Two Responses to Insults
9 January 2015
 
 
The latest Islamic atrocity this week was the killing of eight journalists from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, along with two police officers, a maintenance worker and a visitor.

Their Muslim murderers claimed that they were killed because the magazine had repeatedly published articles which, in their opinion, “insulted” the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. For such a “crime,” these journalists and the others were calmly mowed down in cold blood. According to witnesses, the gunmen shouted, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad!”

In 2012, Charlie Hebdo editor Stéphane Charbonnier stated in an interview: “I am not afraid of reprisals, I have no children, no wife, no car, no debt. It might sound a bit pompous, but I’d prefer to die on my feet rather than living on my knees.”

A year later, Mr. Charbonnier was placed on al-Qaeda’s most wanted list, “dead or alive for crimes against Islam,” along with ten others who energetically oppose Islam. Knowing how demonically, savagely violent fundamentalist followers of Islam are, I would not be at all surprised if this hit list gets a few more Xs across it this year.

There are no true “crimes against Islam.” Such issues exist only in the imaginations of Muslims. The major crime of the West regarding Islam is its whitewashing of the evils of Islam and the willingness of the West’s politicians and media to spread Islamic propaganda as if it were the truth. For this crime the West will suffer greatly in the coming months and years.

Although it would be inaccurate to generalize by saying that ALL Muslims are rejoicing over the Islamic slaughter in Paris, there are a significant number of Muslims who ARE rejoicing. Just as a significant number of “Christians” were rejoicing when Osama bin Laden was murdered by the U.S. military. Satan is the inspiration for the rejoicing of BOTH of these groups, because God is NOT rejoicing. The first Islamic response to insults goes all the way back, naturally, to Muhammad himself. In his excellent book The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion, author Robert Spencer writes that near the end of his life,
Muhammad was determined to wipe out every remnant of opposition to his rule. He set his sights now on two poets, Abu ‘Afak and ‘Asma bint Marwan, who had mocked him and his prophetic pretensions in their verses.

Abu ‘Afak was reputed to be over one hundred years old, and had dared to criticize in verse Muhammad’s killing of another of his opponents. Muhammad asked his men, “Who will deal with this rascal for me?” He found a ready volunteer in a young Muslim named Salim bin ‘Umayr, who dispatched the old poet as he lay sleeping.

‘Asma bint Marwan, a poetess, was incensed when she heard of the murder of Abu ‘Afak. She wrote verses denigrating the men of Medina for obeying “a stranger who is none of yours,” and asked, “Is there no man of pride who would attack him by surprise and cut off the hopes of those who expect anything from him?”

When Muhammad heard of this, he looked for a volunteer to kill her: “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?” A Muslim named ‘Umayr bin ‘Adiy al-Khatmi took the job, and killed her along with her unborn child that very night. But after he had done the deed, ‘Umayr began to worry that perhaps he had committed a grave sin. Muhammad reassured him: “You have helped God and His apostle, O ‘Umayr!”

But would he incur punishment? “Two goats,” replied the Prophet of Islam, “won’t butt their heads about her.”

The men of ‘Asma bint Marwan’s tribe, the Banu Khatma, “saw the power of Islam” in her killing — so says Ibn Ishaq. They duly acknowledged Muhammad as the Prophet of Allah.
These victims of intolerance were only two members of Muhammad’s Dead Poets Society. Through these incidents, Muhammad set the precedent for Muslims to follow for the past 1,400 years. As Mr. Spencer writes in another part of the same book,
The Qur'an and Islamic tradition are clear that the Prophet [Muhammad] is the supreme example of behavior for Muslims to follow. His importance to hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide is rooted in the Qur'an, the Muslim holy book.

In brief, he is “an excellent model of conduct” (Qur'an 33:21). He demonstrates “an exalted standard of character” (68:4), and indeed, “he who obeys the Messenger [Muhammad], obeys Allah” (4:80).

The Qur'an frequently tells Muslims to obey Allah and Muhammad: while the Muslim holy book takes for granted that Muhammad is fallible (cf. 48:2; 80:1-12), it also instructs Muslims repeatedly to obey Muhammad (3:32; 3:132; 4:13; 4:59; 4:69; 5:92; 8:1; 8:20; 8:46; 9:71; 24:47; 24:51-56; 33:33; 47:33; 49:14; 58:13; 64:12). Any devout Muslim will take this seriously.
Violence against opponents of Islam continues even in our modern “enlightened” age. Perhaps the most infamous example of this was the murder of Theo van Gogh in 2004. The very fact that there IS an Islamic hit list, targeting these outspoken critics of Islam, speaks volumes. Whether their names are on this list or not, anyone who speaks out about the evils of Islam is a target. They include:
 
       
Now that we have seen the violent way in which Muhammad dealt with insults, let’s examine how Yeshua (Isa, Jesus) dealt with them. The four Gospels record that Yeshua was insulted numerous times, especially during His execution on the cross. The apostle Peter, Yeshua’s close friend and devoted follower, wrote:
To this you were called, because Messiah suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.” When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Father God who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:21‑23)
In light of Yeshua’s example for His disciples to follow, Peter wrote later in the same book:
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9)

If you are insulted because of the name of Messiah, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (1 Peter 4:14)
This teaching is consistent with the teaching of Yeshua Himself:
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11‑12)

“Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of Me, the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.” (Luke 6:22‑23)
The apostle Paul lived out this teaching in his daily life. Therefore, he wrote,
For Messiah’s sake I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
And the author of the book of Hebrews wrote to the Jewish followers of Yeshua:
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (Hebrews 10:32‑35)
Where are the Christian hit lists for those who insult Yeshua? He is routinely insulted in the most vile ways, yet Christians are NOT on the rampage, murdering others as a result.

Obviously, there is a night and day difference between the example Muhammad gave and the example Yeshua gave, between the followers of Muhammad and the followers of Yeshua, and between the God of the Bible and the god of the Qur'an. The jihad in France this week is certainly not the beginning of Islamic jihad, and it most definitely is NOT the end. So how are followers of Yeshua to respond to current and future attacks by Muslims?

The simple answer is that we are to follow in Yeshua’s footsteps. That means that we are to overcome evil with good and live Yeshua’s lifestyle of non-violence.

Most, if not all, governments will respond to Muslim violence with their own violence, and fight Islamic jihad with their own jihad. Many people, like those who worked at Charlie Hebdo, whether from the left or the right, religious or atheist, will mock and ridicule Islam. Neither of these approaches is following in Yeshua’s footsteps.

Yeshua loved Muslims enough to lay down His life for them, so that they might “be saved and come to know the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). He died so that Muslims could be set free from their slavery to the demonic impostor-god Allah.

What about us? Will we follow Yeshua’s example? Do we love Muslims enough to share Yeshua’s sufferings and lay down our lives for them as well? Are we willing to stick our necks out for Muslims, or will we shrink back in fear because we love self more than we love them?
The eight Charlie Hebdo journalists were killed taking a stand for what they believed in. But they were not martyred because of their devotion to Yeshua or because they were furthering the Kingdom of God. Rather, they gave their lives for the man-made Western gods of freedom and democracy. They were ready to die standing in the defense of these false gods, rather than live bending the knee in submission to Islam.

The example of these pagans puts us followers of Yeshua to shame. We think nothing of blantantly disobeying Yeshua by loving our lives rather than laying them down for His sake and for the sake of the Gospel — see Mark 8:34‑38 and Matthew 16:24-‑27.

If pagans can lay down their lives for their false gods, how much more should those who consider themselves Christians follow the example of Yeshua and lay down their lives for the true God, the God of the Bible, the Father of Yeshua? If these journalists could die for the human concept of freedom of speech, how much more should followers of Yeshua be ready to die so that Muslims can be saved from an eternity in hell separated from God?

What else are we on this planet for? God didn’t put us here to have a long life, or a comfortable life, or lots of possessions, or a good career, or to dote on grandkids, or to defend freedom and democracy, or any other worldly, human, selfish concern. God gave us life so that we might know and love Him, and that we might love others by helping them to know Him.

Followers of Yeshua should not hate or fear the followers of Islam. Muslims are victims — not of Islamophobia, but victims of their demonic impostor-god Allah, a god who hates. They need to know the good news that Yeshua loves them and died for them, so that they can be forgiven for their sins and be reconciled to God, whom they can dare to call Father.
But how can they call on Yeshua to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Yeshua unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14‑15)
These words from the atheist former-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali are just as relevant now as they were when she wrote them four or five years ago:

Europe is sleepwalking into disaster — cultural, ideological, and political disaster — because the authorities of the church have neglected the immigrant ghettos.... I have a theory that most Muslims are in search of a redemptive God.... Many Muslims are seeking a God or a concept of God that in my view meets the description of the Christian God. Instead they are finding Allah....

Afflicted with pangs of white guilt, many prominent Christian theologians have also become accomplices of jihad.... the churches, both Catholic and Protestant, neglected to offer the new Muslim immigrants the spiritual guidance they sought.... These Christians were ecumenical to the point of making no attempt to convert those they sought to help....

The Christian leaders now wasting precious time and resources on a futile exercise of interfaith dialogue with the self-appointed leaders of Islam should redirect their efforts to converting as many Muslims as possible to Christianity, introducing them to a God who rejects Holy War and who has sent his son to die for all sinners out of love for mankind....

Perhaps if volunteers had more actively preached to these early immigrants and actively sought to convert them to Christianity, the tragedy of the unassimilable Muslim might have been avoided. Converts to Christianity would have recognized the radicals when they arrived and resisted the siren song of jihad.... This is a tragic story of countless missed opportunities.... How could this happen...?

Christian leaders assumed the passive position that people will be attracted to the church on their own and that the church had no business trying to persuade them of the superiority of the Christian God.... far too few people crossed the tracks and stretched a hand out to the Muslim families who moved into the housing projects of Europe. No priest matched the efforts of the [Muslims] with the box of cassette tapes.... The jihadis didn’t have any real competition; of course they spread....

The churches must have seen this happening, and yet for some reason didn’t seek to raise the alarm. They did not try to fight either the massive wave of conversions of traditional Muslims to fundamentalism or the smaller wave of conversions of people from historically Christian communities to Islam. The reason seems clear: the Vatican and all the established Protestant churches of northern Europe believed naïvely that interfaith dialogue would magically bring Islam into the fold of Western civilization. It has not happened, and it will not happen....

I would prefer to offer Muslims who cling to the idea of a creator and eternal life, a religious leader like Jesus, who said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s,” rather than a warrior like Muhammad, who demanded that the pious seek to gain power by the sword....

To help ground these people in Western society, the West needs the Christian churches to get active again in propagating their faith. It needs Christian schools, Christian volunteers, the Christian message.... The churches should do all in their power to win this battle for the souls of humans in search of a compassionate God, who now find that a fierce Allah is closer to hand....
To this stirring prophetic call I would add that we followers of Yeshua should not look to or wait for the man-made institutional church to take action. The sad reality is that that may never happen. Each follower of Yeshua must seek God with all of their heart to find out how they as individuals can begin to effectively reach Muslims with the really awesome news of Yeshua. Their eternal destiny hangs in the balance!

For the follow-up to this article, see Your Islamic Future: Death Threats
You can send comments to me privately at: shahid@yourislamicfuture.com
 
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