There are without doubt pearls in the Qur'an. Some passages are poetic and very beautiful with regards to content. But it also contains extremely dangerous agitation against the so-called kuffar (heretics). Each boy who visits a Qur'an school learns it off by heart. He learns verses that can be used directly in practice, like Sura 9:5 “...kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush.”
In recent history, genocides have often been accompanied by the preparatory dehumanization of victims. In 1994, in Rwanda, for example, the Hutu interhamwe labelled the Tutsis as “termites” or “cockroaches” before they killed more than one million (mainly) Tutsis. Similarly, before World War II, the Nazi regime in Germany often featured illustrations of Jews in cartoons and other propaganda materials looking decrepit or sub-human, and forced Jews to wear yellow stars saying “Achtung Juden (Warning: a Jew).” In other cases, such as in the predominantly Ibo region of Biafra in 1961, the northern Nigerian military used terms such as “gwadai gwadai (mosquitos)” to refer to the Ibo, who suffered up to one million deaths as a result of the military’s putting down of the rebellion.
On 10 April 2014, the UN Security Council unanimously decided that a peacekeeping mission would be sent to the Central African Republic in September 2014. This is a remarkable step, one which until recently was considered implausible. What is even more extraordinary is the role played by the National Interfaith Peace Platform, from efforts to restore the social fabric of the country to persuading the Security Council to take action. Efforts by religious leaders to salvage national governance are ongoing.
Islamic theology regards Sharia law as perfect, God-given legislation not of human origin and therefore beyond question. Muslim apologists claim the world-wide application of the Sharia would result in universal freedom and justice. God’s commands were communicated to the Prophet Muhammad through the archangel Gabriel and recorded in the Koran and traditional Islamic texts. The relevant legal texts have been interpreted by renowned theologians, among whom the lawyers of the early centuries of Islam are regarded as particularly authoritative.
Next month I hope to speak at a conference in Norway. The organisers have asked me to speak on the subject of fear of Islam/Muslims among Christians in Europe. Fear of Islam and Muslims is a topic that is close to my heart, because I believe it is one of the main reasons why Christians do not share their lives (and in this context also the Gospel of Jesus Christ) with Muslims in Europe.
Islam is a religion in which the call for the total rule of Allah over the whole world is proclaimed, as it is stated in the Qur’an: “Unto Allah belong the East and the West. He guides whom he will unto a straight path” (surah 2:142). The concept of Da’wah derives its meaning from the Arabic verb da’a = to call, to invite. Da’wah is therefore an imperative duty for all Muslims, namely to invite others to accept the truth of Islam. This duty is obligatory (in Arabic fard) as a proclamation.
Who is responsible for the conscienceless crimes of ISIS? How is it possible, that such inhuman ideologies could spread to such an extent so rapidly? And where do Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab and Boko Haram come from? Like mushrooms they shoot out of the ground and destroy the lives of millions of people.
Jihad (holy war) is and always has been a powerful force in Islam. It is one of the few Arabic words known the world over by educated people. Television and print media have brought the reality of this term into the living rooms of millions of homes. To the non-Muslim it is a word of horror associated most closely with Arab terrorists. Mental pictures of hijacked planes and blown-up military barracks are integrally connected with jihad.
The name Mavia does not strike a chord with many of us. Yet it is the name of a once-famous fourth-century woman who, as the Saracen queen, defeated the Arian Roman emperor Valens. The emperor was notorious for persecuting Christians who adhered to the Nicene Creed.
Mavia, having dealt deadly blows to the Roman armies in Phoenicia and Palestine, refused to stop the war until the emperor met one extraordinary condition: the installation of Moses, a pious Saracen desert monk, as bishop over her own people.
Historically, Islam is the religious and political movement that began with the preaching of Muhammad Ibn Abdallah (ca. 570-632 AD) in or about the year 610 AD in Mecca. Muhammad’s own background was Arabian animism, but, under the influence of Jewish and Christian proclamation, he concerned himself intensively with the belief in one God (Arabic: Allah). He came to the conviction that he was called to be Allah’s ambassador to his own people, and gathered a congregation of followers in his home city of Mecca from ca. 610 AD. The leading families in Mecca, however, saw a danger in the new faith for the cult centered on the Kaaba and for the commerce associated with it, and rejected Muhammad’s proclamation and claim for his mission.
On Friday January 18, 1985 Mahmud Muhammad Taha, the spiritual leader of the Republican Brothers, an Islamic reform movement, was publicly executed for apostasy (renouncing Islam) in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. Taha had openly criticised Sharia law, introduced in Sudan in 1983. What is more, the movement had developed an understanding of Islam radically different from accepted norms. Although limited in numbers and confined mainly to Sudan, a study of the movement’s ideology is relevant for a number of reasons.