Tag Archives: Islam

Peace with Ishmael

eyeseeyouAbraham is considered the father of the Arabs through Hagar, the mother of Ishmael.   Suicide bombings, honor killings, murder of innocent men, women and children…these people don’t think like we do!  We are all products of our belief system or worldview and those raised as radical Muslims are no exception.  Christian denominations debate and draw lines of fellowship but they are not shooting and bombing one another.  Sunnis hate the Shias and both of them hate us.  Why? I don’t know all the answers, but Genesis 16 predicted the nature of the progeny of Hagar (the Arabs, in whose culture Islam came to be):

“Behold, you are with child,
And you will bear a son;
And you shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction.
12 “He will be a wild donkey of a man,
His hand will be against everyone,
And everyone’s hand will be against him;
And he will live to the east of all his brothers”
(Genesis 16:11,12)

That is why our nation-building adventures in the Middle East are so misguided and ill-advised.  The Arabs and those influenced by Arab culture will never be subjugated or altered by those from Western cultures, notably Christian cultures.[i]

We have no business putting our soldiers on the ground in any Islamic country.  Read your history!  It has never worked and never will.  Iraq is a prime example and Afghanistan will soon be.  When we leave one of these hell-holes they revert back to some sort of lawless wastelands of violence they were previously.

Now we are being tempted to intervene in yet another Middle Eastern conflict in Syria.  The carnage there horrifies the West.  As the self-appointed policemen of the world, we think, “We must do something to stop this!” But now, word has it that Syrian rebels slaughtered groups of Christians until stopped by the Syrian loyalists.  If that is true, do we want to help the rebels come to power?  Will the new boss be the same (or worse than) the old boss?

I recently asked a career military man what we should do in the Middle East and he immediately began discussing weapons systems and military strategy.  It was psychologist Abraham Maslow who wisely observed, “If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”  People cannot be changed without a change in worldview.  The only way I know to change a person’s worldview is to cease hammering and introduce them to the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.  And, the only way I know to introduce people to Jesus Christ is to imitate Him.  And, the only way I know to imitate Him is to love our enemies.  And, the only way I know to love our enemies is to pray for them and do them good, not evil (Matthew 5:43-44; Luke 6:27; I Thessalonians 5:15).

If we spent as much time, resources and energy seeking to win the hearts and minds of our enemies as we have on violent “shock and awe;”…if we sent our young men and women on missions of peace instead of war, we would rob terrorists of their leverage.  I have to believe that we can overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

Would that cost lives?  Without a doubt.  But they would be lives given in the only strategy that will ever be effective in bringing peace and stability to this dark, violent and troubled region.


[i] I am using “Christian” in the broadest sense of the term and as a social construct as much or more than a religious one.  “Us” are Christians and “them” are those under the influence of radical (violent) Islam.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Arabia, Arabs, Change Agent, Culture Wars, Current Events, History, Ishmael, Islam, Jesus Christ, Middle East, Prophecy, Religion, Scripture, Terrorism

Like Night and Day, Darkness and Light, Love and Hate.

I can’t remember a time in recent history that has provided a greater contrast between Christianity and Radical Islam.

Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

Luke 6:22 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”

1 Peter 2:21-23 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;”

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Filed under Afghanistan, Attributes of God, Bigotry, Christlikeness, Current Events, Egypt, Good & Evil, Islam, Jesus Christ, Middle East, Peace, Religion, Scripture

Sharia Law

In a recent post I mentioned Sharia law.  For those of you who would like to know what it is…good luck.  No one seems to fully agree on (1) what it is, and (2) what its tenets are.  This post cannot delve into deeper aspects of Sharia law but perhaps will help promote a better, but very basic, understanding of it.

The meaning of the word Sharia is “The path to the source of water.” The writings of the Qur’an make up part of Sharia law but they are not the same thing. The rest of Sharia is a collection of rules and regulations about justice, cleanliness, government, business, family relations, food (no pork or alcohol), sex, etc. Some of Sharia comes from the Sunnah, which is drawn from examples of the Prophet’s way of life. It is not codified or collected into one document or even a group of documents. Because of this, major disputes can arise about what constitutes Sharia.

Justin Elliott[i] of Salon interviewed Abed Awad, a New Jersey-based attorney and an expert on sharia who regularly handles cases that involve Islamic law.  In response to Elliott’s question, Can you define sharia — is it a specific body of laws?” Awad said:

“After the two primary sources of Islamic law, the Quran and the Sunna, the two main secondary sources of Islamic law are: (1) ijma (consensus of the scholars and jurists, and sometimes the entire community), and (2) qiyas (reasoning by analogy to one of the higher sources).  Other secondary sources of Islamic law are juristic preference, public interest and custom. Sharia is extremely flexible and subject to various interpretations.”

Fatwas (legal decrees) supposedly arising from Sharia include beatings (of disobedient wives and others), stoning, cutting off hands, imposing taxes on infidels (or, death if they refuse), killing apostates, jihads, etc. In the more moderate and civilized (or Western ideas of it) regions harsh punishments are fairly rare. In truth, however, these penalties are subject to the whim of those in charge in various Muslim regions…hence the difficulty in determining exactly what Sharia is.

I will let the reader decide what he or she thinks about Sharia law.  I think you can guess how I feel.


[i] Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at jelliott@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More: Justin Elliott

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