The Muslim Question Revisited (1)
“Allah is great!” shouted the hijackers of United Flight 93 before crashing the doomed airplane into a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001. Five months later, hooded executioners repeated the same words before brutally beheading American journalist Daniel Pearl in front of a video camera. In March of 2004, a sequence of backpack bombs exploded in Madrid, Spain, killing nearly 200 people. In July of 2005, more bombs exploded in London. For those who study terrorist activities, such horrors are just the proverbial “tip of the iceberg.” Similar atrocities continue to this day being committed around the world.
And Muslims are fueling most of them.
It’s an incontrovertible fact that the vast majority of terrorist organizations existing today have been founded by Muslims, are funded by Muslims, are operated by Muslims, and that 98% of all terrorists are, you guessed it,Muslims . Is it any wonder that millions of Americans are afraid of Muslims?
The reason is obvious.
The film, Obsession: Radical Islam’s War against the West (2006) is frightening. Produced by Clarion Fund and discussed on both Fox News and CNN, Obsession plainly documents the very real threat of Islamic militants. “Death to Israel! Death to America!” scream Allah’s loyalists. They train children as suicide bombers. Their goal is global domination. They will stop at nothing, nothing. These radicals have no qualms about strapping explosives onto their bodies and detonating themselves amidst crowds of innocent civilians. They think they will soar to heaven when the die.
They love Jihad.
They are soldiers of Mohammed.
They follow the Koran.
They kill for Allah.
It is because of these fearful realities that I, Steve Wohlberg, used to believe – like many Americans, Christians, and Jews firmly believe today – that most Muslims are either violent themselves, or are at least supportive of violence against non-Muslims. For a number of years, arguments for this view appeared overwhelmingly compelling to me. I have read many books that seemed to support this conclusion. In my personal library are titles like, The Islamic Invasion, by Robert Morey, Why I left Jihad, by Walid Shoebat, and Preachers of Hate, by Kenneth Timmerman. No doubt, there is much truth about the Jihadist threat in these works. And yet, whether these authors intended to communicate this or not, their books only strengthened my personal belief that, when push comes to shove, a genuinely devoted Muslim person is really a dangerous person. My thinking went like this: Most terrorist acts are committed by Muslims, Muslim terrorists find their inspiration for violence in the Koran, the Muslim Bible, and thus most Muslims, if they really believe the Koran, must favor terrorism . It’s a no-brainer.
Such reasoning seemed, well, supremely reasonable.
But then something happened in August of 2007 that challenged my thinking. At a Christian convention a stranger handed me a copy of a book entitled, Islam: God’s Forgotten Blessing , by Stephen Dickie. Shortly thereafter, a friend and supporter of the ministry that I direct (White Horse Media) mailed to me a second copy of the same book, urging me to read it. Honestly, I didn’t like the title. Forgotten blessing? I mused. Hardly. Dickie is probably a liberal with his head in the sand.
Both copies sat on my bookshelf for almost a year. Then one day, in response to a still small voice inside my head, I picked up one copy and began to read it. Unexpectedly, the book captured my attention immediately. “There are over one billion Muslims in the world,” Dickie reported, “Doesn’t God love them too?” This simple question startled me. The most famous verse in the Bible floated into my head. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16) As a Christian minister, I knew this verse so well. I also knew that when Jesus said, “God so loved the world,” that this must mean the Muslim world too.
Then Dickie dropped this bombshell: “Only 8-10% of all Muslims are terrorists, or are even sympathetic to terrorism.” This shocked me. He then explained that as we near the return of Jesus Christ, it makes sense that God would make some special effort to reach the Muslim world with the message of His love. I then thought about my current belief that most Muslims are evil. Is this a fair evaluation? I asked myself. Will such an attitude help me befriend and communicate with Joe Muslim?
I shook my head. Nope.
I kept reading.
When I finished Dickie’s book my thoughts about Muslims generally had been turned upside down. But let me clarify something. What affected me most was not Stephen Dickie’s reasoning – which to my astonishment was farfrom liberal – but rather how he proved his points straight from the Bible. This made the deepest impression on me because, simply put, I believe God’s Book.
For the next few months I gave careful attention to what the Bible actually said about “Ishmael,” Abraham’s firstborn son, “the Father of the Arabs.” Next I looked at some of Ishmael’s descendants, as described in the Scriptures. Then I restudied some key biblical prophecies, especially Revelation 9, which describes the 5th and 6th trumpets. Finally I researched more carefully “the third woe” spoken of in Revelation 11:14. A deep conviction grew in my heart. White Horse Media should produce a TV series with Stephen Dickie about this!
Dickie’s email address was nestled at the back of his book. Tying a short note, I clicked “send.” He wrote back right away. Dialogue resulted, a plan quickly developed, and filming dates were fixed. Within a few short weeks, 13 half-hour TV programs had been completed without a glitch, and everyone involved shared a strong sense that this production was under the hand of the Lord. We titled the series, Islam Revisited.
These posts you are now reading contain the main points of that TV series.
I must confess at the outset that I am not an expert in Islamic studies, nor will I ever be. My area of expertise is Bible prophecy. While I remain a learner myself, and I certainly don’t have all the answers, I believe strongly that the information contained herein is solidly biblical, and worth reading.
In fact, this information has helped me – as never before – to make sense out of the horrors of September 11, and to see that event as a fulfillment of prophecy. While it doesn’t minimize in any way the threat of Islamic terrorism, nor of the evils of terrorism – and make no mistake about it, terrorism is evil – it can help you actually make friends with Muslims, the majority of whom, believe it or not, aren’t terrorists.
Get ready for a fascinating journey.
I hope you will stick with me.
To be continued…