Conflict and war are integral parts of the character of Islam itself. Its history and practice has created an atmosphere of animosity with those who do not worship Allah and a culture of hate and death among its adherents. It is a conflict that had its beginning in the dim recess of time, dating back to the days of Abraham and his sons Ishmael and Isaac. It is a conflict destined to continue to the End of the Age.
ISLAM: SOURCE OF UNENDING CONFLICT
The problem is the Land! And the problem is the promise God made to give it to Israel! That is the source of the entire conflict. In Deuteronomy 1:7-8, God defined the boundaries of His promise to Israel. “Turn and take your journey, and go to the mountains of the Amorites, to all the neighboring places in the plain, in the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the River Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give to them and their descendants after them.” This was a territory whose expanse was from the Sinai to Egypt, from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean, – very much larger than the Israel of today. It extended across the Jordan River into Jordan, and encompassed parts of Iraq. And it was promised to Israel (Jacob) and his descendents forever. But just who are those descendents? That is the crucial question!
You see, in the beginning, this was strictly a family matter. Arabs trace their ancestry back to Ishmael, – Jews, to his half-brother Isaac. God had promised their father, called Abram, a son with his wife, Sarai, (later Sarah). At that time, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, and told him that he would be “a father of many nations”. As the years passed without an heir, Abraham grew impatient and fathered Ishmael with one of his wife’s servants. [Now a modernist might say; ‘Hey, it was his wife Sarah’s idea, so what’s the harm?’ Well, he found out, as did we all. The Middle East has been living out the results of that poor decision for the last 4,000 years or so.] But Ishmael was not the ‘son of the promise’. God set him straight in Genesis 17:19-21. “Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” So Ishmael became the father of the Arab nations. Yet Isaac, of the Jewish line, was established as the ‘son of the promise’.
The issue was further complicated in the next generation by a conflict between Isaac’s sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau, also called Edom, was the firstborn, though cared so little for the distinction, that he sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. Later Jacob, whose name God later changed to Israel, tricked Esau out of their father’s blessing. With the birthright and the blessing came the Land of the Promise. So was fueled a blood rivalry. Esau swore to “…kill my brother Jacob”. (Genesis 27:41) Later, Esau and his line intermarried with the descendants of Ishmael who were already estranged from the people that would become the future nation of Israel. These became the Edomites. History shows their leading tribe, the Amalekites, became a perpetual enemy to both Israel and God. Exodus 17:18 tells us, “the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” Now in the present, confirmed by no less a source than the Israeli Embassy, the House of Esau, Edom, is none other than the modern day Palestinian People.[i] And so this war has continued down to this day.
Historical and prophetic confirmation can be found in the words of Psalm 83:1-8. “Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, And do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; And those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against our people, And consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot. Selah”
It is interesting that the current antagonists in the Arab / Israeli conflict can be clearly identified in this ancient Scripture. We saw that Edom is representative of the Palestinians, The Moabites were Lot’s descendants living East of the Jordan as did the Hagrites and Ammon.[ii] There are over a million Assyrians living in Iraq today. The others were the ancestors of the Arab and Bedouin, Muslim peoples that remain in conflict with Israel to this day. And all of these have truly said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation”. There is evidence for this in the wars of annihilation prepared by the confederated Arab States in 1948, 1967 and 1973. It is evident in the Palestinian National Charter, which calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. In the Arab / Muslim mind, it is religiously justified by a theology that envisions a complete destruction of the Jews before the return of the Islamic Messiah. According to the Hadith, “The Last Hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews”.[iii]
The “Last Hour” of Islamic theology goes a long way toward explaining the notion of the “unending Jihad” and the religious justification of the terror. Dr. David Cook of Rice University, explains that to the devout Muslim, the conflict with the West and especially Israel, is in reality a conflict between good and evil. It is the very outworking of the historical plan of God. Remember, in its forming, Islam borrowed heavily from and then distorted the beliefs of the Biblically based religions of Judaism and Christianity, so there is a patina of similarities in their views of the last days. Islam too, is looking for the “Last Days” to be preceded by moral decay, and natural and cosmic disasters. Then will come a “Tempter” or Dajjal, who will lead all but the true Muslims astray. This is to be followed by the return of Jesus, who will kill Dajjal, ending his evil reign. This will be followed by a Messianic reign under the Mahdi, who will triumph in a struggle with evil in the form of Yajuj and Majuj. This is the Islamic version of the Gog / Magog struggles described in Ezekiel 38 & 39. Many Muslims believe that we are now living in the time leading up to the end of the age. Their traditions tell them that this will be a period of struggle with West and with Israel. Violent Jihad is the natural outworking of this philosophy.[iv]
And this theology of hate is preached in the Mosques, purposely fueling the fires of hate in an attempt to fulfill the will of Allah and bring about the triumph of the last days. Marvin Yakos, in Jesus vs. Jihad quotes Imam Sarbal, of Islamic Jihad in one sermon he gave. “Israel will exist until …Islam will obliterate it…Kill so many Jews that they will eventually abandon Palestine…Allah! Kill them all, do not leave even one.” Another typical sermon broadcast back in 1997 referred to Jews as “…descendants of monkeys and pigs,” while calling confidently on the vengeance of Allah. Another Saudi Sheikh, Abd Al-Rahman Al Sudayyis, begged Allah to annihilate the Jews.[v] A London cleric called for outright murder. And PA TV, an official arm of Arafat’s so called moderate Palestinian Authority, regularly targets children, inciting them to accept the culture of violence. “In one commercial for a summer camp children scream, ‘Commando’, and jump into a burning ring.” In another children chant “My children, my children, o my country / Are in the suicide squad,” – as the announcer intones, “Jihad – holy war – is the main belief. It will never end.”[vi]
This notion of Jihad, and forced conversion, is not some justified response to the sins of the West. This was institutionalized long before the Crusades. No, jihad, and conquest and suppression of Jews and Christians were and still are integral and essential teachings of Mohammed and the Koran itself. We see the inevitable results. There were centuries of Christian martyrdom at the hands of Muslims. In a book entitled, The New Persecuted, Antonio Socci tells the story of 45 million murdered Christians in the 20th century alone, and up to 70 million since the time of Jesus. An average of 160,000 Christians have been killed every year since 1990 – the overwhelming majority by Muslims.[vii]
If Jihad is the expression of Islam to the outside world, Sharia Law is what defines the relationship of Islam with its members. Sharia is a cruel task master, requiring unswerving obedience and offering punishments of extreme cruelty to those that fail to live up to its standards. It is routine to have hands or feet cut off in Saudi Arabia, for instance. Women routinely face the death penalty in many Muslim countries for adultery. The compassionate authorities generally delay the execution of a mother until the product of the adultery, the baby, is fully weaned. In a a not atypical case a few years back, a woman, a French citizen, who had gone to the police to report a rape, – was charged with adultery and faced jail time for sex outside of marriage. Her rapists were not charged.[viii] Blasphemy and conversion from Islam are also punishable by death. In Iran, a scholar and war hero, was sentenced to death for criticizing the religious hierarchy, – it was reckoned as blasphemy.
Islam has set itself up, not as a “Religion of Peace,” but instead a “Religion of Violence.” We must recognize that this is a religious war that we are fighting; – not against all who call themselves Muslim, – but against this ‘Theology of Violence’. Some would have us believe there is a moral equivalency between Islam and Christianity, between this culture and the culture of the West. There is not! – This is an ideology of hate – justified in the name of religion. The killings of the Nazis and the Communists were cold and impersonal, – bureaucratic in nature. Fundamentalist Islam offers a unique hate that is more personal, warm and passionate. In the words of Srdja Trifkovic, “Islam …has created jihad and remains defined by jihad…a quasi-religious ideology of cultural and political imperialism that knows no natural limits.”[ix] This is the force that has been raised up in opposition to the God of the Bible.
[i] David Bay confirmed this fact as presented in his Cutting Edge News Letters #1534 & #2095
[ii] Wade Cox, Descendants of Abraham – Part II, Christian Churches of God, (Australia), 2007
[iii] Book 41, Number 6985, Sahih Muslim, [Hadith]
[iv] Jihad, Apocalypse, and Anti-Semitism, An Interview with Richard Landes, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, September 1, 2004
[v] Muslims Actually Believe Jews Are Pig And Ape Descendants?, Islam Forum, August 1, 2007
[vi] Jeff Jacoby, Welcome to Camp Hate, Jewish World Review, August 13, 1998
[vii] From a review by Chuck Colson, A New Century of Martyrs, Prison Fellowship Ministries, June 17, 2002
[viii] Jon Henley, French ‘rape victim’ charged with adultery, The Guardian, UK, January 4, 2003
[ix] Dr Tawfik Hamid, An Arab Muslim Challenges CAIR, The Free Copts, March 9, 2006