ISIS and the Future of Islam – داعش وتأثيره على مستقبل الإسلام

KAICIID1

By Martin Accad

Would you believe it? It turns out that more than two dozen conferences and consultations have already been organized by international Islamic bodies in order to condemn the behavior of ISIS! And that was in the mere 12 months immediately following the emergence of the group in the summer of 2014.

بقلم مرتان عقّاد

  هل تعلم بأنّ مؤسّسات إسلاميّة دوليّة قد نظّمت عددًا كبيرًا من المؤتمرات والمنتديات في الأشهر التي تلت ظهور منظّمة ’الدولة الإسلاميّة‘ في صيف 2014، لتعلن عن رفضها لتصرّفات داعش؟ التتمّة تلي النص الإنجليزي

Even though their lists of conclusions and recommendations are extensively available on the internet, they have received very little, if any, coverage in the media.

I often still hear complaints that Muslim leaders are conspicuously silent about the atrocities committed by ISIS, that they are not doing enough to condemn them. In fact, this is a claim that is alleged against Muslims every time a Muslim commits a terrorist act, and I have become intrigued by it. I happen to have extensive relationships with Muslims, and I know very well that they disapprove of ISIS’ behavior. So I decided this time to investigate the question further.

One of the first gatherings in reaction to ISIS was organized, already on 19 November 2014, by the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), in Vienna, Austria. The resulting declaration is available online: ‘United against Violence in the Name of Religion.’ The conference brought together ‘high-level representatives of the major world religious (sic) and social institutions.’ It aimed at developing ‘programs and initiatives that contribute to strengthening the unity against violence in the name of religion’ and ‘to support religious and cultural diversity in Iraq and Syria.’

Another particularly interesting movement has been happening in Egypt, triggered by the push for change that President Abd el Fattah al-Sisi has been calling for. In February 2015, Egypt’s Ministry of Religious Endowments organized a conference entitled: ‘The Greatness of Islam and the Errors of Some of Its Adherents.’ The gathering addressed four main issues, which can be found (albeit in an awkward format) in 9 languages: (1) the politicization of religion as a reason for the chasm between the greatness of Islam and the behavior of some of its adherents; (2) the greatness of Islamic civilization, the greatness of its ethical values, and the greatness of its guidance in the treatment of the different others; (3) the identification of the intellectual and behavioral errors of those who falsely claim to belong to Islam; and (4) the need the rectify the image of Muslims by correcting erroneous behavior and developing tools to correct their image worldwide.

Many other conferences have been organized, in Beirut, in Iran (unsurprisingly, given that Shiites have been a consistent target of ISIS violence), as well as in Paris, Istanbul, Tajikistan, Iraq, Amman, etc… It is unfortunate that not more of the resulting statements exist in proper English for an international readership, and this may help explain why they have received so little attention in the media.

Since the summer of 2014, I have heard many affirm that ISIS was ‘finally revealing the true face of Islam.’ I believe it would be more accurate to affirm that ISIS has been transforming the face of Islam. Islam is too diverse to be ‘revealed’ in any single movement, region, or even period of history. But I firmly believe that, in the long run, ISIS will have done more to transform Islam than any of the late 19th or early 20th century reform movements. The positive transformation is not through direct action, but rather is emerging as a result of the reactions provoked by ISIS’ savage behavior.

The Muslim world is embarrassed. A striking common thread that one picks up in a number of these gatherings is the focus on the embarrassment that ISIS has caused for Islam and the Muslim world. This is expected in a world ruled by honor and shame. But it remains to be seen whether the reform impulse of the Muslim world will go deeper and beyond ‘saving face.’

Muslim organizations and governments are certainly launching serious initiatives to ensure that this happens. Even as I write these lines, I am attending another follow up consultation by KAICIID, bringing together deans of Muslim schools of Sharia and Christian seminaries. The aim is to create a network of religious schools in the Arab world in order to coordinate our efforts in forming religious leaders and preachers who will build a new foundation for moderate religious communities, ones that will work together on marginalizing extremist and violent religious discourses and behavior.

As the Muslim world goes through its latest birth pangs, what position should the Christian Church take? Should we look on in ‘priestly’ smugness and complacency? Should we pass by on the other side of the road, unmoved and cynical? Muslims lay beaten by the roadside. They have fallen into the hands of robbers. They have been stripped of their clothes and beaten up, left half dead. Could it be that, here too, Jesus calls us to be like the Good Samaritan? He showed compassion, bandaged wounds and poured on oil and wine; he took the beaten man to an inn and took care of him. Jesus says: ‘Go and do likewise!’ (Luke 10:30-37)

وبرغم توفُّر خلاصاتها وتوصياتها على شبكة الإنترنت، فإنّ الإعلام يكاد لا يذكرها أبدًا

ما زلنا نسمع العديد من الأصوات تدّعي بأنّ العالم الإسلامي لم يتّخذ موقفًا واضحًا وحاسمًا لإدانة داعش. وترتفع هذه الأصوات كلّما ارتكب أحدهم عملاً إرهابيًّا باسم الإسلام. وكوني أسمع الكثير من الإدانات من قِبَل أصدقائي المسلمين تجاه داعش، أردتُ أن أبحث أكثر في هذه المسألة الشائكة

من أوائل المؤتمرات التي نُظِّمت ردًّا على داعش كان اللقاء الذي جمع بين كبار قادة الأديان ومؤسّساتها برعاية مركز الملك عبد الله بن عبد العزيز الدولي لحوار الأديان والثقافات في مدينة فيينّا في النمسا. ونجد خلاصة أعمال المؤتمر وتوصياته باللغة الإنجليزيّة على الرابط التالي، تحت عنوان: ’متّحدون ضد العنف باسم الدين.‘ وهَدَفَ المؤتمر إلى تطوير ’البرامج والمبادرات التي تساهم في توطيد الوحدة ضد العنف باسم الدين،‘ كما تقول التوصيات، بهدف ’دعم التنوّع الديني والثقافي في العراق وسوريا،‘ كما تقول

وهناك حركة أخرى متصاعدة وملفتة في مصر، الناتجة عن الدعوة إلى التغيير التي أطلقها الرئيس عبد الفتاح السيسي. في شباط 2015، نظّمت وزارة الأوقاف في مصر مؤتمرًا بعنوان: ’عظمة الإسلام وأخطاء بعض المنتسبين إليه: طريق التصحيح.‘ وتداول اللقاء أربعة محاور أساسيّة، نجدها مترجمة إلى تسع لغات: (1) التوظيف السياسي للدين كسبب للانفصال بين عظمة الإسلام وسلوكيّات المسلمين؛ (2) عظمة الحضارة الإسلاميّة، عظمة قِيَمه الأخلاقيّة، وعظمة الإسلام في تعامله مع الآخَر المختلف؛ (3) تحديد أخطاء المدّعين بالانتماء إلى الإسلام على المستويَيْن الفكري والسلوكي؛ (4) ضرورة تصحيح صورة المسلمين من خلال تصحيح السلوك الخاطئة وتطوير الآليّات التي تساعد على تصحيح صورتهم لدى المجتمعات العالميّة

وقد نظّمت هيئات أخرى عددًا من المؤتمرات في بيروت وإيران (نظرًا لاستهداف داعش المعتمد بشكل كبير للشيعة في سوريا والعراق)، كما في باريس واسطمبول وتاجكستان والعراق وعمّان، وغيرها من البلاد. والمؤسف هو العدد المحدود للترجمات الدقيقة للتوصيات الناتجة عن هذه المؤتمرات لمصلحة القارئ غير العربي، ممّا يساهم في عدم تغطية هذه الأعمال في الصحافة الدولية

منذ نشوء داعش في صيف 2014، لقد سمعتُ الكثير يقول بأنّ هذه الحركة ’فضحت أخيرًا وجه الإسلام الحقيقي.‘ ويبدو لي بأنّ الأدقّ أن نقول بأنّ داعش أطلق بتصرّفاته حركة تغيير سوف تحوّل وجه الإسلام بشكل جذري في السنوات القادمة. إنّ التنوّع الكامن في الإسلام يحول دون إمكانيّة ’فضح‘ الإسلام من خلال حركة إسلاميّة فرديّة، أو من خلال ما نجده من تعبير عن الإسلام في مساحة جغرافيّة محدّدة، أو حتّى من خلال حقبة تاريخيّة معيّنة. فأنا أؤمن بأنّ داعش، على المدى البعيد، سوف يُدخِل على الإسلام تغييرات جذريّة، أكثر ممّا استطاعت أن تنجزه جميع حركات الإصلاح في أواخر القرن التاسع عشر ومطلع القرن العشرين. وهذه التغييرات، التي أراها إيجابيّة، ناتجة لا عن مبادرات مباشرة بالدرجة الأولى، بل عن ردود الفعل التي نشاهدها في هذه الأيّام عبر العالم الإسلامي ضد تصرّفات داعش الوحشيّة

إنّ العالم الإسلامي مرتبك ومُحرَج. فمن الأمور الملفتة التي نلاحظها في هذه اللقاءات، والمشترَك بينها، هو الإحراج الواضح الذي يسبّبه داعش على الإسلام والعالم الإسلامي. وربّما ذلك طبيعيّ في عالم يحكمه الشرف والعار. وما ننتظر أن نراه الآن هو إلى أي مدى ردّة الفعل الإصلاحيّة هذه سوف تذهب أبعد وأعمق من محاولة “حفظ ماء الوجه،” لتصل إلى التغيير الحقيقي الناتج عن الاعتراف بالأزمة الوجوديّة الحقيقيّة

ويبدو لي واضحًا بأن عددًا من المؤسّسات والحكومات في العالم الإسلامي قد أطلقت مبادرات جديّة لتفعيل هذا التغيير الجذري. فأنا أكتب هذه الأسطر خلال وجودي في مدينة فيينّا بضيافة مؤسّسة الملك عبد الله بن عبد العزيز للحوار، لحضور مؤتمر استشاري يجمع بين مسؤولي كليّات الشريعة واللاهوت الإسلاميّة والمسيحيّة. ويهدف المؤتمر إلى تأسيس شبكة من المؤسسات الدينيّة  التعليميّة في العالم العربي تنسّق جهودها في تشكيل القادة الدينيّين والوعّاظ والخطّاب المستقبليّين. فيعمل هؤلاء على التأسيس لمجتمعات معتدلة في تديّنها، تعدّل في الخطاب الديني المتطرّف وتهمّش التصرّف العنيف باسم الدين

فبينما يعيش العالم الإسلامي مخاضه الأخير، ما هو الموقف الذي يجب أن تتّخذه الكنيسة؟ هل نقف مشاهدين فقط، موقف الكاهن الراضي على نفسه والمعجب بتفوّقه الأخلاقي؟ أو هل نعبر إلى الجانب الآخر من الطريق، بسخرية ولا مبالاة؟ فالإسلام اليوم يعيش هجومًا شرسًا من الداخل. لقد وقع المسلمون بأيدي لصوص. فانتزعوا منهم ثيابهم وجرّحوهم، ثمّ مضوا وقد تركوهم بين أحياء وأموات. فهل يعقل أن هنا أيضًا يدعونا المسيح إلى أن نكون مثل السامريّ الصالح؟ فالسامريّ أشفق على الجريح المطروح على الطريق، ’فتقدّم إليه وربط جراحه بعدما صبّ عليها زيتًا وخمرًا. ثمّ أرْكَبَه على دابّته وأوصله إلى الفندق واعتنى به.‘ فيقول المسيح: ’اذهب، واعمل أنت هكذا!‘ – المقطع الأخير من وحي إنجيل لوقا 10: 30-37

22 thoughts on “ISIS and the Future of Islam – داعش وتأثيره على مستقبل الإسلام

  1. Martin, well said. I share your hope that the terrible deeds of ISIS can help us all examine our motives and reveal the empty promises of violent ideologies. And amen to your call to be partners in peace rather than sanctimonious onlookers!

  2. What is “truth”? Sooner or later we will all have to deal with Mr Darwin on nature and Mr. Freud on human nature.
    In the mean time, thank you Martin and Mel for your kind and well articulated left and right observations.

  3. Dear Ayman, thanks for taking the time to reaffirm Mel’s concerns.
    I think my premise about religions seems to differ from yours, and that is perhaps why we argue differently about the past and future of Islam.
    My fundamental premise is that religions are not static. They change and adapt continuously to emerging challenges. I do not disagree with your reading of Islam’s founding texts, or about the influence of its founding figures. But I see these influential forces as very dynamic and subject to constant reinterpretation. Christianity has gone through massive transformation as a result of socio-cultural changes during the enlightenment period. If it were not so, you and I as Evangelical Protestants would not even be here to talk!
    I look at the current socio-cultural and geo-political realities, both in the MENA region and globally, applying unprecedented pressure on Islam, and see Islam going through a process of unprecedented transformation as we speak. Of course this will always be subject to interpretation and will depend on your reading of current affairs, and in a sense only time will tell the outcome. So I welcome your alternative perspective and consider voices like yours as additional sources of pressure that will contribute to Islam’s transformation – for the better or for the worse…
    As far as I’m concerned, I consider myself on a common journey with Muslims whose culture I share and want to experience this transformation in dialogue with them. I am interested in seeing what a murderous group like ISIS will achieve in terms of forcing transformation within global Islamic expressions – out of extreme religious manifestations – simply in reaction to it within the Muslim world. That is the gist of my post.

  4. Seems you are doing great with all your esteemed trials to expose the ISIS terrorism and find a way to reunite with our Muslim brothers trying to face this flood of ugliness and barbarity. May I ask if you think about hosting some of the displaced people in one of your conferences to talk about their horrible experience, those people are will be a source of strong support to your issue, also you can support them in a way or another. My point of view is to merge your efforts with a kind of emotional support to those harmed people. Condemning the ISIS behavior is not new to us, most of the people in this universe condemn their brutality, but to support the humiliated people in a way or another is highly needed. May the Lord bless all you efforts and be a true light for those who are living in the darkness.

    • Thank you Manal. Yes, our Institute tries to have a multi-pronged approach. We organize academic conferences and consultations, but also practical ones, including opportunities to hear from those who are suffering directly. I continue to push for the establishment of multi-faith platform of various kinds, for the purpose of research and advocacy.
      Imagine, for example, an advocacy platform, made up of both Christians and Muslims, who work together to defend the rights of Christians (and others) who are being persecuted because of their faith. Much more powerful than any individual community advocating for its own persecuted by simply pointing the finger at the ‘other’ as an entire group…

  5. Seems you are doing great with all your esteemed trials to expose the ISIS terrorism and find a way to reunite with our Muslim brothers trying to face this flood of ugliness and barbarity. May I ask if you think about hosting some of the displaced people in one of your conferences to talk about their horrible experience, those people are will be a source of strong support to your issue, also you can support them in a way or another. My point of view is to merge your efforts with a kind of emotional support to those harmed people. Condemning the ISIS behavior is not new to us, most of the people in this universe condemn their brutality, but to support the humiliated people in a way or another is highly needed. May the Lord bless all you efforts and be a true light for those who are living in the darkness.

  6. Martin. Is culture not informed by theology, especially in a society which teaches that there is no “separation of church and state”, and no division between religion and politics? You may be right that there are “scholars” who consider apostasy laws to be “passé”. But in reality, the trend in the public square in Islamic nations is going in the other direction. The OIC is aggressively pushing to have blasphemy laws (albeit in a disguised form) adopted at the United Nations. Innocent Christian women like Asia Bibi continue to languish in prison in “friendly” Islamic countries like Pakistan on trumped up blasphemy charges waiting for her death sentence to be carried out. And I know many Christian converts from Islam who are in hiding now, even in countries that were once far more open to religious freedom.

    • Thank you, Mel, for helping to “keep it real”. Every issue is very complex and has more than one dimension, allowing more than one way of looking at it. Believe me, given that I work at a Seminary with students from 10 Arab nations from the edges of North West Africa to the Southern tip of the Yemen, I am constantly in conversation with individuals who have experienced great opposition and oppression as a result of their faith in Jesus. Many continue to be the victim of great injustice simply as a result of their legal or marital status. It is always hard to offer conclusive evidence about the definite direction of trends. I personally believe that Islam globally is in a process of moving beyond some of its historical practices that would not align with contemporary human rights requirements. It is a slow process, but I believe it is happening. The fact that, as you say, you cannot separate religion from politics (by the way, I believe that does not only apply to Islam but all religions, which are by definition dynamic), means that there is a mutually-transforming relationship between culture, society, and religion. A fundamental reason why the apostasy law has been so resistant to change in Islam, I believe, is more cultural than theological. Diversity and innovation is not a “good” thing in traditional, strongly-communal, societies. You find similar attitudes within Eastern Christianity towards converts to Islam. Though by far not as predominant, I know a number of converts to Islam that have suffered quite a bit of rejection from their families, and at least one who has been in hiding for years for fear of being killed…

  7. The problem with many of these conferences and “peaceful” initiatives is that they are almost entirely focused on simply repairing the bad image of Islam that ISIS has created and removing the obstacle that this image is posing for the advancement of Islam around the world. They are not focused on repairing the theological or ideological factors inherent within Islamic teaching which lead to the creation of groups like ISIS and other terrorist organizations.

    And where is the compassion for the victims of these radical Islamic groups which are creating suffering for innocent people in lands all around the world? Islam has far more than merely an image problem! For sure, Christians need to work together with all true peacemakers and seek to prevent injustice and conflict wherever we can. But until Islamic leaders address the deep rooted, fundamental, and serious injustices inherent in Islamic theology and practice, and until they make a serious attempt to demonstrate compassion and help for Islam’s victims, Christians should be very wary of the true aims and objectives of these groups. Our task is to deliver people from the bondage of sin and false beliefs through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not about running shot gun for the Dawa Express.

    • Mel, you bring up some good points, but also lots of assumptions. I agree that “saving face” appears to be a strong motive (as I point out in my article). But we must read that in the context of the honor/shame framework, which is in itself neutral not bad. Once we go beyond that initial motive, we find that there is a real and very extensive effort to identify and address the roots of religious extremism. The other remarkable thing is that Muslim organizations have been inviting Christian organizations and leaders to their gatherings, and they acknowledge very openly the harm that ISIS has been causing Christian communities.
      I really encourage you to look at some of these conferences and their published outcomes. You’ll be surprised by some of the pragmatic proposals being put forward.

      • Martin. I agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with saving face. And we should be doing all we can to promote peace, including attending any invitations to attend such conferences. And there is no question that we are to love all people, including Muslims, and do all that we can to help them in practical ways, even if they consider us enemies.

        But Christ commands us to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves”. The harm that radical Islam has been carrying out predates ISIS…by about 1400 years.

        But I would be very interested in knowing more about the specific outcomes of these conferences. Are any of them calling for an end to apostasy laws (especially those that include the death penalty)? Or Blasphemy laws? the freedom of non Islamic groups to openly proclaim their faith in public? An end to violent jihad as a means to expand the Dar al Salaam? the right for a non Muslim man to marry a Muslim woman? An end to the legal (under Shari’a Law) subjugation and inferior status of women and non Muslims? An end to beheadings, stonings and crucifixions as forms of legal punishments? I would very much like to be pleasantly surprised.

      • Mel, I see that we agree on many foundational things. Notably the distinctions within Islam. There have indeed been Muslim extremists and jihadis throughout history, but at least at this point I really see them as being a minority. Here are a few more thoughts that come to mind in response to your post:
        * in my experience very few Muslims I know would consider Christians their enemies. Sadly, I more often encounter Christians who consider Muslims to be their enemies than I do the other way around.
        * extremists have indeed harmed Christians through history, but if you look at it with objectivity you’ll find that seasons of mass persecution were limited. Unfortunately they were sufficient to all but wipe out Christianity from the Middle East. It is enough to look at the way that Christians in Iraq have dwindled from nearly 2 millions down to about 200,000 over a period of the last ten years to realize that it takes neither a long time nor a large number of violent men to cause such irreparable damage.
        * most of the Muslims I know (and many are top religious scholars) would consider apostasy law as passé and treat it more as a socio-political issue than as a religious or theological one. I am not saying they would openly make a statement like this, but I believe this will change, and at the moment the main obstacle is culture not theology. It has to do with community cohesion.
        * the only issue which I find still very hard to make progress on is the marriage of a non-Muslim man to a Muslim woman. There I see very little progress, but that’s mainly because it has to do with child raising, custody and inheritance. And it’s very hard to make progress on such things in a traditional culture. It does not justify it, but it means we need to double the efforts on dialogue and conversations on such issues.
        [I had actually written a more complete response but I lost it due to a bad internet connection…]
        Sincerely…

      • Dear Martin,

        Thanks for this post, and for your kind Christian attitude.

        I think Mel Middleton makes important points and asks very relevant questions.

        Concerning your statement “Sadly, I more often encounter Christians who consider Muslims to be their enemies . . ,” I cannot question your experience, but mine is quite different. I almost never met a Christian who explicitly states or considers that Muslims are his/her enemy. The problem is with “Islam,” not Muslims. The issue centers on Islamic ideologies and the sacred Muslims texts that undeniably identify Christians (among others) as enemies and infidels to be fought. These texts are the fuel for every radical interpretation of Islam.

        I am not sure about the reason for bringing up the issue of “mass persecution” here in response to harming Christians throughout history. The question, as far as I could discern, is not about mass or individual. It is about the systematic and explicit use of violence against non-Muslims, exceptionally justified by the sacred text and the testimony of the so-called Companions and historical figures. (Let alone how we would define the term “mass,” and its measure.)

        I humbly question most of the abovementioned attempts by Muslims to condemn ISIS. While I did not read ALL the outcomes of ALL these attempts, I find that, for the most part, the responses and condemnations focus primarily on the ugly radical acts, rather than the ideology. Consider the horrific response to ISIS offered by the prestigious al-Azhar, Egypt. You even hint to that when you use “behavior” instead of anything else: “in order to condemn the behavior of ISIS!”

        Without a doubt, every wise living soul has to condemn ISIS’ brutal and inhumane behavior. There is no doubt about that (although I still find some Muslims who affirm these deeds). But what about the ideology that drives these deeds? I find fewer number of people who are brave enough to condemn what drives or justifies the radical deeds. Even the most attractive initiative taken by some 120 Islamic “Sunni” scholars in the US to condemn ISIS was far from helpful, as it suffered greatly from ambiguous statements and loose definitions, as many Arab speakers have noted. You know I wrote about it and I commended it, but still they did not, in my humble opinion, touch the core/heart of the matter.

        I also question the attempts of many non-Muslim scholars (especially evangelicals) who insist that what radical Islamic groups do has nothing to do with their religious texts and that we cannot draw a direct connecting line between texts and deeds (even though all these militant groups keep insisting on such a connection). I do not see what this means, especially with our understanding of the importance of the “precedent” in Islamic thought.

        I am not sure how I would respond to a statement such as: “extremists have indeed harmed Christians through history, but if you look at it with objectivity you’ll find that seasons of mass persecution were limited.” I am not sure how to look at this “objectively,” as when we just begin with Muhammad’s Biography and his history of wars, treatment of Jews, as well as the early “Islamic” history, the matter will be mostly settled in seconds. This is of course unless we adopt a politically-correct discourse as secular postmodern critics.

        I admire your hopes regarding a reformed Islamic ideology especially in social matters like marriage and apostasy and such, but I do not see how the Muslim umma will manage to achieve so with 1) the existence of extensive amount of religious (juristic) and ‘historical’ accounts that oppose such a reform, and 2) the discourse set forth by prominent institutions like al-Azhar and the Saudi Wahabi institutions that act in complete disharmony with “International” contemporary attempts to portray an Islamic image that appeals to the requirements of today’s global West.

        Ayman Samir Ibrahim

  8. Reblogged this on Persona and commented:
    My friend Martin Accad writes again about ISIS and the future of Islam (I have heard him speak live about it last week in Austria). We should better listen. But will we, Christians, do it, in the present Islamophobic atmosphere, promoted by people who have no understanding of the gospel of the Prince of peace?

    • I would agree with you that is always important to listen.

      But I’m surprised that you would use the term “Islamophobia”– clearly a pejorative term — when referring to someone who perhaps doesn’t share your opinion. “Islamaphobia” has been referred to (reportedly by Andrew Cummins) as:

      “a word created by fascists, used by cowards, to manipulate morons”.

      A “phobia” is an irrational fear. And it applies to those who are afraid of things which should not normally induce debilitating fear. But not all fear is irrational. And there is much within Islam which should inspire a healthy fear. I can provide many examples if you would like. The “prophet” Mohammad himself was quoted as saying: “… I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.” (Bukhari 2:52.220)

      Those who are warning about the dangers of radical Islam (especially the most recent apocalyptic manifestations of it) are not being irrational. They are simply awake.

      As Christians, of course, we are not to be governed by any fear, even when our own lives are at risk. But love — for both our enemies and the victims of our enemies — should compel us to speak out on behalf of those who are suffering most and do what we can to prevent it and protect the innocent.

  9. Martin, I am so grateful to you for sharing facts we need to hear and then help us so wisely to think about and use the information. With your permission I would like to use pieces of this and a previous blog on my own website one day soon.

  10. Dear Martin
    It is timely summary about very encouraging developments. We must hear these kinds of news often more openly. So you have done beautiful work. Yes, Christians should join this effort sincerely. With real appreciation.

  11. I have met many wonderful Muslim women through TBIS They have suffered unimaginable tragedies through radicalized Islam. Get to know a Muslim as a person and not a label. You will be surprised! There are many Christians who live their lives with hate I don t want to be identified as a Christian with them and the same is true of many Muslims who are constantly told in the media that they are all the same

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