Response to Terror Attack – what happens now?

A comment on a previous post suggested what our Government ought to be doing – acting swiftly. If I may take the liberty of expanding the comment.

I should have replied straight away but without reading any news I could have written the progress of the response as follows:

Not necessarily in this order, but kind of like this….

1. Outright condemnation of this terrible act – and it is.

2. The news will investigate / report on possible links to Terror organisations.

3. Interviews with as many ‘experts’ as possible.

4. Interview friends / neighbours / family / teachers etc of the killers.

5. Members of the Government will be invited to appear on TV / Radio.

6. Muslim organisations will be invited to condemn it.

7. Government will deny links to Islam.

8. Government will condemn these ‘un-Islamic’ attacks.

8. Radicalisation took place through extremist fundamentalist ‘un-Islamic’ terror groups.

Something like that anyway. And it started in earnest last night on BBC Question Time.

Q.E.D

Islam is a religion of peace.

 

Just to be clear, I am in no way suggesting all Muslims are Terrorists or would even want to be. Thankfully, most Muslims are inconsistent with their own Prophet. The point is this, the propensity for violence (violent Jihad) is inherent in Islam. This is what really needs to be discussed. But it won’t be, because the Government has already made the commitment to Islam.

BBC Manipulates the news – evidence

There will no doubt be a concerted attempt at cleaning up any efforts at linking Islam with the Woolwich murder.

BBC News 24 website shows ITV footage of a man with ‘Bloodied hands’ here.

Jihad Watch shows the same video here.

What’s the difference? The BBC edits out the reference to the Qur’an. It’s a fact our Government (and the US) needs to get its head round – The Qur’an does sanction the killing of ‘infidels’.

See Archbishop Cranmer again here.

More from Jihad Watch here. And the latest here with transcript.

James R. White – New book on the Qur’an

Dr James White has a new book on the Qur’an. Dr White has for some years been researching and studying extensively the religion of Islam. His new book has the title ‘What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an (Paperback)’.

There’s an excellent interview with Dr White on The Reformed Forum. From the Reformed Forum website:

Today we welcome Dr. James R. White to the program to speak about his book What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an. In the book, Dr. White presents Islamic beliefs about Christ, salvation, the Trinity, the afterlife, and other important topics. White shows how the sacred text of Islam differs from the teachings of the Bible in order to help Christians engage in open, honest discussions with Muslims.

It’s available in the UK via The Book Depository. This is a book I’ll be ordering very soon!

Download interview via Reformed Forum website link above.

Dr White is the Director of Alpha & Omega Ministries – Christian apologetics.

Testimony of an Ex-Muslim

The latest White Horse Inn broadcast is an interview with Pastor Fikret Böchek. Fikret was raised as a Muslim (his parents are still Muslims) in Turkey but became a follower of The Lord Jesus. This is a really excellent interview and I would be very interested to know what Muslim friends think of it and the issues raised – so do leave a comment.

There are other resources and you can hear the interview by following This Link and clicking on the Audio. I’m not sure how long the audio will be available so don’t wait too long. If you miss it leave a comment and I’ll be in touch.

Here’s the blurb from the WHI site:

There are currently over a billion Muslims in the world, and according to many that number is likely to double over the next twenty years. How are we to reach this group with the gospel of Jesus Christ? What kinds of things do we need to know in order to be effective in our witness toward Muslims? On this program, Michael Horton discusses these questions with Fikret Böchek, who recounts his fascinating conversion from Islam and his current ministry among Muslims in Smyrna, Turkey.

This is a really fascinating and challenging interview. They are also providing links to a previous interview with Sam Solomon – an ex Muslim Jurist.

Seyyed Hossein Nasr on Islam – Book Review

Hossein Nasr at the Massachusetts Institute of...
Image via Wikipedia

I seem to have posted rather a lot on Islam of late. This wasn’t really intentional it’s just that circumstances – admittedly an existing interest – seemed to dictate. This was partly due to the programs aired by the BBC and I still have to post on aspects of these. The programs were a little while ago now but their huge significance remains.

It seemed appropriate to find out more from a source other than the TV or Christian apologetic comments and lectures on the subject. I wanted to read what a Muslim has to say. Ken Samples some time ago delivered a series of Academy lectures at Christ Reformed Church, Anaheim, California on the subject of Islam. He used two books as particular reference sources – his own book on Worldviews, A World of Difference and the book I am going to comment on.

The second book recommended by Ken Samples is ‘Islam: Religion, History, and Civilization’ by Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Nasr is a Muslim, not a Christian apologist.

I’m not really sure how far it’s possible to get concerning a review. But for now, any comments will be restricted to the Introduction (p, xi – xxv) and the first chapter ‘Islam and the Islamic World’ (p, 1 – 24). Nasr, the author, originates from Iran but now resides (AFAIK) in the US and is a distinguished Islamic scholar with a definite bias towards Sufism.

The Introduction – Comments

The very first thing that struck me was the seeming amount of angst because there are just so many negatives in the text. There is not one single reference to these negatives and I can only take it he means Christian apologists – or is that being overly sensitive. Presumably he’s reading these critics so is it too much to ask where his information is from! I began to underline and mark the negative words and phrases but there were so many of them that I had to stop underlining as it was getting silly. See what you think, but here’s a list of words from the first few pages and I think you’ll get my drift:

‘so-called experts’ ‘prejudices and ideological biases’ ‘distorted and tainted’ ‘errors and deviations’ (p xii) ‘perpetuated religious opposition to Islam’ ‘disdain’ ‘inferior’ ‘distorted’ ‘hubris’ (p. xiii) and one more ‘disdain’ over the page (xiv). There was much more of the same till about page xviii but by page xiv it was enough!

It’s not till nearly the end of The Introduction that we are told where he is coming from. So on p. xxiii we read ‘The present work …. is written from within the Islamic perspective and from the traditional point of view, from the perspective of the sacred and universal teachings of Islam as they were revealed and later transmitted over the ages.’

Another aspect is the amount of claims made. I’ll confess some of them may be true, but he really does over egg his case by claiming more for Islam than is reasonable (I realised later that he’s able to make these claims based on his understanding of perennial truth – more on this in another post). But he hasn’t claimed any objectivity (yet) so I guess it’s more very biased claims for Islam. One example is a philosophy of music. But Augustine had already written on this in a work entitled On Music, ‘De Musica’ in Latin. It caused me to wonder how many people reading Nasr would know this and uncritically accept his claims. It made me suspicious of his other claims, especially because there are so few footnotes (10 notes for the whole book – I’m one of those people who actually reads the footnotes) and a biased recommended reading list at the end of the book.

He claims to be writing from a Traditional Islamic perspective, but it’s not quite clear what this is. To be fair more may be made clearer as I move further through the book (he does in Ch 1). Also, to be fair, I am reading this book with my Christian Worldview glasses on. But I will try to be fair and give him as much as I can.

Chapter 1 – Comments

The reason why Nasr and indeed Islam are able to make some extraordinary claims is made clear when you understand how it sees itself. It considers Adam (the first man Adam) as the first prophet of Islam and from this perspective reckons itself to be older even than Judaism and Christianity. I thought it was quite a clever bit of misdirection that enabled around 1.4 Billion people to have swallowed this story hook, line and sinker. And that’s tragic!

It’s revealing when Nasr claims Islam makes more of Adam & Abraham than Christianity (p.5). It’s not clear where he gets his Christian references from but it is definitely not a view I recognise in Christianity at all! Adam is vital to an understanding of the work of Christ, of the fall, of special creation and many other Christian doctrines. It’s this sort of deliberate misrepresentation of the Christian faith that is so difficult to counter. People love to believe a lie – and Islam has them in bucket-loads! It’s also a reminder that we (Christians) do not use the weapons of this world;

2Co 10:3-5
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

 His traditional perspective covers – if I have understood correctly – the following several points that binds the Islamic community (Ummah). Here listed from p.8 without comment:

  • There is no god but God.
  • Muhammed is the messenger of God.
  • The Quran is the verbatim revelation of God.
  • The main rituals – prayers, fasting etc.
  • The grace (barakah) of the prophet and his deeds (Sunnah).
  • I should also add Jihad to this list – both spiritual and militaristic.

Concluding Thoughts

To conclude this brief review it must be said that despite the previous shortcomings the book is very readable and I’m enjoying reading it. It is revealing and instructive and I’m learning a lot about Islam which was the purpose of reading and one must also assume the aim of the author. One qualification however, is that I have no idea how Nasr is received in the Islamic world and is just one book probably among thousands. I think he has tried to fairly represent his own faith and from what I’ve read so far does a good job. Obviously as a Christian I have profound disagreements with Islam and I’ll try to cover some of these in other posts.

BBC ‘Life of Mohammed’ Observations Part 1

The first thing to say upfront is this review (more a set of observations) and this reviewer is biased. I cannot undo what I am. I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. It is impossible for me to be neutral. I can of course seek to be objective, but I can only see it through my eyes as it were – through my world-view glasses. What I can be, or aim to be, however, is fair. With these parameters in mind, let’s get to it. Just one other thing – I’m not an expert on Islam, I will not pretend to be one.

In terms of its production the program is well made and well presented. Rageh Omaar does a good job. He’s obviously biased but then we know that. That’s better than someone like Jeremy Bowen presenting who thinks he’s being objective. So far as I can tell the facts about Mohammed – those presented anyway – seem to be accurate. Mohammed was born in 570, orphaned at 6 (his father having died before his birth) and was apparently described at age 21 as the Truthful One. Though Mohammed was illiterate we should not get the idea he was unintelligent. He was clearly a powerful personality, very intelligent and extremely persuasive. In the year 610 he had the first of a series of spiritual encounters. He thinks he’s going mad but his wife seems to know better and assures him it’s real. How she knows this we are not told. So the whole system of Islam as it became known is because his wife told him it was true.

Omaar up front directly compares Mohammed to Jesus by saying Mohammed was just a man. Unlike Jesus he was not the Son of God, did no miracles and did not rise from the dead. One other very important detail that Rageh leaves out is that Jesus is sinless, Mohammed is not. The Mosques have no images of Allah or Mohammed unlike the Christian Churches. There was a controversy in the 4th Century concerning images (to break out again later) within the Churches over the use of images but by the time of Mohamed they were widely used so maybe this in some way influenced his views. I guess it would have been from his perspective quite a counter-cultural thing to do. And in my opinion he was right.

We were told there are extensive written sources in The Hadith and The Koran. Scholars had to sift through thousands of sayings to arrive at an authoritative Hadith text. One Islamic scholar tells us these memories are preserved through history. One external source is provided concerning Mohammed, writing ‘only’ 24 years after his death about Mohammed giving laws. So, there is we were told, a large body of detailed facts.

We were told very little about any Christian influences. There were many doctrines that by the time of Mohammed were settled orthodoxy – the person of Christ and the Trinity for example. This does not mean there were no errors and it seems Mohammed took as orthodox teaching on the person of Christ and the Trinity when they were actually nothing of the sort. For someone who claimed to have direct revelations from God (Allah) to know this seems to me a serious flaw. Didn’t Allah guide His prophet into all truth – clearly not.

Nowhere are we told whether Rageh Omaar or anyone else on the program or anyone else period supports Sharia Law. This is I think, very important. For this reason: There is no separation between Islam and the State. What we have been treated to is a very subtle charm offensive. The program will be hailed a BBC first and an un-qualified success. Iran might get a bit upset – but then they have to make the right noises. As an aside a Muslim I work with (a really nice guy) has only seen clips of it but ‘couldn’t trust the media’ anyway. He didn’t seem interested or felt it not worthwhile watching. He confessed his lack of knowledge about the history of his own faith. But then many Christians exhibit a similar lack of historical interest.

I love the way language is used to covertly undermine the Christian message. I mean it’s very simple really – there are only two options. Option 1, either Islam or Christianity is true, there can only be one. Or, option 2, neither of them is true. If it is option 2, we should all find something better to do with our lives. But if it’s option 1; we need to think about which one is true. That’s not being Islamophobic that’s being a seeker after truth.

There are quite a few things unsaid and unanswered – so far. Maybe they will come up later. We’ll come back to this. So far I have watched the first episode (of three). I’m just going to watch episode 2. I’ll maybe come back and edit this post.

Also see Part 2.

Qur’an burning: “an unnecessary, offensive and dangerous gesture”

The following was received today via email:

07 September 2010

Qur’an burning: “an unnecessary, offensive and dangerous gesture”

Barnabas Fund statement on the proposed burning of Qur’ans in Florida

A church in Gainsville, Florida, USA, the Dove World Outreach Centre, has announced that it will burn copies of the Qur’an on Saturday 11 September to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The stated purpose of this action is to raise awareness of the ideology and teaching of Islam and to warn against its dangers.

Barnabas Fund condemns the proposed action, for the following reasons:

  1. Barnabas Fund is fully committed to making known the aspects of Islam that result in injustice and oppression of non-Muslims, not least the persecution of Christians. But we believe that the biblical and Christ-like way to do this is by speaking the truth in the power of God’s love, and by extending that love to Muslim people even when they are hostile to us. In that context it can never be justified to destroy a book that Muslims regard as sacred, however firmly and profoundly we may disagree with its contents.
  2. The effect of the proposed action on Christians in Muslim-majority contexts is likely to be extremely serious. Already Muslim militants in Indonesia have promised to kill Indonesian Christians if Qur’ans are burned in Florida, and the history of anti-Christian violence in the country suggests that this is not an idle threat. Barnabas partners in Iraq have expressed concern at the probable Muslim backlash against an already beleaguered Iraqi Church. And Christians in numerous other places who live in daily fear of potentially deadly attacks will at once be placed in much greater danger. It cannot be right to exercise our freedom to protest in a way that puts at risk the lives of our brothers and sisters, for whom Christ died.
  3. There is a further risk that Christian minorities may be divided among themselves as churches with links to the West come to be unfairly associated with the action taken in Florida and its destructive consequences. It is important for Christians under pressure to be united, as their division serves only to weaken the Church and increase its vulnerability to Muslim attacks. It is therefore wholly inappropriate to undermine that unity for the sake of an unnecessary, offensive and dangerous gesture.

For these reasons Barnabas Fund urges the Dove World Outreach Centre and its supporters to refrain from burning Qur’ans on the anniversary of 9/11. It invites all Christians instead to join with us in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world, and that the hatred and violence that endanger them may be overcome by the grace and love of Christ.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo
International Director
Barnabas Fund
7 September 2010