. "I know one Syrian Muslim family where the wife wears the traditional robes and gowns. You used to see her in the park with her children. Now, she stays at home, out of sight," he reflected.
Abdallah said that many are predicting a massive turning of Muslims to Christ following the September incidents. He called on Christians to reach out to their Muslim neighbors in these difficult times. "Go and be a friend, let them know that you care," he advised. "If they ask questions, do your best to answer them." However, he suggested that Christians not leave tracts or Bibles unless they are requested, and to be sure that any Bibles distributed be in their native language. Unless the Muslims come to know God's saving grace through Jesus Christ, they will be lost for eternity. It's time to show them the true love of God.