Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saudi Arabia Calls For Destruction of Churches

Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia
Muslim leaders have once again given themselves a black eye as the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has called for "the destruction of all churches on the Arabian Peninsula." The Grand Mufti is the highest official of religious law in a Sunni country, and as such his pronouncements carry considerable weight. There are no churches allowed in Saudi Arabia currently, so the statement seems to be aimed at Kuwait and other countries in the peninsula.
This is particularly disconcerting as there is already heavy persecution of Christians taking place in other Middle-Eastern nations, Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Syria being just a few examples. The "Arab Spring" which brought so much hope just a few months ago has instead resulted in social upheaval and blatant attacks on the Christian community.
The questions on the minds of many commentators and journalists is this: where are the voices of moderate Islam rising to condemn this persecution? All we hear is silence. In country after country where Islam is dominant, all other religions face prejudice at best and extreme persecution at worst.

I remember when the Islamic apologists came out after 9/11 to tell us all that Islam is a religion of peace, whose name actually means peace. What they didn't share is that the word "islam" actually means "submission" or "surrender." The "peace" Islam refers to is when everyone bows in submission to Muslim rule. It's difficult to deny this when simply observing the Islamic countries of the world.

One example is Iran, currently holding Youcef Nadarkhani on death row for the crime of converting to Christianity, and his is merely one of the "visible" cases. Another is Iraq, where the Christian population, with a history in the area of 2,000 years, has been decimated by persecution, with reports saying as many as half have had to leave since 2003. Suicide attacks and death squads plague those who remain. In Pakistan, the only Christian member of parliament, Shahbaz Bhatti, was assassinated last year. Many Christians remain in prison on false charges due to the "blasphemy law" which has been used by Muslims to persecute their Christian neighbors. Courts have hesitated to defend the innocent for fear of mob violence.

These are just a few examples, there are literally thousands more. In Nigeria, a jihad has been declared to irradicate all Christians from the north of the country. Many have already died. There are numerous examples from Somalia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Indonesia and elsewhere. For more information go here.

So, what are we to do about this? There are a few things.
  • Think.
The next time someone tells you that all religions are the same, tell them to give their head a shake. There are fundamental differences between the major religions that need to be recognized. Jesus said to love our enemies, Muhammed taught that Allah wanted them to kill all "infidels" (non-believers). Huge difference. We need to, once again, be free to enter into public debate on truth issues without the shackles of political correctness.
  • Become informed. 
There's a lot of great material out there to help you to be brought up to speed on what is happening around the world. Here's a link to a great place to start. 
  • Pray.
It's amazing that, when asked, many of those imprisoned are not looking for sympathy, they're wanting prayer that the spread of the Gospel of peace would continue. Here's a link to help you get connected. In some of the places of the world where persecution is most extreme, Christianity is growing. Pray for new converts from Islam to Christianity, many of whom risk their lives. Two recent converts from Islam were stabbed in Norway by hooded assailants yelling "Infidels."
  • Spread the word.
You may not be a writer, but you can copy and paste a link, or hit share on Facebook. 

If you are a Christian, understand that Jesus said "in this world you will have trouble." People are not our enemy, no matter what they believe. Throughout history, some of the strongest opponents to Christianity have become some of our greatest evangelists. Witness the Apostle Paul for one. Pray for Christians around the world not to respond to violence with violence, for in so doing they turn their backs on their own Saviour. Here is what Jesus said, "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." (Matthew 5:43-44)

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Remember My Chains
Shahbaz Bhatti - Christian Martyr
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