Wednesday, September 1, 2010

RAMADAN & PROVOCATION IN THE U.S.A.


RAMADAN . . .


Laylat al-Qadr (lit. Night of Destiny) is the anniversary of the night Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. While the Quran does not provide a specific date, Laylat al-Qadr is traditionally believed to be found in the last 10 nights of Ramadan. Most Muslims observe Laylat al-Qadr or 'Night of Power' on the 27th night of Ramadan. The Quran describes Laylat al-Qadr as, 'better than a thousand months', for on that night the angels and the Spirit have God's permission to come down in answer prayer (Sura 97). This year, the Night of Power falls on or around the night of 5/6 Sept.

Throughout Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink, smoke or have sexual relations between sun-up and sun-down. The rigors of Ramadan elevate stress, frustration and Islamic zeal. In lands with pre-existing religious tensions, the last days of Ramadan can be days of extreme tension.

In pre-Islamic times, Ramadan was officially a month of peace when caravans could travel unarmed. With the Muslims in decline, Muhammad decided to reverse his flagging fortunes by attacking an unarmed caravan during Ramadan. When the Arabs protested, saying that warfare in the sacred month was a 'great transgression', Mohammad had a 'revelation' and declared that fitna (anything that could shake the faith of a Muslim) was worse than bloodshed (2:216-217). According to Muhammad biographer Husein Haykal, 'This revelation brought the Muslims relief, and the Prophet accepted his share of the booty' (Haykal p 210). Henceforth, Islamic fundamentalists from Egypt to Pakistan to Indonesia; and jihadists from Algeria to Kashmir to Thailand, routinely emulate Muhammad by escalating their jihad during Ramadan.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT:
  • our LORD Jesus Christ will surprise many Muslims this Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power) by revealing himself as the Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6)

  • our Sovereign God and Father will watch over and protect his children during these tense days, and 'frustrate the ways of the wicked' (Psalm 146:9 NIV).
. . . & PROVOCATIONS IN THE U.S.A.

This year, just as Ramadan reaches its conclusion, a church in USA, plans to hold an 'International Burn a Qur'an Day'. The day chosen for this event is 11 September, in commemoration of the thousands murdered by Islamic terrorists on 11 Sept 2001.

The church, Dove World Outreach in Gainesville, Florida, claims to be making a statement against Islam which it denounces as false religion, unable to save. While the statement is fine, the means is provocative in the extreme and not in the spirit of Christian grace. It is one thing for a Muslim convert to Christianity to burn his/her Quran as a sign of liberation. It is quite another thing for Christians to burn something precious and sacred to Muslims in the full knowledge that it will cause hurt and outrage. Muslims who have been spiritually searching will doubtless be repelled. Meanwhile, Muslims looking for a reason to kill Christians will be presented one on a platter.

There is already an enormous amount of momentum building for a violent response. Muslims have posted threats to jihadist websites expressing their intention to martyr themselves as bombers in the church. Members of the Al-Falluja jihadist forum (Iraq) have threatened to 'spill rivers of your (American) blood' and 'a war the likes of which you have never seen before'. In Indonesia, the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) has vowed to retaliate if the event goes ahead. On Friday 27 Aug, Muslims holding banners reading 'Destroy burners of the Quran' and 'Answer the Quran burning with Jihad', protested outside the US embassy in Jakarta. According to Roni Ruslan of Indonesia's Hizbut Tahrir, 'No one will be able to control this reaction.'

See:
International Protests Begin Ahead of Sept. 11 Koran Burning Event in Florida
FoxNews.com, 27 August 2010

Florida church plans to burn Quran on 9/11 anniversary
AFP, 1 Aug 2010,

FPI vows to retaliate over Koran burning
Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Fri, 27 Aug 2010

Planned holy Quran burning protested by Indonesian Muslims
Ahlul Bayt News Agency, 29 Aug 2010

Also -- 2 appeals from INDIA:
"The MBMC, FMSA and AMU community strongly condemns the call given by the Dove World Outreach Centre, Florida which may throw the world into turmoil."
AND
Two Christian human rights activists in India, J. G. Anthony and RL Francis, have appealed to United States ambassador to India in New Delhi, urging that President Obama intervene to halt the Qur'an burning event, which they believe could trigger religious conflict around the world.

IkhwanWeb.com, the website of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), reports that Dr. Diaa Rashwan, the MB's expert at Egypt's Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, describes the Qur'an-burning event as "exceedingly dangerous", adding that "a serious crisis will arise and extremism will be initiated in the Muslim world. . ."

See: Burning of Quran evident aggression against Muslims
IkhwanWeb, The Muslim Brotherhood's Official English web site, 4 Aug 2010

Of course Dr. Rashwan's assertion that the event would be a violation the rights of Muslims is rubbish. There is no such right as the right not to be offended. The Qur'an-burning event will be wrong not because it violates Muslims' rights, but because it violates Christ's law of love.

FOR:
Jesus said: "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12).
AND:
when Lawyer asked Jesus, "'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?' . . . [Jesus] said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'" (Matthew 22:36-40)

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT:

* Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World Outreach, might be sensitive to the Spirit's call for means consistent with the gospel of grace -- for the sake of witness, and so that others might not have to suffer the consequences of his deliberately provocative action.

"For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.'" (Galatians 5:14)

(Bible texts from English Standard Version)

By the way:

The guys from Acts 17 Apologetics have released a brilliant YouTube film entitled, The Original Burn the Quran Day which recounts the unconvential manner in which the modern Qur'an was compiled. Highly recommended.