I am continually perplexed when I have heard Western political leaders defending Islam as a loving, peaceful and tolerant religion. It is as if they are saying, "Please, please, please be tolerant, peaceful and loving, because if you are not, and the true face of Islam is the jihadists, then we will be scared to death and will not be able to face it." Such political leaders project their view that all religions are essentially the same and teach the same truths (or the same trivial non-realities)! However, the truth is that not one Islamic country embraces true religious freedom. True religious freedom of conscience does not exist and conversion from Islam results in the penalty of death. This is almost universal and foundational in the Muslim world.

For Messianic Jews the foundational issue is the Lordship of Yeshua. We know that no movement or religion that denies Yeshua's Lordship can be wonderful. Indeed, those religions that were founded in the denial of biblical New Covenant truth present a danger to mankind even if there are good things in some of their teachings and practices. So we stand in the Middle East in a difficult situation and proclaim to Jews and Arabs alike that Yeshua is Lord. (We do partner with vibrant Arab evangelists!)

Is Violence Part of the Character of Islam: How can we know?

How can you know that Islam is not in essence loving, peaceful and tolerant? In my view, the most important books ever written to answer this question are by Andrew Bostom: Islamic Jihad and Islamic Anti-Semitism. These books emphasize prime source documents and include multiple authors. I encourage all our readers to own and read these volumes.

I list here the keys to know with certainty the character of Islam on this one question of violence. There are other issues like the place of women that we will not address, although there are violence issues in connection with that subject.

1. The Koran, especially in the later texts, calls for war as the means of extending Islam and calls for death for pagans that will not submit after they are conquered. It prophesies the violent end of the Jewish people.

2. The Hadith which recounts stories about Mohammed, presents many incidents of his violent treatment of peoples, multiple beheadings of those conquered and more. It is fully approved.

3. The great majority of Muslim scholars and commentators over the centuries argue that the later texts of the Koran supersede the more tolerant earlier texts. They affirm the importance of war in extending Islam when the chances of success seem good. They also affirm capital penalties as a means of maintaining loyalty to Islam.

4. There is no evidence that the majority of leading scholars today have eschewed and repudiated war and violence as a means of extending Islam. There are some groups of Muslims that have done so, but I believe that a survey would show the majority would not repudiate the example of Mohammed and the early leaders of the faith as a model for today.

Jihadism is a return to roots. Jihadists believe the reason for the decline of the Arab world is unfaithfulness. They teach that Muslims need to come to a place of unity and to go forth to conquer, to establish the worldwide caliphate. Again, everyone who wants to hold that Islam is tolerant is duty bound to examine the conditions of Christians in countries where Islam holds sway (some countries do not allow any Christians). There is not one Islamic country where Christians are not under duress and suffering persecution. Their governments, whether secular or religious, do not enforce protection. If Islam conquered Israel, the devastation for Jews and Arab Christians would be horrible. In addition, this would embolden jihadist Islam to further conquests everywhere. The West is largely blind to this and the world media stubbornly refuses to report even well-documented incidents of incitement, violence and persecution.

The majority of Muslims worldwide are not jihadists. However, this is not in accord with the consensus of the historic interpretive tradition and many are becoming radicalized. The more one submits to this tradition, the more one sees war as the legitimate way to extend Islam. The most telling question would be, "Is offensive war a legitimate means to extend Islam?" Perhaps we should have a poll to find out the percentages.

So why do Muslims become enraged when these very solid facts are pointed out. There are several reasons. First there are some moderate Muslims that are simply in denial and do not want to face the reality on the ground. (There are some Muslims that say many of the same things and are working for a foundational change in Islam.) Secondly, there are Muslims that are part of a stealth jihad, using immigration as a means for a future take-over of other countries that later could include violence. They want to keep the Western nations in deception. Those who reveal the reality are said to be Islam-o-phobic.

Sadly there are a number of Christians, including Evangelicals, that project and embrace of the legitimacy of Islam. Islam is embraced as good for Muslims and the need for the Gospel is diminished. This kind of wobbly (to quote Margaret Thatcher) Christianity is not biblical and will not extend the Kingdom in the Muslim world.

A Tikkun Response

What is the response to all of this in Tikkun? It is to support the courageous Arab Christians who are evangelizing their own people. These bold witnesses are in danger for their lives, but are bringing the truth of the Gospel to their people. Some have been threatened, some have established underground churches, and some (we recently hosted a couple involved in this dynamic ministry) are engaged in producing satellite broadcasts into the Islamic world. It is important for us to love the Arab people and other peoples under the bondage of Islam. God's heart is to deliver these masses of people from bondage.

We believe that reconciliation and unity between Arab Christians and Messianic Jews is of great importance. Arab Christians have great potential as effective witnesses to the Jews. For a Jew, to find Arabs who genuinely love and care for them, who are forgiving in regard to their suffering, can be very impressive. We have not begun to see Arab Christians give themselves to a primary focus of Jewish outreach. If they are linked with Messianic Jewish communities, this could produce great gains.

We believe that the Lordship of Yeshua is the key to brotherhood in the Middle East. Nothing short of this will bring lasting peace and overcome the violence and prejudice prevalent in the region.

By Daniel Juster

Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International. Donate to Tikkun International.

Let us know what you think - why not comment to this article. The authors of these articles are often involved in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most comments. As is normal with print and online magazines, Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we feel are edifying in tone and content.
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11:19 01Dec10 Bonnie -
So encouraged to hear of this side of ministry - Arab Christians to Jews hand in hand with Messianic Jews! Awesome! And a good prayer point!

12:03 01Dec10 Chris Moyler -
Thank you once again for helping us keep our eye on the ball. Islam is not an alternative path to God, and the oppression of Jews and Christians in Muslim-majority countries is crystal clear illustration of this truth.

13:28 01Dec10 Peter Hartgerink -
Excellent - insightful and encouraging.

15:23 01Dec10 June -
I appreciate what you have to say. Being in an Islamic country, I am seeing what the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is doing. Many Arabs are being touched in amazing ways and their influence, I think, can bring great growth to believers in Yahshua!

18:03 01Dec10 Max Legg -
I agree exactly with what you are reporting. Another book I felt very helpful was "Islam and Terrorism" by Mark Gabriel. Mark was a leading Lecturer at the Islamic University in Cairo ... miraculously set free and is now living in the United States. May our great and Mighty God open the eyes of the Muslems to God the Son, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

21:09 01Dec10 Judy Doyle -
Since Yeshua (Jesus) died for all peoples, tribes, etc. I believe that unless He becomes Lord of deceived Muslim peoples, there can never be peace in the Middle East. Sadly, some in the West have lost sight of the fact that there but for the grace of God go I re. being deceived too by the Islamic religion. Only the Truth will set any of us free.

22:12 01Dec10 R Ebuwa -
My son and his girlfriend are currently spending their year abroad in Jordan, as part of their four-year University course in Arabic. Prior to leaving the UK, they were full of excitement and the best kind of anticipation. Now they are both experiencing a kind of extended (as in ongoing) cultural shock at the way things really are, for the locals! As long as 'the world media stubbornly refuses to report incidents of incitement, violence and persecution' against non-muslims, but mostly Jews, the whole Middle-East region continues to be a huge pot of molten lava.
Articles like this one are vital to keep westerners au fait with what's really going on.

  -- Dr Juster replies: A great comment. Thank you for writing.

23:19 01Dec10 Debra Whitney -
I was just there in Israel at the Harvest Conference. Now I am at home and continue to go to morning prayer for Israel. You have given me more thought for prayer about praying that Arab Christians will spread mightly to love their Jewish brothers and sisters. Thank you for all your teaching on Islam; I agree with all of it. You must have heard of the terrorist who plotted to bomb in Portland, OR; now the news is giving much attention to sympathizers at a Portland Mosque because a fire was started in it. It is important not to be in denial and yet pray with a loving heart for our enemies.

  -- Dr Juster replies: I agree with your comments Debra. Persecution against Muslims in the US is hardly existent. There is some very little but much more against Jews. The media now favors them. So this fire will be given major stories, but Islamic crimes and honor killings even in the US will be played down.

03:17 02Dec10 Akinsola -
I agree. Thank you, this is a refreshing article to read. It is crucial that Christians worldwide join in prayer and support for Arab Christians.

04:13 02Dec10 Sandra Meeks -
This article is right on track. Thank you, you have written what I have believed.

09:35 02Dec10 Pam Davis -
I have been blessed to witness some of what you describe from two trips to Israel and the middle east in 2008 and 2010. Our small group leaders were an Arab Christian and a messianic Jew who gave us great teaching of the history and culture and daily modeled Yeshua in their interactions. In old Cairo this year I was interviewed by Muslim students from Cairo U. who were filming a documentary for their senior mass communications project. Imagine my joy when God provided an opening for me to share Is. 19 with them! They were opened mouthed, dumbfounded when they learned where the quote was from. The same group spotted my necklace which was a quote from Song, "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine", witten in both Hebrew and Arabic. Their responses were precious; precious people!

22:52 02Dec10 Lauren -
Impressive is not the only word. I also believe there is a provoking to jealousy here. The testimony of Yeshua, bearing witness with the Holy Spirit producing the "manifestation" of LOVE! It would have to make one curious of this "heart attitude change", producing a great platform to introduce Yeshua.

12:56 04Dec10 Sara -
Your point about Evangelical Christains protecting and embracing the legitimacy of Islam is right on point. As an Evangelical Christian, I am emboldened by the scripture: I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me (John 14:6). We must share biblical truth with our Islamic brothers and sisters!

17:15 05Dec10 L.Deborah Woods -
I do very much appreciate the time and study that goes into the writing of these various articles. I'm an information kind of person, so I always am drawn to information about biblical topics. All the great generals throughout the history of the world practiced getting to know their enemies. We should likewise learn the same thing, and profit from it. I was a missionary for years in a predominantly Roman Catholic nation. I always told the local pastors to study the opposing beliefs and then try to find a common denominator with someone whom you are trying to reach for the Gospel's sake. Indeed the gospel is for all men, even our enemies in the faith.

08:41 16Dec10 David Wright -
I have been hearing this week about Arab Christian young people in Nazareth, now about 60% Muslim, on fire with the holy spirit going out on the streets praying for the sick in the name of Yeshua and seeing them healed. Nazareth is under Israeli control, so while there is persecution of the Arab believers it is not violent. Many of the believers there have links to local messianic congregations.

Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Moshe Morrison: Longing For Home
Marty Shoub: Reaping A Harvest
Asher Intrater: Abraham & Lot "Why Did Lot Tarry?"