The Crusade against Christians

Priorities

Those who have declared war on the West are telling us who they hate.

Somali-born U.S. citizen Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was just nabbed by the FBI for trying to murder thousands of people at a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony the weekend after Thanksgiving in Portland’s central square. “I want whoever is attending that event,” the would-be mass murderer said, “to leave either dead or injured.” His choice of a Christmas-related event was no quirk.

Last year, Nigerian citizen Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, attempted to detonate plastic explosives stashed in his underwear during Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit. The date of the foiled attack? December 25. A video by al-Qaeda in Yemen last year shows Abdulmutallab justifying his attack against “the Jews and the Christians and their agents.”

Are you starting to sense a pattern?

Then there’s Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist who murdered 13 people and wounded 30 more at the Fort Hood Army base on November 5, 2009. Hasan earlier had told an associate that “you’re not supposed to have alliances with Jews or Christian or others, and if you are killed in the military fighting against Muslims, you will go to hell.”

Next we come to Osama bin Laden, who characterized U.S. troops in Lebanon as “crusader forces.” Crusaders, of course, were the fighters of Christendom during the Middle Ages who ignored the teachings of Christ and attempted to forcibly regain control of the Holy Lands from Muslims—often brutally. Whether out of ignorance or malice, bin Laden frequently conflates that ancient mob with the highly trained armed forces of the United States, many members of which would not claim to be Christians.

Concerning a 1996 attack in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. servicemen, bin Laden stated, “The crusader army became dust when we detonated al-Khobar with courageous youth of Islam fearing no danger.”

After the deadly 1998 attacks against the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the leader of al Qaeda told Al Jazeera, “Every Muslim, from the moment they realize the distinction in their hearts, hates American[s], hates Jews, and hates Christians. This is a part of our belief and our religion.”

After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, and President Bush’s unfortunate characterization of the American response to the terrorists as a “crusade,” bin Laden broadcasted a statement that further clarified his motives. Christians were again on his mind.

“This war is fundamentally religious,” bin Laden said. “The people of the East are Muslims. They sympathized with Muslims against the people of the West, who are the crusaders.”

Further, the terrorist leader seems to also label Jews and Christians as infidels: “We must be loyal to the believers and those who believe that there is no God but Allah. We should also renounce the atheists and infidels. … God says: ‘Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion.’ It is a question of faith, not a war against terrorism, as Bush and Blair try to depict it.”

So as much as our leaders try to stress that this is a generic “war on terror” or a challenge against “man-caused disasters,” the Islamists trying to kill us see the conflict as religious in nature. It’s not a question of us turning it into a religious war. They have already announced a religious war—a new crusade—on all of us, whether we have agreed to their terms or not. And they particularly have placed Christians and Jews in their crosshairs.

What does that mean for the West? First, it means that many Americans who are not very religious have unexpectedly found themselves in the middle of a religious war. Whether we believe in God, or karma, or human reason alone, we are all at risk. After all, a bomb does not distinguish between Christian, Jew, atheist, or Muslim before it maims or kills. The bin Ladens of this world see us all as crusaders or infidels—in other words, as legitimate targets. It matters not whether our faith is vibrant, lukewarm, or nonexistent.

Second, it means that Christians, Jews, and indeed all peace-loving people must unite against a common foe, much as we did against the Third Reich. Our survival may depend on it.

What special message does this new crusade send to those of us who take our stand on Jesus Christ as the foundation of our lives? Since we are now official targets of the Muslim terrorists, doesn’t it make sense to live what we say we believe? It is senseless to die for the name of Christ if you’re not willing to live for him.

Persecution, of course, has been a persistent reality for believers, Christian and Jew, across the ages. Why should we be surprised by the hatred of the Islamists? As the Apostle Paul said, “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” That all includes us, even in the formerly comfortable West.

For whatever reason in God’s sovereign plan, persecution is finally coming around to Western Christians. As this war will likely last for generations (since it was generations in the making), we may face the unholy wrath of the Islamists for a long, long time. While this is a scary prospect, at a minimum it may help us to better understand and respond to the unjust suffering that our Christian brothers and sisters around the world are experiencing right now.

For example, on the evening of October 31, armed Muslim extremists in Baghdad took over the Our Lady of Salvation church. When Iraqi police stormed the building, a suicide bomb was detonated, killing 58 people and wounding another 78. After the attack, al Qaeda in Iraq warned, “All Christian centers, organizations and institutions, leaders and followers are legitimate targets for the mujahedeen wherever they can reach them.” It also threatened to carry out more attacks against Christians in other countries. The Obama administration called the attack “senseless.” Unfortunately, such carnage makes perfect sense to the new crusaders.

Meanwhile, Asia Bibi, charged with insulting Muhammad under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law, has just become the first woman there to receive a death sentence under it. The 45-year-old mother of five, already imprisoned for over a year, allegedly is guilty of “wounding the religious feelings” of some Muslim neighbors.

Outrageous? Of course. But get ready for more of it. A new crusade is upon us.

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