Muslim Militance

Not all Baptists are alike. Now that I have stated the mother of all understatements let me spin off that principle.

Not all Muslims are alike. There are some genuinely peaceful ones. I have a number of acquaintances in the middle east who are. Some are passive or neutral about their faith. They practice their faith and are not concerned about persons of other faiths. They tolerate different faiths. A segment is militant about their faith believing it to be the only true faith. Among these are those who believe in their faith so strongly they want to annihilate persons of other faiths. These form the nucleus of the terrorist organizations. It is for them a matter of religion.

It is a struggle as old as Abraham’s sons Isaac and Ishmael.

The Bible says Abraham was promised a son who would extend his lineage through the ages as a great race.

Sarah, his wife, was 90 years of age when Abraham was given the promise. Because her age made the likelihood of childbearing improbable she gave her handmaid, Hagar, to Abraham for her to bear the son. This was not an uncommon practice in the era. Hagar bore Ishmael.
The Bible teaches Ishmael was not the child of promise. Sarah was the one by whom the heir was to be born. At the age of 100 Sarah bore Isaac whom Scripture says was the rightful descendent through which the promise was to be kept.

The story as told in the Bible Book of Genesis (11:29 -25:10) was written around the second millennium B.C. In the Bible narrative Abraham recognized God as the Almighty Lord and Author of the covenant by which the Hebrews would become a mighty nation.

Fast forward. A young Arab named Muhammad was impressed that the Jews and Christians had a book and the Arab people didn’t. He called them “the people of the book.” Actually the Bible is intended for all people and contains wonderful promises to the Arabs, the descendants of Ishmael (Genesis 16:10 & 21:20).

Muhammad wrote what is known as the Koran, the holy book of the Muslims. Semitic scholars agree there was no evidence of the Koran until 691 A.D., 59 years after the death of Muhammad. Much of what is known of Muhammad is based on texts that were written 300 years after his death.

The version of Abraham’s descendants varies greatly in the Koran and the Bible. In the Koran Ishmael becomes the child of promise and his descendants, the Arabic people, the chosen people.

Both accounts can’t be right. For the militant Muslims this is the point to be defended. If the Bible is right the Koran contains error. Thus, the militant defense. Again I want to note not all Muslims are incited to Jihad over this issue but to some it is so vital as to merit a holy war to defend the honor of the Koran and its teachings. Osama Bin Laden is exhibit “A” of the zealous Muslims who are motivated by their religious beliefs to defend the honor of the religion by militant means against unbelief. Those persons in Iraq now decrying the presence of the Coalition Forces in Iraq are of this school of thought. Their zeal prompts them to insist on a Muslim State governed by the Koran. In Iraq there are many Muslims who are appreciative of what has been done to free them from their suppressive ruler who was himself, at least in name, a Muslim.

The holy books are the nexus of the conflict for those Muslims who are militant.