Texas Shooters don’t fit the mold for Radicals – Is it possible that Islam is not a religion of peace?

everybody_draw_muhammed_day_2013_by_ziggyman-d65y7dxTwo men who opened fire outside a contest for Prophet Mohammed cartoons in a Dallas suburb were shot dead by police Sunday night, authorities said. The event “Draw the Prophet,” was sponsored by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, in an effort to protect the 1st Amendment. The event offered a $10,000 prize and was said to be in response to the January 2015 attacks on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. The event was located in Garland, Texas in the same location as a Muslim group held a “Stand with the Prophet” conference in January. A security officer was wounded and the two Islamists were killed, Nadir Soofi, and Elton Simpson. CNN reports the following about Simpson and Soofi, the two radicals:

Moments before the shootout, Simpson posted an ominous tweet with the hashtag #texasattack: “May Allah accept us as mujahideen.”

The tweet also said Simpson and his fellow attacker [Soofi] had pledged allegiance to “Amirul Mu’mineen,” which means “the leader of the faithful.” CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank said that probably refers to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In 2011, Simpson was convicted of making a false statement involving international and domestic terrorism. Prosecutors said he told FBI agents that he had not discussed traveling to Somalia to engage in “violent jihad” — when, in fact, he had, according to an indictment. …

[Simpson’s attorney in the 2011 case, Kristina Sitton, stated], “He was a very devout Muslim,” said Sitton, who sensed Simpson was trying to convert her and her staffers but never saw him as a threat. “… I can tell you with absolute certainty that I didn’t observe anything that had anything to do with radicalization.” … “He was a very kind-hearted, respectful young man,” the lawyer added. “He always treated me with respect.”

That view was seconded by the president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, where both Simpson and Soofi worshiped. … Simpson “was a gentle person,” Shami said. “He always had a good attitude, a good demeanor.” Like others at the mosque, Shami said he was stunned to hear about the attack Sunday night. “They didn’t show any signs of radicalization or any signs of even thinking about those things in that manner,” he said. “So when that happens, it just shocks you. ‘How good did you know these people?’ That’s the question that people ask themselves.”

Simpson nor Soofi fit the profile for a “radical” Islamist. Soofi’s background is as peaceful as that of Simpson:

“He was raised in a normal American fashion,” Sharon Soofi said. “Yes, he was very politically involved with the Middle East. Just aware of what’s going on. I don’t know if something snapped or if Elton Simpson was just working on him.” Soofi’s father is Pakistani, and his mother is American, a source with knowledge of the family told CNN. After his parents divorced, Soofi and his brother moved to the United States in 1998 to live with their mother and gradually lost touch with many of their friends in Pakistan, the source said. In the 1990s, Soofi attended a prestigious private school in Islamabad. … Unlike Simpson, who had been convicted of a terror-related charge, Soofi was relatively unknown to federal investigators, a law enforcement official told CNN.

It seems that Soofi and Simpson were in Texas (they were roommates in Arizona) that day to protect the prophet Muhammad from the entrants in the cartoon contest who depicted Muhammad in visual images. The Qur’an contains no proscriptions of a visual image of the messenger; but there are hadiths (sayings of key Muslim scholars) which explicitly prohibit Muslims from creating visual depictions of their messenger.1 Anyone who depicts an image of the Muslim messenger is deemed to have committed a sacriledge worthy of death. In defense of the event, organizer Pam Geller is reported to have stated at the event:

“Enough is enough,” she explained. “They’re just cartoons. We’re holding this exhibit and cartoon contest to show how insane the world has become — with people in the free world tiptoeing in terror around supremacist thugs who actually commit murder over cartoons. If we can’t stand up for the freedom of speech, we will lose it — and with it, free society.”

The two radicals don’t fit the profile. They were not violent, angry, Muslims. They were not radicalized as recent converts. Both had been Muslims for years. So how do we explain their actions? One of them, Simpson, a peaceful, respectful man. The other, Soofi, a loving father. There is but one explanation for their actions: they followed the Qur’an and the hadith, the sacred writings of the “religion of peace.”

Islam is not a religion of peace. In fact, it is the cloak under which the antichrist covers in the end-of-days. The problem is that many of it’s own adherents do not see satan’s plan, much less the society so intent on protecting Islam. There may be many Muslims who are people of peace; but the Qur’an, the book upon which Islam is founded is not.

Jesus come quickly.

Blessings.

Jack

Footnotes to post:
  1. Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith: 7.834, 7.838, 7.840, 7.844, 7.846 []

Atonement: Muslim vs Christian Understanding

lamb.kevinGod-saves or do-it-my-way? God-salvation or self-salvation, which will it be? Perhaps we might say “grace” or “pay-your-own-way?” How is there even a choice? Christ or Muhammad? Son of God or son of Quraysh?

The Bible teaches that sin is universal (Isaiah 53:6). All sin, and everyone falls short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23). Mankind’s sinfulness acts as a separator between man and God (Isaiah 59:2), a barrier that removes humanity from God, and renders relationship with holy God, impossible.  Hence, humanity is “out-of-relationship” with God, and in need of being reconciled.  Atonement is the doctrine whereby God and mankind are made “at-one-ment,” that is, God and mankind are reconciled, and the nature of this new reconciled relationship is eternal and without end.

Since all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard of righteousness, humanity cannot make amends for acts of sinfulness, nor can humanity’s righteous acts “offset” unrighteous acts.  Isaiah 64:6 puts it this way: “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like filthy garments.”  Man’s best efforts at righteousness are likened to filthy rags.  How then can humanity ever make amends for unrighteous acts if our righteous acts are likened to filthy rags?  Likewise, how then can “filthy rags” offset unrighteous acts?  Quite the opposite occurs.  Mankind is dismally separated from God and can do nothing to make things right.  It is as if humankind has an incurable illness; an illness that will keep him eternally separated from a holy God.

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Will the Temple Need be Rebuilt before the Coming of Our Lord?

Underneath the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NASB) 3  Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

How does the “man of lawlessness” “take his seat” in a temple that no longer stands?1  “Obviously, it must be rebuilt,” you say?  Gonna be awhile, then.  The “coming of our Lord Jesus” will not occur until the “man of lawlessness” is revealed and the “apostasy comes first.” As most of you know, I interpret the “man of lawlessness” to be the spirit of antichrist that was made manifest through Islam’s messenger, Muhammad. The apostasy, of course, is the falling away of believers in the end-times for various reasons. One need only do a head-count on most Sunday mornings  to see that the day of apostasy is fast upon us. So what about the man-of-lawlessness “taking his seat” in the holy place?

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Footnotes to post:
  1. It was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. []

Duke University Reverses Muslim Call to Prayer Decision

Which is worse? To have approved the Muslim call-to-prayer in the first place or to  reverse the decision after pressure?

In a week of media frenzy, Duke University officials made this initial statement on Monday 1/12/15:

“This opportunity [to allow the Muslim call-to-prayer] represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” added Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life. “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation. Read more.

Duke Memorial Chapel

The decision by Duke University officials called for the Muslim call-to-prayer, or “adhan,” to be given from the Duke Memorial Chapel bell tower every Friday, much like the call-to-prayer ushers from the pinnacle of a minaret at a mosque five times a day.1 In an editorial from the Raleigh News and Observer, Duke University’s decision was described as a stand for religious diversity and pluralism:

Duke has taken a different approach, however. It supports religious groups in their particularities and practices. With separate centers for Christian, Jewish and Muslim life and with dedicated prayer rooms for Catholics, Hindus and Buddhists, Duke responds to religious diversity not by reducing all traditions to one common denominator but by attempting to let each religious group on campus express itself in its own unique way. Read more.

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Footnotes to post:
  1. “Adhan, literally in Arabic, “announcement” is and in the Shari’ah it means the announcement made in specific words at the time of salat. It was introduced in the first year of the Hijrah at Madinah. The cause of its introduction, in the opinion of the Imamis, was that Gabriel came down with the adhan in a message from God to the Prophet (S). The Sunnis say that ‘Abd Allah ibn Zayd saw a dream in which he was taught the adhan by someone. When he related his dream to the Prophet (S), he approved it. See http://www.al-islam.org/shiite-encyclopedia-ahlul-bayt-dilp-team/call-prayer-according-five-islamic-schools-law, accessed January 20, 2015. []

Lone wolf in Canada – Allah’s tribe distinguishes itself again

 Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a nationally televised address on CBC in this still image taken from video in Ottawa, October 22, 2014.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a nationally televised address on CBC in this still image taken from video in Ottawa, October 22, 2014.

There probably is nothing more satisfying to me than seeing the saving power of the Lord Christ in the life of a new convert to Jesus Christ. As a pastor “working in the trenches,” I am blessed to see this regularly. Just a few weeks ago, a husband and his wife stood before me as I led him in prayer to receive Christ. I remember hearing his voice breaking as he prayed, only to finish the prayer and observe tears streaming down his face. As I watched him lead his family from the church that day, the smile on his face could only be explained as the pure joy of the risen Lord. I think there is no greater evidence of the reality of the love of God in Christ than a changed heart and changed life, all the result of humbling oneself before a mighty God who transforms us from the inside out into a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB.

Ever been in a group and the conversation turned to religion? How about Islam and Christianity? I recently found myself in conversation with a friend and the question was asked whether Allah and God are the same?

How might one answer? I suggest we look at what happened in Canada:

Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to redouble the country’s fight against “terrorist organizations” abroad after a reported convert to Islam rampaged through parliament, shocking the usually tranquil capital city.

Shortly after a gunman shot dead a soldier at the National War Memorial in central Ottawa on Wednesday morning, a man armed with a shotgun burst into the Center Block of Parliament, pursued by police. He died after dozens of shots rang out a few yards away from where Harper was talking to his legislators.

The objective of these attacks was to instill fear and panic in our country,” Harper said. “Canadians will not be intimidated. We will be vigilant, but we will not run scared. We will be prudent but we will not panic.”

Harper pledged to speed up a plan already under way to bolster Canadian laws and police powers in the areas of “surveillance, detention and arrest.”

The killing of the Canadian soldier was the second this week with a possible link to Islamist militants. A convert to Islam on Monday ran over two Canadian soldiers with his car, killing one, near Montreal, before being shot dead by police.

Read more.

The gunman in Canada is reported to be a recent convert to Islam. Regardless of whether that proves to be true, the point remains: Why would a Muslim use violence to glorify his god? And what does that say about his god if the use of violence is seen as a means to identify with or bring glory to that god?

To answer the question, I offer the difference between a new Muslim convert and a new Christian convert. A convert to Islam takes up arms because Muhammad, the perfect role model and messenger of Islam, revealed the word of Allah in Qur’an 9:5, 47:4 and many other Quranic passages, to the end that “smiting the necks” of the unbelievers becomes not only a belief, but a duty of virtue that one pursues. In some cases, converts to Islam who had never before contemplated murder as an option now see it not only as an option but a virtue rewarded in the afterlife. In these cases, the convert may become the “lone wolf,” unpredictable and threatening to society. In a recent Congressional Research Report (#7-5700, R41416 (January 23, 2013) by Jerome P. Bjelopera), there have been 63 “homegrown” violent jihadist plots in the United States since 9/11/2001.  Since 2009, there has been an “apparent expansion of terrorist activity in the Untied States (through December 2012),” resulting in arrests for 42 “homegrown,” jihadist-inspired terrorist plots, all of which were conducted by American citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States. (See CRS R41416, p. 1).

American Adam Gadahn Al Qaeda Senior Operative

American Adam Gadahn
Al Qaeda Senior Operative

We might liken what happened in Canada to the “homegrown lone-wolf” terrorist described in CRS R41416 above cited. The effectiveness of provoking fear in the minds of innocent civilians is a major purpose of Salafi-Islamists such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State, even if the provocation is a single shooter with a shotgun as appears to be the case in Canada. The CRS report above cited states, “For example, the media wing of Al Qaeda, As Sahab, released an English language video in March, 2010, entitled, “A Call to Arms,” featuring American-born spokesperson Adam Gadahn. In the video, Gadahn extols Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan as a “trailblazer” who did not attract law enforcement attention by training abroad or relying on conspirators.  Gadahn encourages would-be terrorists to select realistically hittable targets that are familiar to them and have some broadly symbolic—especially economic resonance (see full video here. video analysis here).

This is precisely what happened in Canada. The lone wolf attacked a high profile location – Parliament – so as to generate the highest level of public reaction.

In another video, Gadahn (June 2011 English language video) even more clearly emphasized lone wolf operations. In the video he suggests that the ease of weapon purchases in the United States allows for the ease of conducting jihadi operations at the center of one’s locality (see video here):

Let’s take America as an example. America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?

The CRS report above (p. 12) distinguishes between “radicalization” and “violent extremism.” In America and other Western countries (Canada, for example), it is not illegal to adopt, express, or disseminate ideas, even hateful and extremist ones. Hence, the radicalization of Muslims is not illegal in free societies. But when radicalized individuals mobilize their views (that is, they move from a radicalized viewpoint to membership in a terrorist group, or to planning, materially supporting, or executing terrorist activity) then the nation’s public safety and security interests are activated. Thus radicalized views become “violent extremism” as violent action takes place.

Recently, Americans reacted with horror when recent convert to Islam, Alton Nolen, beheaded one of his coworkers and stabbed another before being shot. Reports are that Nolen attempted to convert his coworkers to Islam but to no avail. When he was fired, he reacted by using violence against those working with him. One aritcle reports:

“He comes out, tries to assimilate with a local mosque, is spurred on by videos and Internet postings by groups like ISIS, and then the incident at his workplace — a perceived wrong against him — becomes the catalyst that trips the trigger in his mind to move from jihadi thoughts to violent action,” Dunleavy added.

I suppose the problem for law enforcement is how to predict when radicalization will become violent extremism? And whether the motivation is simply an act of obedience to Allah and his Muhammad or retribution for a wrong suffered?

Do you know of any new converts to Christianity who have “radicalized” to the point of using violence as an act of obedience to Christ? Any who have become “violent extremists” to advance Christianity? In my Google searches, I find none. In fact, the only evidence I find of Christians being involved in violence has been when they are former Muslims who have converted to Christianity and have become victims as Muslim apostates subject to the death penalty. I know what some are thinking. What about the Crusades? Are you serious? The Crusades were launched for the same reason that Obama launched air strikes on Iraq and Syria. To save human life. Muslims in the Middle East were annihilating Christianity and the Crusades were launched as a reaction to the Muslim sword. (It is quite OK with me if you post to the heavens on that point. I will stand with the martyrs of Revelation 6:10 awaiting the vengeance of the Lord. If you want to stand on the side of Islam don’t tell the Lord you weren’t told!)

It seems to me that the first steps a believer takes are those most revealing of the god in whom they believe. They are like baby-steps that reveal the nature and extent of one’s connection to the “parent” that feeds them. When lone-wolf converts to Islam (or matured jihadis) commit violent extremist actions they reveal the god in whom they serve. Allah is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as revealed in Jesus Christ. Allah is another god, a god of darkness. He is satan’s representative masquerading as God and the lone wolf of Islam reveals him for who he truly is. 2 Corinthians 11:14, Revelation 13:3-4.

Jesus come quickly.

Jack

 

 

 

 

Countering Violent Extremism – It Begins with the Truth

kenya.2The Baltimore Sun, January 21, 2014, editorial commentary by CAIR Representative  of Maryland, Zainab Chaudry:

Earlier this month, 28-year-old Todd Wheeler Jr. of Glen Burnie [Maryland] was arrested on charges of making explosives. Had they detonated, the radius of the blast could have caused extensive damage, deaths and injuries. Also this month, Ellicott City [Maryland] resident Mohammad Hassan Khalid was scheduled to be sentenced for conspiring to aid terrorists. Mr. Khalid was a bright teenager with a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University at the time of his arrest two years ago. … . There is no easy answer for what compels people like them to venture out on the dark path that leads to destruction, loss of life and prison. But the more important question is: “How can they be stopped?” This requires frank dialogue, and not only examination of factors that promote terrorism, but also our individual and collective roles in preemptive intervention.  (Read rest of commentary here)

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President Abbas “Claims” Jesus in Christmas Eve Speech

West_Bank_&_Gaza_Map_2007_(Settlements)Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his Christmas Eve address from Bethlehem extended greetings to the world on the occasion of the birthday of Christ 2000 years ago.  Abbas stated:

“Palestine, the Holy Land, extends its warmest seasonal greetings to the peoples of the world on the holy occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him. In Bethlehem, more than 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born; a Palestinian messenger who would become a guiding light for millions around the world. As we Palestinians strive for our freedom two millennia later, we do our best to follow his example. We work with hope, seeking justice, in order to achieve a lasting peace. Read more.

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