Are Muslims inherently inhumane, savage, and evil? No, Muslims are ordinary people, just like anybody else. They are fathers, mothers, sons, and brothers. They are your coworkers and your next-door neighbors. Only a minority of Muslims commit acts of violence. It is important to understand that not every Arab is a Muslim; not every Muslim is an Arab; and not every Muslim is an extremist.
But why do extremist Muslims act violently? Their actions are rooted in a dangerous Islamic teaching called Jihad.
Jihad is one of many sacred duties Muslims perform. The word Jihad is an Arabic word which means “struggle.” Jihad can mean striving to become a better Muslim, but it can also mean fighting in the name of Allah (their god). In this sense, Jihad is the struggle for the cause of spreading Islam, using all means available to Muslims, including force. This kind of Jihad is often referred to as “Holy War.”
In resorting to force, Muslims will not have any problems finding passages in the Quran (believed by Muslims to be Allah’s word), and the Hadith (Mohammed’s sayings as recorded by Al Bukhari), that not only condones violence but also demands it.
But despite the acts of terror committed against us, as Christians we cannot allow ourselves to react with hatred and violence, lest we fall into the same snare. We need to understand that the Muslim people are not our enemies. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Muslims are men and women who are trapped in the enemy’s snares and need our help.
It is not the Muslim people we oppose. No, we love Muslims. Our prayers are directed against the religious system that denies the life and liberty which are found only in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
We must preach the truth without compromise. We desire peace, but we cannot deny Christ as the only way to salvation or turn our backs on Christians who are persecuted for their faith.
We need to know that Islam is a religion that has blinded and enslaved more than one billion people. The Bible teaches that all people are created in the image of God and are valuable to Him. Jesus Christ loves the Muslims and died for them.
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us to love our neighbor. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37–39).
After September 11, 2001, many Muslims began to recognize the vindictive and destructive spirit of Islam and want something better. They are disillusioned with Mohammed and the Quran, but they believe in the existence of God. What a golden opportunity you and I have to share the Good News of Jesus Christ! Muslim hearts are yearning for the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Monthir Abdullatif is a missionary to the Islamic community in the United States and the Middle East.