As we commemorate the tragedy of the Islamic assault on America seven years ago, there is still much fuzzy thinking about religion and terror. A secularised and demoralised West is confused about at least two things: the continued threat of Islamic expansionism, and the differences between radical Islam and biblical Christianity.
Consider the first. The carnage and destruction of September 11, 2001 should have forever focused the minds of the West as to the dangers of radical Islam, and its continued hatred of the West. That horrible day should have forever destroyed any illusions about Islam being fundamentally a religion of peace, and the need for us to somehow embrace Islam in the hope that the jihadists will simply go away.
The truth is, Islam, like Christianity, is a missionary religion. It wishes to see all people become Muslims. It wants all of mankind to submit to Allah. Unlike Christianity, however, there is no separation whatsoever between secular and sacred in Islam, and all of mankind is expected – one way or another – to submit to sharia law and the rule of Islam. Columnist Diana West picks up this theme in a recent article. She begins,
“Blame ignorance, blame cowardice: The strangest effect of 9/11 has been, on balance, an accelerated campaign of accommodation of Islam’s law in the West, a campaign boosted across the globe by the jihadist attacks of 3/11 (Madrid 2004) and 7/7 (London 2005) and many, many others. Paradoxically, such fast-track accommodation has occurred even as any and all connection between jihadist acts and Islam – specifically Islamic war doctrine – have been emphatically ruled out by our leaders, both civilian and military. It’s not that they have disproven the connection. Worse, they have chosen to ignore it.”
She continues, “the undermining reach of Islamic law stretches across American society, from the hilltop farm in rural Vermont, where goats are now raised to be slaughtered according to Islamic law, to Wall Street, where once-mighty financial institutions, some of them having become trinkets of Islamic potentates, now adapt themselves to Sharia banking practices, to Washington, D.C., where stately government buildings have been ringed in quasi-medieval, high tech anti-jihad defenses. It may be politically incorrect to notice this expansion of Islamic influence in the West, but it is also extremely difficult not to notice it. Then again, perhaps due to a 9/11 numbing effect, too few of us do.”
“Just last month, for example, publishing heavyweight Random House pulled a romance novel about Muhammad from its fall line-up out of fear of Islamic violence in New York City – yawn. Also last month, Mazen Asbahi, Obama’s director of Muslim outreach, resigned over ties to the Muslim Brotherhood – snore. (According to Investor’s Business Daily, Asbahi continues to work in some capacity for the campaign.) Last spring, the U.S. government issued guidelines for the Department of Homeland Security and others that ‘suggest’ such terms as ‘jihad’ and ‘Islamic terrorism’ not be used; snooze. Earlier this year, revelations that the No. 2 man at the Pentagon, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, was closely assisted by Hesham Islam, ‘an Islamist with a pro-Muslim Brotherhood bent who has brought in groups to the Pentagon who have been unindicted co-conspirators,’ according to terror expert Steven Emerson, drew a big yawn, snores and a snooze.”
She rightly asks in amazement, “Who could have imagined any of this, back when there was still a massive hole of burning ash at the bottom of Manhattan?” She marvels at our moral and historical amnesia: “As a society, we appear to have decided to remember 9/11 as something akin to a natural disaster that came and went rather than as a part of a diffuse but discernable push to advance the law of Islam.”
She concludes, “I am struck by the sharp contrast between this perspective and a very different kind of 9/11 commemoration, this one planned for this year’s anniversary in Brussels. According to initial press accounts, it was a small affair – just 50 people led by Flemish separatist leader Filip Dewinter of the Vlaams Belang party. Like last year, when this same group was brutally dispersed by Belgian police, they gathered in front of the World Trade Center in Brussels not only to mark the attacks on America but to protest the Islamization of Europe. Some number of them were arrested by the order of the mayor, who had earlier denied the group a permit for the demonstration, citing the possibility of violence over the ‘sensitivity’ of the event, the proximity of ‘sensitive’ neighborhoods (i.e., Muslim), and the season of Ramadan. A somber day, indeed.”
The other point of confusion – usually perpetrated and aggravated by the secularists and atheists – is the idea that all religion is inherently violent and oppressive. In their view, Christianity is just as bad as Islam, and if we could only get rid of all religion, we would see the end of most violence, warfare and bloodletting.
Charles Colson tackled this issue recently. He mentions the Freedom From Religion Foundation which spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars on Tuesday for a full-page propaganda ad in the New York Times – an ad that blamed religion for the horrors of September 11.”
With a picture of New York, including the twin towers, the ad said that “there is no greater source of terrorism, strife, bloodshed, persecution, or war than religion.” Comments Colson, “And by ‘religion,’ the ad’s writers left no doubt that they included Christianity, warning readers of the horrors of a potential Christian theocracy in America. In essence, the ad equated opposing gay rights with blowing up the World Trade Center. But the ad did not stop there. ‘The history of Western civilization,’ it said, ‘shows that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons FREE FROM RELIGION’.”
Colson rightly hits out at the absurdity of such thinking: “I don’t think the untold millions of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Russia, and Mao’s China would agree with such gross stupidity – unless by ‘social progress,’ the Freedom From Religion Foundation means innovations like Auschwitz, the Gulag, and World War II.”
He continues, “The truth is that out of a Christian worldview, which believes human life is sacred and freedom a gift of God, grew Western civilization itself, the only civilization that protects the fundamental rights of all human beings. Just look at our own history. When the radical atheist mentions the Inquisition and witch trials, we can say without hesitation that the Christians who carried them out were wrong. We repent. But once you remind atheists of the results of godless totalitarianism during the 20th century alone, they are silent.”
“Or consider the battle to end slavery and the civil-rights movement in the 1960s. Christians were the driving force. Modern science itself developed in the West precisely because Christians knew that God was a God of reason and order: that in His creation, we could find ‘immutable laws at work.’ Or even today, the great humanitarian causes: Trying to end the genocide in Darfur, ending sexual trafficking, stopping the spread of AIDS in Africa – all these causes are being led by Christians. And it is no coincidence that the concepts of democracy and freedom flourished and spread to the rest of the world in and through the Christian West.”
Colson concludes, “The truth is that the only thing that stands in the way of dangerous Islamo-fascism is Christianity. It has preserved an amazing degree of freedom, even freedom to bash your own country and the faith of its people. If the Freedom From Religion Foundation wants to test that proposition, maybe it ought to go and try to run that same ad in any Muslim country. Good luck.”
Quite right. There is a world of difference between the religion of Christianity and the religion of Islam. There is a world of difference between the message of Jesus and the message of Mohammad. While not seeking to denigrate the many devout Muslims in the world, the truth is, the real hope of humanity lies in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It does not lie in the spread of sharia law and the subjugation of all peoples under the sword of Allah.