Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

New York City, Islam, and God's Providence

Written by Bill VanDoodewaard
Bill VanDoodewaard is currently a History and Bible Teacher at Providence Reformed Collegiate in London, Ontario. He is presently completing a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and is also the director of Reformed Internet MinistriesÕ outreach to Muslims, located at http://www.rim.org/muslim/islam.htm.
It was an ordinary Tuesday morning at Providence Reformed Collegiate, our Family Studies OAC class just under way after the morningÕs Bible class. Mr. VanOostveen, the school principal, walked in and announced Òthe World Trade Center Towers in New York City have apparently been hit by two airplanes and are on fire; the Pentagon as well has been hit by an airplane.Ó His matter of fact statement seemed surreal, as though it was some sort of test, or fire drill--the stuff of a fiction novel, or far-fetched movie plot. Yet there was a note of urgency in his voice, and as he went on to state that it was on the news and suggested that our class come and see, my disbelief turned to concern and wonder--understanding that a major calamity had finally come to shake North America.

Two thoughts popped into my mind as we made our way to the common room from the portable: the line of a pop song, Òit's the end of the world as we know itÓ and a weighty word of Scripture, Òvengeance is Mine saith the Lord.Ó

The images of one passenger jet after another slamming into the glass towers will never be forgotten. This past weekend as I walked in downtown London, I looked up at the Canada Trust towers and One London Place, and in my mind's eye could see a Boeing 767 curve through the quiet sky and crash through the skyscraper in a ball of flame.

Clouds of ash, people running, towers falling, office paper littering the streets. As the days followed, the reality of it all began to develop, while New York City continued to burn. Quickly it became clear this was the work of Islamic terrorists. Having studied Islam at university, attended mosques and Muslim rallies with Muslim friends, being part of an internet outreach to Muslims around the globe, part of a discussion forum involving top Christian scholars on Islam and front-line mission workers around the world, as well as having spent some time in the Middle East, and having worked to help those fleeing Islamic persecution, I was well aware of the realities of Islamic religion. While "moderate" varieties of Islam might denounce these terrible acts, there would be many Muslims who would feel sympathy for them; there was quiet sympathy to outright support within the Muslim communities in North America. Why? Because the Quran and hadith --the writings and sayings of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, so clearly indicate violence as a legitimate means of achieving religious-political dominance in the world.

The power and force of Islam as a dominating and expanding worldview is not to be underestimated. Its wily tenacity has been proven in its seamless transition to public relations damage control and use of the media following the September 11 attacks to propagate the "joy and peace" of Islam in the West. It is near amazing how Islam has taken the attacks as an opportunity to further spread its tenets by actively using the media. The ugly reality is that the only rule in Islam regarding the advancement of religion is to use whatever works best to advance Islam in any given situation. Islam is a conquering religion as a Somali-Canadian Muslim told me. He said, Òyou know our goal is to have Canada under the rule of Islamic law.Ó As is so often the case with false religions--we could learn much from their organization and zeal.

Muslim Student Associations, mosques and Islamic societies form a highly connected and media savvy organization. They actively pursue every possible media opportunity to proclaim Islam. At times, issues and situations are created if there is nothing else at hand. Then there are the yearly opportunities--as Ramadan rolls around again Muslims in London and across the nation will actively gain air-time on CBC, and local television stations, in order to present their religion as attractive and good. There will be many shots of families and children having a wonderful time in their North American homes. Every newspaper will carry positive articles on Ramadan. It is all part of the evangelistic tack of Islam in North America and Europe.

Much of the financing comes from the oil wealth of the Middle East--money used to fund everything from Islamic apologists, mosques, and media ÔeducationÕ of the West, to militant groups seeking to violently expand Islam on the edges of the Islamic political world (south Sudan, Nigeria, Algeria, India, Chechnya, Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey, the Balkans).

Muslims have a love-hate relationship with the West. They believe that our nations are ÒChristian,Ó and are disgusted and fearful of, yet at the same time attracted by our materialistic wealth and pursuit of sexual hedonism. In the more secular nations of the Middle East, imams and mullahs (Muslim religious leaders) have to contend with the culture of the West--ranging from SeinfeldÕs sex-laden humour, to Honda commercials, and outright pornography and homosexuality as it spills through the internet, music and television media. Muslims coming from the Middle East to Canadian and American universities, or immigrating outright, are further shocked by the ÒChristian lifestyleÓ of raves, drinking parties, and rampant sexual promiscuity. Speaking to the imam of the London Muslim Mosque several years ago, I was not surprised to find him passionately opposed to the morally destructive culture of the West. With him were some young Muslim men, whose hatred for Western culture shone from their eyes. These--the young men who would pursue after a life of Islamic Òmorality,Ó a religion of works and law, have much the same passion and vision as the Taliban did.

Watch your television critically for half an hour in the evening and you will quickly see it is no wonder that North America is seen as the Great Satan. Open your newspaper and read Romans 1 alongside it. As one writer bluntly declares: Òour present culture is the vomit of a dying civilization.Ó Indeed, when reading Revelation 18 on the evening of September 11, I was struck by the parallels and application of GodÕs righteous judgments to the recent events in New York City and the West. The prophet Jeremiah, speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, cried out, Òwho is the wise man who will understand these thingsÉ why does the land perish and burn up...?Ó And the Lord said, ÒBecause they have forsaken My law which I have set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts... consider and call for the mourning women...Ó

When we examine ourselves and our nation, we quickly realize that GodÕs judgments through pagan forces are a call to humility and repentance before Him. Sadly, so far the West has not learned much, if anything, on the national scale--our trust remains in Cipro, military might, financial power, and airline security. And our rebellion against Christ, the King, continues to grow by the day.

When we consider the spread of the darkness and futility of Islam, when we see a society, which continues to whistle along in the darkness of its blatant rebellion against God, we must be keen to see this unfolding of history in the light of GodÕs Word. History is in every detail part of GodÕs great tapestry of providence. It is the old story of the seed of the serpent warring against the Seed of the woman. As we watch various opposing evils clash around us, questions arise: will Western multicultural hedonism and wealth win out over Islam in the world? Or will the West crumble and self-destruct as the Roman Empire did, to be replaced by a new and rigid order of a false religion like Islam?

The order and power of Islam has gained increasing North American converts since September 11. It is the clash of two titans--two Goliath falsehoods, while we are the little David of Christianity in the midst. One thing is certain, though the West appears to be winning--at the present we have no reason to expect GodÕs blessing upon North America. Victory over militant Islam may well lead to a further hardening in wickedness and moral rot in the West. There is every reason to expect that as Jeremiah said, we will yet need to call upon the mourning women.

As we consider all of these things we need to realize that GodÕs judgments are also a means of chastising and warning His covenant people. So let us humble ourselves before God, that we might be exalted. Let us be keen to examine our personal lives, our own walk with God, as we consider the quick end to so many lives in the United States. Let us come again to find our cleansing and peace in Christ. We know from GodÕs Word that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His church--His bride will continue to grow in beauty and completion on the earth, His kingdom will continue to advance. His saints will persevere. Let us rejoice in His sovereign wisdom and might; let us pray that GodÕs judgments will lead to repentance and revival in our land, so that we may again expect national blessing and prosperity. Let us pray that the little David of Christianity may triumph in our lands!

ÒBlessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.Ó

ENDNOTES
1. There are numerous hadith texts that explicitly support the use of violence as a part of spiritual warfare. One of the major sources of hadith is that of Al-Bukhari. Bukhari records the following:

AllahÕs apostle (Muhammad) was asked, ÒWhat is the best deed?Ó He replied, ÒTo believe in Allah and his Apostle.Ó The questioner then asked, ÒWhat is the next (in goodness)?Ó He replied "to participate in Jihad in AllahÕs cause.Ó Vol.1, no.25.

Anas bin Malik records: AllahÕs Apostle vanquished them by force and their warriors were killed; their women and children were taken as captives. Vol.2, no.68.

These references are from the translation by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan entitled, The Translation of the Meaning of Sahih Al-Bukhari (Kazi Publications, Lahore, Pakistan, 1979). KhanÕs introduction to the Hadith includes a discourse on the nature of Jihad by Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Hamid, Sacred Mosque of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. According to Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Hamid, Muhammad, Òcommanded the Muslims to fight against all the pagans as well as against the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) if they do not embrace Islam, until they pay the Jizya (a tax of servitude levied on Jews and Christians who do not embrace Islam, but who are required to live under the confines of Islamic law.) p. xxiv. As Bukhari states ÒOur Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah alone or give Jizya.Ó Vol.4, no.386. To see the outworking of this in history an excellent source is Bat YeÕorÕs The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude (London: Associated University Press, 1996). Another excellent academic source tracing the varieties of Islam--in particular also the many conservative/fundamental streams of thought which directly impact the application of jihad see Andrew RippinÕs Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (London: Routledge, 1990).

2. For an example of one of the very real faces of Islam: a few years ago I attended a Muslim rally in London, Ontario, where the speaker called for those Christians in Canada converted from Islam to be killed--he said, Òthis is politically incorrect, but we know it is true to Islam, and we must live the truthÓ--and was cheered and applauded by the 200 or so members of the London Muslim community there. The speaker was Shawn Smith (Yayha Abdul Rahman), a Canadian citizen and convert to Islam, invited and sponsored to speak at the University of Western Ontario by the Western Muslim StudentÕs Association on November 13, 1995. For current resources on the doctrine of killing those who convert to Christianity from Islam see Abul Ala MawdudiÕs The Punishment of the Apostate According to Islamic Law (Mississauga, Canada: Syed Silas Husain, 1994). This contains recent pronouncements as well as Quranic and hadith source materials, and general Islamic scholarship. Originally published by Islamic Publishers Ltd., Lahore, Pakistan, 1972.

3. This includes the use of deliberate deception when advantageous (see KhanÕs translation of Bukhari vol.5, no.369). This is also directly rooted in the Quran, in Sura 3:28 and Sura 106:53. The doctrine of deceit is called taqiyah among the Shiite Muslims and is legitimate in advancing religious causes. Hence Muslim leaders in North America who actively preach violent warfare against the West, against secular culture, and against evangelical Christianity, were quick to line up behind the microphones to decry the events in New York City, and to extend their sympathy to innocent lives lost; seizing an atrocity produced by Islam to advance the cause of Islam in another way--especially once it became apparent that the United States of America and the West in general would not crumble so quickly as hoped under the terrorist onslaught.

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