Hell on Earth, Courtesy of ISIS


ISIS has shown once again the depth of their depravity through the horrific means they invent to execute those convicted in their Shari’a courts of capital offenses. One of the latest travesties occurred in Mosul where six men were convicted of spying for the enemy, and thus condemned to death. The means of their execution? They were lowered into vats of boiling tar.boiled in oil

It’s hard to believe that human beings would sit around thinking up such reprehensible means of torture ending in death. Certainly practices like this are what lead many Muslims and non-Muslims to conclude that such barbarity has nothing to do with Islam. But radical Muslim groups like ISIS believe Allah calls them to dramatic and gruesome punishments of lawbreakers as a means of striking fear into the hearts of Muslims and non-Muslims alike so as to ensure their obedience to Allah. So in the Qur’an (8:60), Allah commands them:

Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know.

Even more stunning, ISIS can argue (correctly) that this particular form of punishment came not from their own ingenuity but from the Qur’an itself. In Sura Abraham (14:48-52) we read:

The day will come when this earth will be substituted with a new earth, and also the heavens, and everyone will be brought before Allah, the One, the Supreme. And you will see the guilty on that day chained in shackles. Their garments will be made of tar, and fire will overwhelm their faces. For Allah will pay each soul for whatever it earned; Allah is the most efficient reckoner. This is a proclamation for the people, to be warned herewith, and to let them know that He is only one god, and for those who possess intelligence to take heed.

If the god of Islam is pleased to use such torture in hell for those who have committed evil by rejecting him and his law, then why should his most-committed agents on earth not find pleasure in using the same means of torture against those who have been convicted in Shari’a law court of treachery against Allah and his caliphate?

It may be objected that according to one Hadith tradition (Bukhari:Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57), the Arabian prophet forbade the use of fire as a means of execution, since that method belongs to Allah alone (i.e., Hell is the abode of fire), and so ISIS is guilty of wrongdoing, from the perspective of orthodox Islam. That may be true. Here’s the tradition in question:

Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to ‘Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn ‘Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, ‘Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).’ I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'” Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to ‘`Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn ‘Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, ‘Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).’ I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'”

My point in all this has nothing to do with whether ISIS can justify its means of punishment on Islamic legal grounds. Rather, I want readers to understand that in this and many other cases, the barbarity of ISIS lies not in their own native depravity but in their imitation of the example of their god as found in their “revealed, inerrant scripture.” If this is the kind of punishment Allah promises he will mete out toward such sinners in eternity, then why not utilize a human version of it now? ISIS is not trying to outdo Allah in striking terror into the hearts of sinners, merely to keep up with him.

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Why the Chronic Imbalance?


I try not to seethe over injustices that I can do nothing to correct, but sometimes I have to vent and pray.

Two days ago, the U.S. State Department released its Syrian refugee resettlement figures, showing that our administration is on target to reach the 10,000 resettled refugees target set by President Obama for this fiscal year, ending October 1, 2016. (Even this target, for which the President has taken some flak for its being too high, is a mere drop in the proverbial bucket — some 5 million Syrians are now counted as refugees by the UN.)refugees So far, 7551 Syrians have been admitted to our shores since October 2015. Well and good. Of those, 7432 (98.4%) are Sunni Muslims, even though before hostilities in Syria broke out they comprised about 74% of the population and faced little to no persecution. Christians comprised about 10% of the population, but have been perhaps the most fiercely persecuted religious groups since the brutality began. How many Syrian Christian refugees has our administration welcomed into this country during fiscal year 2016 so far? 35. That’s less than one half of one percent of the total number of Syrian refugees settled (.46% to be exact)! Of the remaining 84 that we have welcomed in 2016:

50 are Muslims (other)

20 are Muslims (Shia)

10 are Yazidis

3 are “other religions” (undisclosed)

1 is “no religion.”

The last three months (May through July) have seen the bulk of Syrian refugees admitted in FY2016 – it seems in order to reach Mr. Obama’s target, the State Department has cut down the normal 18-24 month vetting period to only 3 months, while still reassuring us that their screening process is relatively foolproof. out of EgyptOf the total 7551 Syrian refugees to have entered the USA so far this year, 5815 were admitted from May through July. Of these:

0 are Yazidis

1 is “no religion”

2 are “other religions”

3 are Shiite Muslims

25 are Christians

27 are Muslims, other

5,757 are Sunni Muslims.

I wrote about this obvious imbalance when May’s figures were released (see here). Since then it has only gotten worse. If the present administration is really interested in accelerating the process of resettling Syrian refugees who will be no threat to the security of this country, the fastest way would be to focus on the two groups which are most heavily persecuted, who just incidentally also happen to be non-Muslim, and hence not susceptible to jihadi indoctrination – the Yazidis and the Christians. For a more detailed rationale behind this suggestion, please read my earlier post.

In the meantime, if you are moved by this injustice, join me in praying to the God who rescued first His people (Hosea 11:1) and then His Son (Matthew 2:15) out of refugee status (“Out of Egypt I called my Son.” flightoftheholyfamilyEven if our federal government remains deaf to cries for justice, the God of all righteousness will vindicate His people.

 

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Breaking the Spell


Western religious leaders as well as liberal politicians and “westernized Muslim spokespersons” continue to trot out the fabrication that Islam is “a religion of peace” and that violence and terrorism have nothing to do with the real religion. I don’t doubt some actually believe the words coming out of their mouths, but others (especially the Muslim leaders) should be ashamed of their deceptions.

President Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry are all on record spouting this talking point, as are more minor Democratic luminaries such as Howard Dean who last month declared that there is nothing Islamic about Iran and that its religious leaders (who stand at the pinnacle of Shiite Islam) are nothing but thugs and murderers, not true Muslims. His measurement for this determination? “I don’t know Muslims who behave like that who I respect.” To be fair, some Republicans have also drunk the politically correct Kool Aid. Immediately after 9/11 George W. Bush and other GOP leaders rushed to declare that Islam itself was a religion of peace, and that the USA was not and would not be at war with Islam proper.

Most recently (July 31), Pope Francis broke papal tradition (which long recognized the antipathy of Islam toward Catholicism, not to mention the rest of the Christian world) by declaring that “…it can’t be said, it’s not true, and it’s not fair, that Islam is terrorist.” francisA few days earlier, on the papal plane to Krakow he shared the basis for this belief. There is a worldwide war, he acknowledged. “…it’s a real war, not a religious war.” Evidentially it is an a priori truth that no religion engages in war against others. Instead, the cause of this globe-spanning turmoil is really economic inequality and the quest for secular power. In the Pope’s own words,

“It’s a war of interests, a war for money. A war for natural resources and for the dominion of the peoples. Some might say it’s a religious war. Every religion wants peace. The war is wanted by the others. Understood?”

So there it is, in all its stark simplicity — Islam is a religion of peace, because every religion wants peace. End of discussion. Those who claim to be Muslim and are engaged in terrorism are simply abusing religion as a pretext for their real gripes: poverty, powerlessness, social inequality….It can’t be due to their religious beliefs rooted in the Qur’an and Sunnah (the divinely sanctioned traditions concerning Muhammad’s teachings and behaviors). Again, from Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), para. 253:

“Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations [sic], for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” (italics mine).

But, not so fast, say the leaders of ISIS. You Western politicians, apostate Muslims (moderate Muslim leaders in the West) and Christian leaders have misunderstood us, and we want to set the record straight.

So, a few days ago, ISIS released its fifteenth issue of Dabiq, its glossy, monthly propaganda magazine. I’ve just finished carefully reading its 82 pages. Entitled Break the Cross, the purpose of this issue is to deny that the motivations of ISIS (and all “true Muslims,” in its estimation) are economic, social, or political in origin. In fact, they are completely Dabiq-Magazinereligious, based on the Qur’an and Sunnah (the very thing Western leaders vehemently deny). The title, Break the Cross, is based on a widely accepted Hadith tradition declaring that when the Islamic version of Jesus returns, he will disavow Christianity with its cardinal doctrines of crucifixion, atonement and resurrection, and in demonstration of this rejection of Christianity he will break all crosses around the world:

“When the Messiah, Jesus Son of Mary, returns in the end days to battle the Antichrist – the false Messiah – and his army, of the myths he will debunk once and for all are those of his crucifixion and divinity. This will be when he breaks the cross, as was foretold by the Prophet Muhammad, who said, ‘By the One in whose Hand is my soul, very soon shall the Son of Mary descend in your midst, being an equitable judge. He shall break the cross, kill the swine, and put aside the jizyah. Wealth shall flow until no one accepts it, and until a single prostration will be more beloved than the world and all that it contains’  (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).” — Dabiq, pp. 48-49.

Just to be clear, “jizyah” is the punitive tax which the Caliphate allows subjugated Christians and Jews (known as dhimmis) to pay to avoid being killed, living instead as third class subjects under Shari’a law. The triumphant Islamic Jesus will “put aside the jizyah” not out of compassion for these religious minorities, but because he will not suffer any religious minorities to exist any longer. Under his rule, Jews and Christians must convert to Islam or be put to death. The category of dhimmitude will be abolished. Ironically, in Islam it will be Jesus who executes Christians unwilling to recant their Christian faith!

Dabiq-Why-We-Hate-YouIn an article entitled, Why We Hate You and Why We Fight You, ISIS lists six reasons demonstrating the religious basis behind its violence toward the non-Muslim world:

  • “We hate you because you are disbelievers.” Quoting Sura 60:4, which purports to be Abraham speaking against his idolatrous father and tribe [“We are clear of you and of whatever ye worship besides Allah: we have rejected you and there has arisen between us and you enmity and hatred forever unless ye believe in Allah and Him alone”], they believe they are following the righteous example of the patriarch. Likewise, they quote 2:193, which reads, “And fight them until there is no fitnah
    [paganism] and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah.” In other words, Islamic war against infidels must continue until the only religion on the face of the earth is Islam.
  • “We hate you because your secular, liberal societies permit the very things that Allah has prohibited while banning many of the things He has permitted.” This complaint has to do principally with Western democracy, which ISIS sees as idolatry — the human attempt to displace Allah and his Shari’a with man-made legal systems, which inevitably deviate from Allah’s perfect will. “Legislation is not but for Allah” (12:40).
  • “We hate you and wage war against you because you disbelieve in the existence of your Lord and Creator.” Unlike complaint #1, which is directed at believers in the false Trinitarian religion of Christianity (America is seen by and large as a “Christian nation” by the followers of Islam), this diatribe is directed against secularists and professing atheists. Two Qur’anic passages are cited in support of this hatred: 52:35 and 64:7).
  • “We hate you for your crimes against the Muslims.” ISIS sees its cause as ending the murder of Muslims by Western forces, stopping the oppression and torture of Muslims by the “puppet” rulers in “usurped Muslim lands,” and taking revenge on the non-Muslim powers for all the suffering of “countless Muslims” at the hands of the infidels.
  • “We hate you for invading our lands and fight you to repel you and drive you out.” The Islamic doctrine of the Kingdom of Allah does not allow for land once conquered to be surrendered to unbelievers ever again (known in Arabic as waqf). Should that happen (as it has in the case of Iberia, the Balkans, Ethiopia, India, Turkistan, Israel…), it is the responsibility of every able-bodied Muslim to engage in jihad to win those lands back. Likewise, when any Muslim land is invaded by infidels, every Muslim is responsible to rush to the defense of the imperiled territory.

The article is quick to correct any potential misunderstanding that ISIS has arisen simply or primarily due to US and European foreign policies:

“…although some might argue that your foreign policies are the extent of what drives our hatred, this particular reason for hating you is secondary, hence the reason we addressed it at the end of the above list. The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam. Even if you were to pay jizyah and live under the authority of Islam in humiliation, we would continue to hate you. No doubt, we would stop fighting you then as we would stop fighting any disbelievers who enter into a covenant with us, but we would not stop hating you.”

This hateful perspective blossoms directly out of the pages of the Qur’an. Sura 9:153, for example, says: “O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).”

Yet, ISIS sees one potentially  positive result for the objects of their hatred and terrorism:

  • “…we fight you, not simply to punish and deter you, but to bring you true freedom in this life and salvation in the Hereafter.” Though many will be tortured, maimed, raped, crucified, terrified, and even killed, perhaps such evils mandated by Allah will result in infidels coming to their senses either out of fear or out of admiration for the cold, iron will of the soldiers of Allah who do Allah’s bidding no matter how inhuman it may be. This is the meaning behind a statement found on p. 28 of this issue of Dabiq:
    • “Do not be taken in by claims that the “real jihad” is giving da’wah – rather, the real da’wah is waging jihad! Most of the world is very aware of Islam’s existence and even its tenets, and the time for showing them that actions speak louder than words is ever so present. The blood of the disbelievers is obligatory to spill by default. The command is clear. Kill the disbelievers, as Allah said, “Then kill the polytheists wherever you find them” (At-Tawbah 5).”

Da’wah means literally “invitation,” and would be roughly equivalent to the Christian practice of inviting sinners to come to Christ. In Islam the invitation is to submit to Allah and his prophet. Westernized Muslim leaders may say that “real jihad” is simply inviting non-Muslims to come to Islam. But ISIS is saying the real invitation to non-Muslims only hits home after they become victims of militant jihad!

One last comment. This issue of Dabiq mentions people like me in an almost complimentary way when contrasted with the Pope, liberal politicians, academes and pacifist Muslims! Here’s their statement on p. 31:

“There are exceptions among the disbelievers, no doubt, people who will unabashedly declare that jihad and the laws of the Shari’ah – as well as everything else deemed taboo by the Islam-is-a-peaceful-religion crowd – are in fact completely Islamic, but they tend to be people with far less credibility who are painted as a social fringe, so their voices are dismissed and a large segment of the ignorant masses continues believing the false narrative.”

May the true Lord bring all such sentinels of truth out of the woodwork and imbue them with the credibility needed to keep them from being dismissed to the fringes of society, so that we may break the spell of the false narrative, the already-clanging alarm bells may be heeded, our civilization’s freedoms protected, and the gospel given full right to compete for minds and hearts in the public square of ideas, peacefully and reasonably.

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The Proud Rose That Rejects Its Roots


Inspired by a sermon from Dr. Tim McConnell of First Presbyterian Church, Colorado Springs, yesterday, I’ve been thinking of applications to present-day issues we are facing here in the USA.

The text Tim preached on was Luke 8:40-56, and involves two encounters with Jesus, one nested inside the other. Jairus, a synagogue president, approaches Jesus in the midst of a large crowd and falls to his knees begging for help. JairusHis twelve-year old daughter is near death, and he is helpless to save her, even with all his prestige, power and influence. He asks Jesus to come to his home and rescue her. Jesus agrees to go. While on the way, a poor woman who had been suffering for twelve years with constant uterine bleeding sneaks up behind Jesus, believing that somehow if she can in anonymity just touch the fringe of his garment, she will be healed. She does, and is. But Jesus senses that power has gone out from him to heal someone, and he stops to find out whom. Finally, when it is clear that Jesus won’t budge until the healed person comes forward, the woman confesses her actions and subsequent healing. Jesus speaks tenderly to her, and confirms her wholeness, not just physically, but emotionally and socially. woman-with-an-issue-bloodNo longer does she have to live as a shameful outcast, unable to touch others for fear of ritually contaminating them. No longer is she walled off from the community, nor impoverished by using up resources to treat her chronic condition.

While all this is going on, Jairus has been waiting, no doubt with fear and impatience watching the proverbial clock tick. Then the scene he has dreaded takes place. An envoy from his home appears with the heartbreaking news: “Don’t bother Jesus any longer. Your daughter has died.” But Jesus speaks into Jairus’ looming despair and pulls him back from darkness, “Don’t be afraid; trust me; your daughter will be well.” Bringing Jairus and his wife, and Peter, James and John into the room of the beloved daughter, Jesus takes her by the hand and raises her back to life.jairus-daughter

So much could be said about these encounters, but one point Tim brought out that has stirred my thinking is that though both Jairus and the woman with the flow of blood came from very different positions in life, they both were desperately needy human beings, and Jesus meets them at their point of need. Jairus was well-to-do, highly respected, powerful in his local community, privileged. The woman on the other hand was poor (having spent all her resources on medical help, to no avail), isolated from contact with others, ashamed of her status before God. Yet Jesus treats them both with compassion and dignity. Why? And how does he find the love to minister equally graciously to both these individuals at opposite ends of the social spectrum?

These are critical questions to answer, for our society today is being rocked with racial animus, hatred toward “the privileged one percenters” and the police, divisions between left and right, closed borders or open ones, patriotic Muslims versus Islamic terrorists. In the midst of all our divisions we are finding it increasingly difficult to treat each other with civility, much less kindness and compassion. So how did Jesus do it?

Well, Jesus is Jesus, of course. But even so, he operated according to the mindset he revealed throughout the Old and New Testaments. So first of all, he sees all human beings according to God’s original intentions – as those created in the image and likeness of God, as those bearing God’s own likeness in their capacity to love and be loved, to give and receive, to use their creativity for the betterment of the created order, to bless what is good and to shun what is evil.

Secondly, he sees human beings as fallen, vulnerable, lost and wounded persons due to the effects of our willful separation from God over the course of human history. We are like sheep without a shepherd, harassed and helpless, and Jesus’ heart of compassion goes out unstintingly to all.

So in the case of the poor woman, Jesus does not see her impoverishment as defining who she is, nor her ritual impurity as an impediment, nor her social shame as disqualifying. Instead, he sees a human being, precious because she was created in the image and likeness of God, and he desires to make her whole, as his Father originally intended her to live. As God the Son, he is able to bring about his Father’s will.

Likewise, with Jairus the synagogue ruler, Jesus does not see a powerful man of privilege, a “spiritual leader” who deserves help, one who could maybe scratch Jesus’ back in the future if Jesus helps him now. Instead, he sees a human being, created in the image of God, a man whose heart is crying over the grip death has upon his precious daughter. Jesus sees his need, and seeks to restore hope and health to the family of Jairus, as the Father originally intended them to thrive. As God the Son, he is able to bring about his Father’s will.

The foundation of Jesus’ compassion rests upon the truth that God loves human beings because He created us in His image and likeness. Jesus does not judge our stature on the basis of wealth, skin color, education, gender, nationality, or even creed. In the Kingdom of God, there are no slogans that pit one group against another. No “Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, Green Lives Matter;” no “99%ers vs. 1%ers;” no “privileged” vs. “oppressed;” no Westerners vs. Easterners, and so on.

In the Kingdom of God there are only the lost who have been found, the sick who are being healed, the sinners who have received grace. All human beings, regardless of the labels society may stick on them (rich/poor; privileged/marginalized; sophisticated/unrefined; self-reliant/dependent), are in reality creatures bearing the image and likeness of God, hard as it is to see sometimes. And all of us need the grace of God to heal, strengthen, cleanse and polish that image. As Jesus said, he came to offer deep-seated healing to the human race. The only one who never enter the Kingdom of God are those who refuse to believe they need a physician.

Were we to recover this vision of human nature, we might find ourselves on the same side of the fight, rather than drawing up battle lines against one another. We might be moved to help bear one another’s burdens, as the Bible commands us, rather than stepping on each other in the race to self-centered leisure. We might applaud the signs of God’s blessings in the lives of our brothers/sisters instead of spreading the acid of envy and displeasure over the unfairness of live. In our times of abundance, we might emulate our Father’s compassion for those walking in the valleys of desolation.

But we are a civilization living on the fumes of Biblical truth. We aspire to integrity, generosity, compassion, fairness and kindness, but we have rejected the foundation from which such virtues grow. We are like the rose which loves the scent it produces, but decides it no longer needs the plant to which it is attached. We have severed the branch leading to the roots of life, and now wonder why the “bloom is off the rose,” why the fragrance is fading. wilted.flowersWe bemoan the loss of civility, the rising violence teamed with cheapness of life, the disintegration of our culture fabric, our society’s trivialization of morality and superficial approach to the profundities of life, but when challenged to regraft ourselves into the massive, life-bearing trunk of truth and love rooted in the biblical revelation of God, we turn up our noses with a sniff of sophistication and bluster about separation of church and state. We are ignorant of what we need for individual and national healing, and we want to wallow in our ignorance. If only we could maintain the fragrance of the rose, without need for roots in anything but ourselves.

But we can’t. Only a return to understanding human nature (all human nature) as originating in the image and likeness of God will enable our society to step back from the precipice of treating people as commodities to be used or abused, or as enemies against whom to lodge our grievances and extract our pound of flesh. That would be a start.

But for Christians, those indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, it doesn’t end there. In my next post, I will share some thoughts on what it means to be one in Christ. Perhaps the Church, at least, will become a more shining light demonstrating to the larger world what it means to love one another in the midst of a diversity blessed by God.

 

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Teaching at Mt. Hermon


We’ve been on vacation at Mt. Hermon Christian Conference Center, enjoying the beauty of the redwoods and soaking in the great teaching and fellowship available during their summer meetings! (Mt. Hermon, located in the hills above Santa Cruz, CA,  is one of the true jewels among premier Christian conference centers!)Mt Hermon

Wanting to be of help, I offered last week to present a seminar on some aspect of Islam if there was sufficient interest. The staff slotted me in for an hour today, and I chose the topic: “What Drives the Muslim World?” [That title was chosen on Tuesday, far before yesterday’s evil terrorist attack by truck in Nice, France.] Over 75 people showed up.

The focus of my presentation was on elements of the religious culture of Islam which typically impact the Muslim mindset, and how the gospel counteracts these destructive tendencies. After 45 minutes of presentation, we turned to a time of Q&A which officially ended 20 minutes later so conferees could go to lunch. Unofficially a few dozen stayed longer to continue with questions and personal observations.

There is such a hunger among Christians wanting to make sense of what God is doing in the world and how the religion and practitioners of Islam fit into all this. I don’t have all the answers, by any means, but am certainly able to point people in the right direction.

If your church or group would be interested in having me come to speak on understanding and reaching out to Muslims, please contact me and we’ll make it happen!

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Zealous for the Name of God?


“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…” (Ex. 20:5).

One principle that Muslims and Christians share is that the God that they each worship (the Trinity vs. Allah) is a jealous God, i.e., He will not share His glory with another. He rightfully demands the full allegiance of His followers. Equally forbidden is not just polytheism (more than one god) but syncretism (fusing features of separate gods into one and worshiping that amalgamation as the true god). syncretism

Muslims generally even today are very careful about this, refusing to allow their mosques to become places of syncretistic or interfaith worship. They are horrified at the possiblity of transgressing the sacredness of Allah’s unique place of honor, and rightly so if he is indeed the one true God. Here is a case in point:

On July 1, during the month of Ramadan in Selangor, Malaysia (touted in the West as a moderate Muslim country, an uproar occurred during the iftar (breaking of the daily fast) meal at a Selayang mosque. Apparently, a non-Muslim Chinese Malay politician (notice the racial as well as religious discrimination in the reporting) was allowed by the mosque chairman to enter the prayer hall in order to wish the gathered Muslim crowd “Selamat berpuasa” (Happy Fasting!) and “Selamat berbuka” (Happy Breaking of the Fast!). According to official Muslim guidelines in Malaysia, “…non-Muslims are not allowed to step into the prayer area of a mosque or surau in the state to hold any activity.”

Apparently this was such a serious affront against Allah that the clamor reached the ears of the His Royal Highness, the Sultan of Selangor, who decreed that the implicated selayang mosquemosque chairman be sacked (fortunately, since this is such a moderate Muslim country, he was not executed). It doesn’t look like any action will be taken against the non-Muslim involved, though under Selangor law he could be charged with breaking  Section 12 of the Selangor Syariah Criminal Enactment 1995, conviction for which would mean a fine of 3,000 Malaysian ringgits (about $750) or two years imprisonment, or both.

Muslims take their worship space seriously, and refuse to allow it to be defiled by non-Muslims (or even by Muslim women who are unclean due to their menstruation cycle). Their seriousness is meant to show their devotion to Allah and his honor.

Contrast this incident with the one that happened two weeks earlier on June 18th at the Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly in Portland, OR, where a Muslim was not just allowed into Christian “sacred space” as the gathered delegates were worshiping, but was chosen to help lead in worship, and did so by praying not to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” but to Allah, using the key prayer of Islam (the Fatiha), imploring the Muslim god to guide all the Presbyterians gathered there to the “straight path,” i.e., to Islam.

While the Stated Clerk offered a “non-apology” apology five days later to “any who were offended,” the Presbyterian leadership felt showed no repentance over disdaining God’s jealousy for His own Name. In fact, because of continuing alarm in the PCUSA pews about this event, Mike Cole, General Presbyter of the Presbytery of New Covenant (one of the larger presbyteries in the PCUSA) wrote a letter to his own constituents to quell the unrest. The first line of his message is, “Too much has been made of a prayer offered at the beginning of our General Assembly (GA) by a Muslim Imam.

Can you imagine what would have happened in Malaysia, and perhaps around the Muslim world, if the non-Muslim, Chinese Malay (perhaps Christian, perhaps Buddhist) had been invited to offer a prayer in the name of his god at this Muslim iftar gathering? He and the mosque chairman might not have gotten out of there alive — quite literally. Muslims take their allegiance to Allah quite seriously, and refuse to allow rival faiths to co-mingle in their sacred times before Allah.

One could wish that leaders in the PCUSA were as zealous for the honor of the Trinity as Muslims are for Allah. That certainly was the case once in the history of the PCUSA. May it be so again!

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“No Ado About Too Much”


If you would like to read the article criticizing my posts on the Muslim prayer led by Mr. Said at the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA, it can be found here:
 
 
Written by Mike Cole, General Presbyter of the Presbytery of New Covenant, it was originally sent out to all the pastors who belong to that presbytery. But apparently the national Office of the General Assembly was so impressed with its arguments that it has decided to send the piece to presbytery executives of all the 171 PCUSA presbyteries across the country, inviting them to make liberal use of it (pun intended). Likewise, I understand that Mike is sending it to the Presbyterian Outlook Magazine to see if they will advance the PC propaganda.
The Presbyterian Layman website and I have been accused by some of a “knee-jerk reaction” to the Muslim prayer affair at the GA meeting. Having been immersed in the world of Islam since my youngest days, I can assure you that is not the case for me. Rather, I would submit that this piece by Mike Cole more accurately fits the description of being “knee-jerk,” since it rallies quickly to defend something which no Christian should defend, and takes no time to examine the evidence itself but merely relies on what others reassure the writer of.
I’m trying to find Mike’s email address to send him my last blog, with the hope that he might modify the false statements in his article before they infect too many readers. But my guess is that he won’t take the time to read my research, or do his own. It’s easier to believe what makes one feel good. If you happen to know him, please invite him to take a look at “A Crooked Take on the ‘Straight Path’.” Thanks!
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