In this article I would like to discuss a solution to Islamic terrorism. While most of us have come to know this is as “terrorism”, the definition of terrorism is actually quite broad and non-specific. For this reason I will use the term Islamic terrorism for the sake of accuracy. It should also be noted that this article is not arguing where Islamic terrorism ranks among the numerous threats to the world.
Islamic terrorism is, to say the least, a very persistent problem. Untold numbers of nations have attempted to eradicate Islamic terrorists. My home nation of The United States coined the term “Global War On Terror” over 15 years ago and has spent over 2 trillion dollars in an effort to combat this threat. Under the guise of fighting Islamic terrorism The United States and the United Kingdom have also built the largest surveillance system is the world. The motives of such actions can be debated, but the results are clear. Islamic terrorism is as prevalent today as it was 15 years ago. Why can’t the world find a solution to this problem? Maybe it is because we are fighting an ideological war with physical armaments. Let me explain.
In order to identify a way to stop terror attacks, we must find the common denominator. So, what does every act of Islamic terrorism have in common? Each act is a violent attack by an individual who’s motive is rooted in the religion of Islam. The individual has a deep rooted and very personal belief that these violent acts are what Allah wants from them. This shows us that the problem lies in the belief system of the individual. What if that belief system changed? Imagine how different the actions of this person would be if they knew the Truth? Imagine If they understood that Christ, not Muhammad, is the example they are to follow. Imagine if they knew God wants them to Love their enemies and that forgiveness is better than vengeance. Imagine if these individuals were motivated by the Prince of Peace instead of the “religion of peace”.
Changing the belief system of a terrorist is no easy task. The motives of Islamic extremists are intensely personal and cannot be changed but the distant centralized efforts that Governments produce. The real soldiers we need fighting Islam are not the brave men and women of the military. It is the Christian Missionaries. Only these passionate warriors motivated by love can effect such a personal change on the individual level. But is the religion of Christianity up to the challenge? Can the Gospel of Christ really bring about such a dramatic change to an individual or culture? I argue that it can, and it has. But do not take my word for it, lets look at some incredible examples.
Can the Gospel of Christ change a culture of violence?
One of the best examples of this comes to us through the story of an isolated tribe in Indonesia known as the Sawi tribe. The Sawi tribe was a native tribe with a value system that few would find acceptable. These people held treachery and violence in the highest regard. In their culture, a great achievement would be to murder a close friend. This was not the worst tradition among this particular tribe. They were also cannibals. Just days before Christian Missionary Don Richardson arrived the tribe had finished the ceremonial eating of the brains of a recent victim.
Soon after arriving, the Missionary found himself in the middle of a tribal war. The missionaries began begging for peace. After much convincing the leader of the Sawi people agreed and offered his enemy what was known as a Peace Child. The Sawi leader would gift his only child to the enemy. As long as this child lived, there would be peace. With his heart softened by the loss of his own son, the Sawi leader was among the first to accept Christ. Soon the whole tribe began believing the in the Gospel. Once a culture of head hunters and cannibals, the Sawi were now a peaceful loving people. Fifty years later the same missionary family returned to the Sawi people and found they had remained a peaceful christian community. Upon his return, missionary Don Richardson realized that for the first time the young Sawi men, without their culture of death, lived to be elders in the community.
Can the Gospel of Christ change a man’s view towards his enemy?
One of my favorite examples of forgiveness and love turning enemies into friends takes us to a remote village in Ecuador. In 1956 five Christian missionaries attempted to make contact with the Huaorani tribe. This tribe was known throughout the region for being exceptionally violent. Small native tribes and large oil companies alike warned the missionaries to avoid going into this territory. Eager to share the Gospel of Christ these men ignored the warnings. While they had some encouraging encounters with members of the Huaorani tribe, on January 8th 1956 they were attacked and speared to death. Mercilessly slaughtered each one of these men had a gun, but refused to kill the natives, even in self defense.
Amazingly the Gospel of Christ, the families of the slain missionaries responded with love instead of vengeance. In a moment of incredible understanding Steve Saint stated that his fathers death was something he now had in common with the other children of the Huaorani tribe. The widows of the slain missionaries took it upon themselves to continue to share Christ with the tribe. Living among them and becoming friends, these woman proved that the love of Christ can overcome the boundary of enemies.
The Huaorani tribe had been in a state of perpetual war for at least five generations before Christ changed the hearts of the people. With Christianity as their new belief system the homicide rate fell 90% within a few months. As time passed what should have been bitter enemies became family.
Has the Gospel of Christ ever changed an Islamic terrorist?
Outlined in his own book “Son of Hamas”, Mosab Hussan Yousef’s life gives us one of the best possible examples of Christianity being a solution to Islamic terrorism. The eldest son of the leader of Hamas found himself surrounded by violence at a very young age. Near the age of 18 Mosab found himself in an Israeli prison, witnessing the interrogation methods of the Israelis. The methods used by Israel are brutal, but to Mosab they seemed humane compared to Hamas. This, combined with his doubts about Islam compelled Mosab to become a spy for Israel. Embedded inside the terror group, Mosab became the most valuable source of information about Hamas.
Then in 1999 everything began to change. A Christian missionary became friends with Mosab. Over the next six years Mosab slowly began to understand and accept Christ. By the year 2008 Mosab had publicly denounced Islam and was exiled from his family and homeland. Granted asylum in the United States, this one time Islamic terrorist now spends his time speaking out against his own heritage. The Son of Hamas, now motivated by the love of Christ has become a voice for peace!
However, even with historical examples and passionate people ready to fight, reaching Muslim’s with the message of Christ is very difficult. Islam has many teachings that specifically oppose Christianity. Combined with the intense personal cost of leaving the Muslim faith and often hostile environments, progress can be slow. But I invite you to consider the idea with me. While it may seem implausible, how plausible is it that a problem as pervasive as Islam can be solved with guns and bombs? The only answer to lies is Truth. The only answer to hate is Love.
Send in the Missionaries