Many of the facts in this article are taken from “A Moment For Truth” by Dave Hunt, in the October, 2001 Issue of The Berean Call Email Newsletter. Dave’s full article can be found on this website at: www.bereanpublishers.com|ecumenism|A_Moment_for_Truth.htm

[You can contact The Berean Call Email Newsletter at: tbcmail@empnet.com]


In the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy, many government figures, including the president of the United States, have spoken of Islam as a peaceful religion and described the people who have committed these crimes against humanity as fanatics. 

I think we should examine whether Islam is a peaceful religion and whether the people involved in these terrorist acts are fanatics or simply devout Muslims. My memory includes the spread of Islam centuries ago by the sword. That doesn’t sound very peaceful, does it? Or was that an aberration, quite different than the actual teachings of Islam? That is a fair question as the Crusades (by supposed Christians), which responded to the bloody spread of Islam by the sword, were totally contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ whom they claimed to represent. 

If our national leaders misunderstand the basic teachings of Islam as to whether they are peaceful or violent, and about individual Muslim terrorists as extremists or devout followers of the faith, they could make very serious errors in their decisions about how to root out terrorism and the destructive reaction they could unleash from the Muslim world.

To determine teachings of Islam on the subject of peace or violence, we must look to the teachings of Muhammed (its founder) from the Qur’an, and from other well-known leaders in Islam. 

Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini declared, “The purest joy in Islam is to kill and be killed for Allah.”[1] Is that fanaticism or is that the teaching of Islam? Surely the spiritual leader of a major Muslim nation, universally recognized as representing the Islam faith, would speak the true teachings of the faith.

There are more than 100 verses in the Qur’an advocating the use of violence to spread Islam. In the Qur’an, Allah commands Muslims, “Take not the Jews and Christians as friends. . . . Slay the idolaters [non-Muslims] wherever ye find them…. Fight against such…as believe not in Allah…” (Surah 5:51; 9:5,29,41, etc..). 

Muhammad, the founder of Islam, who with his followers slaughtered thousands in establishing and spreading Islam, said of Muslims, “Who relinquishes his faith, kill him….[2] I have been ordered by Allah to fight with people till they testify there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger.”[3] Was Muhammad a fanatic? This is a teaching of Islam!

Note Muhammed’s claim that he had been ordered by Allah to fight with people till they testify there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger. Isn’t that exactly what is happening today, and has happened in recent months and years, in Afghanistan, the Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan? In the Sudan alone, hundreds of thousands of male Christians have been slaughtered while the women and children are taken into slavery and forced to convert to Islam. Where is the public outcry from this inhumane slaughter and slavery of hundreds of thousands of people?

In an email of October 2, 2001, Itamar Marcus, director of the Palestinian Media Watch, charged that:

As far back as 1996 there was regular incitement in the official Palestinian media and newspapers as well as from leaders, which instilled in the population a hatred for Israel and the Jewish people.

After the U.S.-sponsored peace talks at Camp David failed to produce an Israeli-PA agreement for a final settlement, there was a shift in the media message, so much so that PMW predicted the outbreak of violence in a report two weeks before it occurred.

“Palestinian Authority television broadcasting of violence and hate has reached unprecedented levels this summer and has created an atmosphere [like that] of the eve of outbreak of war,” PMW wrote in its report “Rape, Murder, Violence and War for Allah Against the Jews: Summer 2000.”

Once the violence began, there was another shift calling on Palestinians to kill Jews and Americans, Marcus said. Two weeks after the violence began, an Islamic cleric called for the killing of Jews and Americans in a sermon on PA television:

“The Jews are the Jews. They are terrorists, therefore, it is necessary to slaughter them and murder them according to Allah’s word… Kill the Jews and those Americans that are like them. The Jews only understand might. Have no mercy on them, kill them everywhere,” the cleric said.

Within Palestinian society, the PA glorified suicide bombers and has reinforced the message that dying while fighting for “Palestine” is a glorious thing, Marcus added.

On the 3rd of October 2001, it was reported that Muslim religious leaders in Pakistan are reported to have issued a fatwa stating that two Pakistani Christians will be killed for every Muslim who dies during American strikes on Afghanistan. Earlier, Maulana Sami ul-Haq, a former member of Pakistan’s legislative assembly and a nationally recognised figure closely connected to international Islamic extremist movements, told journalists that the Qur’an clearly states that Jews and Christians are the enemies of Muslims, and by inference should be killed.

People of good will naturally recoil from attaching blame to a major world religion, but perhaps we can no longer afford overlooking the truth. Former President Bush called Islam a peace-loving religion as did President George W. Bush when he addressed the nation. Seemingly naive statements from other well-intentioned government leaders emphasized that we must distinguish between terrorism perpetuated by extremists groups and Islam itself which is peaceful. Are those who perpetuate these crimes Muslim extremists or simply devout followers of Islam?

A friend investigated the conflicting claims that Islam is peace-loving versus that their religion encourages jihad (holy war) against all non-believers. He said:

“These two concepts appear to be totally contradictory and therefore impossible for one religion to represent both concepts. This conundrum is because Islam is presented to the world as a unified religion, all believing the same thing, this is in fact false. There are two primary sects of Islam: Sunni (85%) and Shiite (10-15%) with a sprinkling of other smaller sects. Although they all accept the Koran, they also have other sources of religious belief (the hadith and others) which differ between the two main sects, and the two also interpret the Koran differently. It appears, based on the research I have done to date, that one of the areas in which they may differ is their view on “jihad”. It appears that the Sunni’s view may be that “jihad” (which means literally “striving”) is the internal striving with self so that the Muslim can do good and not evil, while the Shiite view may well include more of the “holy war” against the infidel.   

“It is interesting to note some supporting evidence for this from the CIA World Book of Facts 2001 that most Muslim countries have a large Sunni majority and a small Shiite minority. However Iran and Iraq both have Shiite majorities. It also appears that the Taliban is Shiite (although Afghanistan has a Sunni majority) as is the Labanese terror group Hizbollah.”

Further corroboration for that view is from Gary Halbert in a Special Report:

Of the world’s approximately 1.2 BILLION Muslims, an estimated 10-15% are of the militant “Islamist” strain. That’s 100-150 MILLION people who, to a greater or lesser degree, are caught up with what amounts to the world’s most dangerous cult. I have not seen these numbers reported anywhere in the mainstream media. Most Americans have no concept of this.

If you wonder why nations like Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Jordan, Indonesia and other potential “coalition” members are hesitant to openly support the US, it is because they fear that the many militant Islamists within their borders will rise up and destabilize their countries.

Christina Lamb (London Daily Telegraph) Sept. 30, 2001, wrote the following testimony of Hafiz Sadiqulla Hassani:

   “You must become so notorious for bad things that when you come into an area people will tremble in their sandals. Anyone can do beatings and starve people. I want your unit to find new ways of torture so terrible that the screams will frighten even crows from their nests and if the person survives he will never again have a night’s sleep.”

   These were the instructions of the commandant of the Afghan secret police to his new recruits. For more than three years one of those recruits, Hafiz Sadiqulla Hassani, ruthlessly carried out his orders. But sickened by the atrocities that he was forced to commit, last week he
defected to Pakistan, joining a growing number of Taliban officials who are escaping across the border.

   He reveals for the first time the full horror of what has been happening in the name of religion in Afghanistan. Mr Hassani has the pinched face and restless hands of a man whose night hours are as haunted as any of his victims. Now aged 30, he does not, however, fit the militant Islamic stereotype usually associated with the Taliban.

   “Like many people, I did not become a Talib by choice,” he explained. “In early 1998 I was working as an accountant here in Quetta when I heard that my grandfather — who was 85 — had been arrested by the Taliban in Kandahar and was being badly beaten. They would only release him if he provided a member of his family as a conscript, so I had to go.”

   Mr Hassani at first was impressed by the Taliban. “It had been a crazy situation after the Russians left. The country was divided by warring groups all fighting each other. In Kandahar warlords were selling everything, kidnapping young girls and boys, robbing people, and the Taliban seemed like good people who brought law and order.”

   So he became a Taliban “volunteer”, assigned to the secret police. At first, Mr Hassani’s job was to patrol the streets at night looking for thieves and signs of subversion. However, as the Taliban leadership began issuing more and more extreme edicts, his duties changed. Instead of just searching for criminals, the night patrols were instructed to seek out people watching videos, playing cards or, bizarrely, keeping caged birds. Men without long enough beards were to be arrested, as was any woman who dared venture outside her house.  The state of terror spread by the Taliban was so pervasive that it began to seem as if the whole country was spying on each other. “Basically any form of pleasure was outlawed,” Mr Hassani said.”

   After Kandahar, he was put in charge of secret police cells in the towns of Ghazni and then Herat, a relatively liberal place where women would dance at weddings and many girls went to school — but the Taliban were determined to put an end to all that. Mr Hassani and his men were told to be particularly cruel to Heratis.

   It was his experience of that cruelty that made Mr Hassani determined to let the world know what was happening in Afghanistan. “Nowhere else in the world has such barbarity and cruelty as in Afghanistan. At that time I swore an oath that I will devote myself to the Afghan people and telling the world what is happening.”

   Before he could escape, however, because he comes from the same tribe, he spent time as a bodyguard for Mullah Omar, the reclusive spiritual leader of the Taliban. “He’s medium height, slightly fat, with an artificial green eye which doesn’t move, and he would sit on a bed issuing instructions and giving people dollars from a tin trunk,” said Mr. Hassani. “He doesn’t say much, which is just as well as he’s a very stupid man. He knows only how to write his name ‘Omar’ and sign it.

   He became convinced that the Taliban were not really in control. “We laughed when we heard the Americans asking Mullah Omar to hand over Osama bin Laden,” he said. “The Americans are crazy. It is Osama bin Laden who can hand over Mullah Omar — not the other way round.”

   Twice he attended Taliban training camps, and on both occasions they were run by Arabs as well as Pakistanis. “The first one I went to lasted 10 days in the Yellow Desert in Helmand province, a place where the Saudi princes used to hunt, so it has its own airport. It was incredibly well guarded and there were many Pakistanis there, both students from religious schools and military instructors. The Taliban is full of Pakistanis.”

    “Luckily I have relatives who are high ranking Taliban members so they helped me get out and eventually I escaped to Quetta to my wife and daughter.”

   “I think many in the Taliban would like to escape. The country is starving and joining is the only way to get food and keep your land. Otherwise there is a lot of hatred. I hate both what it does and what it turned me into.”

We should ask why Muslims (followers of Islam) are responsible for most terrorism in the world today? There is a fundamental reason why Muslims are what the west terms terrorists and fanatics. The western (Judeo/Christian) mindset is almost incapable of thinking in terms of strapping explosives to one’s body and blowing oneself up in a crowded restaurant or market place, or flying an airliner into a tower of the World Trade Center. But not so with believers in Islam. 

Christians look forward to heaven. Muslims look forward to Paradise. However, Muslims have no assurance of getting to Paradise. Abu-Bakr, the first Caliph to succeed Muhammad (and one of the few to whom Muhammad promised Paradise without martyrdom), declared that even if he had one foot in Paradise he could not trust Allah to let him in. Christians know that if they have a saving faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and persevere to the end, they will go to heaven when they die.

The only sure way for a Muslim to be assured of going to Paradise is to sacrifice his life in jihad (holy war). While suicide is forbidden in Islam as self-murder, sacrificing one’s life in killing infidels (anyone who does not believe in Allah) carries the highest reward – the guarantee of going to Paradise. Thus, while most of us find the mass murder in the attacks on the towers of the World Trade Center reprehensible beyond our imagination, such an action is highly commended in Islam as an attack upon infidels. 

Besides being guaranteed access to Paradise, the jihad martyr will receive great rewards in Paradise. Dave Hunt explains:

He is promised a palace of pearls in which are 70 mansions; inside each mansion are 70 houses and in each house a bed on which are 70 sheets and on each sheet a beautiful virgin. He is assured that he will have the appetite and strength of 100 men for food and sex. 

This is the fantastic dream that is fed to Muslim boys from earliest childhood. This motivation alone gives the reckless courage and determination to train and execute terrorist deeds in which they sacrifice their lives in bringing death and destruction to “the enemies of Allah.”

Muslim leaders around the world call America “the Great Satan”. Is it any surprise then that many Muslims are happy about the deadly blows to American infidels and to America’s symbols of wealth and power? The western world watched unbelieving as television showed Palestinians dancing in the streets celebrating the destruction in America. Dave Hunt noted: “The day before the attack CNN showed routine footage of third grade children in a West Bank school chanting death to Israel. Only indoctrination into Islam makes possible such incredible scenes and the terrorism they celebrate.” 

In a television program last evening showing interviews with Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan, we were told over and over by Muslims that Osama bin Laden is a hero – the leader of Muslims throughout the world. Many expressed the belief that war against Muslims would bring reprisals from Muslims throughout the world as they would rise up together in jihad against America.

Dave Hunt calls our attention to incredible hypocrisy in our world about terrorism:

There is a certain hypocrisy in the new outrage with which America and the world now view terrorism. History’s bloodiest, most vicious and successful terrorist, Yasser Arafat, has been given the Nobel Peace Prize and embraced as a world statesman. He is proof to would-be imitators that terrorism pays big. The United Nations, European Union, and countless world political and religious leaders have sided with him in his terrorism against Israel.

Arafat and his PLO held the record for the largest hijacking (four aircraft in a single operation) — which has just been equaled, the greatest number of hostages held at one time (300), the greatest number of people shot at an airport, the largest ransom collected ($5 million paid by Lufthansa), the greatest variety of targets (40 civilian passenger aircraft, five passenger ships, 30 embassies or diplomatic ministries plus innumerable fuel depots and factories), etc.[4] Instead of being tried by an international tribunal as were the Nazi and Serbian leadership, Arafat’s bloody exploits gained for him acceptance as a leader for peace!

Dave Hunt describes the excellent video titled Jihad in America by Steven Emerson produced by PBS a few years ago. 

Its cameras went directly inside cell groups associated with mosques here in America where eager young Muslims were being recruited for jihad against the United States. Muslim leaders are shown giving speeches about bringing America to its knees through terrorism and making cold-blooded statements such as the following from Fayiz Azzam in Brooklyn in 1989: “Blood must flow, there must be widows, orphans, hands and limbs must be severed and limbs and blood must be spread everywhere in order that Allah’s religion stand on its feet!”

Yes, Allah’s religion is the motivation!

In Kansas, in 1988, another leader recruiting Islamic holy warriors against the United States exults, “O, brothers! After Afghanistan [where Muslim “freedom fighters,” aided by the CIA, drove out the Soviets and installed the brutal Taliban regime] nothing in the world is impossible for us any more! There are no superpowers or minipowers. What matters is will power that springs from our religious belief!” Yes, religious belief, the particular belief of Islam, is the only motivation capable of inspiring such “fanaticism.”

At the beginning of the video, Emerson, who had tracked international terrorism for the prior ten years, reported on what he called “networks of Islamic extremists” inside the US.  He accurately warned that “for these militants jihad is a holy war, an armed struggle to defeat non-believers, or infidels, and their ultimate goal is to establish an Islamic [worldwide] empire.”  Yet he later back-pedalled into the incredible statement that “Islam as a religion does not condone violence; the radicals represent only themselves — an extremist and violent fringe….” That is simply not true. It is not because men are Arabs or extremists that they turn to terrorism, but because they are devout Muslims. Yet who will face this obvious fact?

Hatred of Israel and the call to destroy America for supporting her are also underlying themes of the terrorists seen in the documentary. Another Muslim leader in the US declares that Washington’s Capitol Hill is “Zionist-occupied territory,” that the Jews control Congress, and that the United States deserves what it gets so long as it continues to support Israel.

Referring repeatedly to “Islamic holy warriors,” the video documented as clearly as could be done that Islam is the driving force behind terrorism. Astonishingly, however, the narrator and counter-terrorism experts being interviewed repeatedly declared that Islam was not to be blamed but only the “fanaticism” of certain individuals. For example, Paul Bremer, former Ambassador-at-Large for counter-terrorism for the State Department, said it is “important to make a distinction…the vast majority of Muslims and Arabs are peace-loving.” 

It is likely that the vast majority of Muslims are peace-loving.  However, none of us can know what is in the heart of a person. In last night’s television show on Afghanistan and Pakistan, a well-dressed group of young Muslim men spoke pleasantly and intelligently until they eagerly spoke about their devotion to Allah and their willingness to be part of a jihad if Osama bin Laden is attacked. 

But don’t we all serve the same God? Isn’t the God of Christians and Jews and Muslims the same, whether we call him God or Allah or even Jesus? No! Allah is not the same as God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ of Christianity nor the one God of Judaism. Scripture says the God of Christianity is love! Jesus commanded us to love. [See the article on this website: Post WTC Tragedy|Allah, the Moon God. It explains the originas of Allah with irrefutable archeological proof.]

In the memorial service in the cathedral in Washington, D.C., attended by many dignitaries, a prayer was offered which purported to be to the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim God. Such a prayer may have been politically correct but it was distinctly wrong.  

True Christianity won the world by living out Christ’s injunction to love. Christians are first to love God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind, and then love their neighbors as themselves. Christians are to love one another as the Lord Jesus loved them. LOVE is the key word and the over-riding command to be followed by those who are true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. As to those who are purported enemies, Jesus commanded: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43).

The Christian and Islam religions are in deep conflict. Islam regards Jesus as only a prophet who did not die on a cross. Islam regards Muhammed as the last and greatest of the prophets. 

Christianity knows that the Lord Jesus Christ is the lamb of God who was slain (crucified) to take away the sin of the world. Christianity’s hope of eternal life is based on the resurrection from the dead of the Lord Jesus. Christianity is exclusive in that it believes that the Lord Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through him. 

When we understand the difference between the religions and the reason for the violence coming from devout Muslim practitioners of Islam we, as nations and as individuals, can make decisions properly and with the understanding of what may happen as a result of a war against “terrorism” which Muslims may construe as a war against devout Muslims.

Dave Hunt concluded: “We have arrived at a defining moment when truth could triumph if the world would recognize that terrorists are not “fanatics” but devout fundamentalist Muslims who are earnestly following their religion. This recognition could bring fresh sympathy for Muslims of all nationalities who are tragically trapped in that system.

“The expose’ of the truth could embarrass Muslim nations into opening the Islamic Curtain and allowing freedom to enter their borders. It could be a new day of open evangelism for the world where not force but love and reason permit each person to determine the faith he would embrace from his heart.”

Doubtless President Bush called Muslims peace-loving and assured the world that most Muslims decry the events of the past days in the hope of keeping Muslims on the side of America and against the terrorists. We hope he succeeded.

May God bless America.


Footnotes

[1] David Lamb, The Arabs: Journey Beyond the Mirage (Vintage Books, 1988), 287; David Reed, “The Unholy War Between Iran and Iraq” (Readers Digest, August 1984), 389.

[2] Quoted on authority of Ibn ‘Abbas in Sahih of al-Bukhari (Part 9), 19. Attested by numerous Islamic scholars.

[3] Op. cit. (Part 1), 13.

[4] John Laffin, The PLO Connections (Transworld, 1982), 18.