- - Monday, April 4, 2016


Few issues divide the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates as starkly as their view of Islam. Republican front-runner Donald Trump claims flatly that “Islam hates us” while Sen. Ted Cruz, suggests we should begin patrolling Muslim neighborhoods in search of terrorist plots birthed by “radicalized” Muslims.

Meanwhile, President Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spend an inordinate amount of their time praising Muslim-Americans, citing the enormous contributions they’ve made to our country and way of life. Mrs. Clinton argues that what Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz have said and propose are offensive and “dangerous,” while Mr. Obama refuses to admit that today’s terrorists are in any way motivated by their religion.

At the same time, the Muslim community is deafeningly silent, and the radicals among them couldn’t be happier. Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are, in essence, enabling their cause by encouraging us to embrace Islam uncritically while turning a blind eye to the radical jihadists within its ranks. They are helping those who wish to lull us into complacency in the face of the threat they pose.

They reject Mr. Trump’s claim that there is something about Islam that “hates us” without asking whether it might be true, why it might be true and what can be done about it if it is. The Council on American-Islamic Relations says it is because we are Islamophobic, profiling Muslims and discriminating against them socially, politically and economically. These “reasons” play to the leftist sense of guilt, but the question remains: Why the repeated Muslim attacks? Is it because the “radicalized” Muslims are feeling disenfranchised and frustrated by a lack of opportunity? Paris attacker Najim Laachraoui had an engineering degree and the San Bernardino shooter, Syed Farook, held a good job in environmental health. The Chattanooga shooter who, last year, killed five U.S. servicemen, had a degree in electrical engineering. These men didn’t turn to terror because they couldn’t find work or were economically disadvantaged.

It’s time to end the argument about whether some Muslims have hijacked and perverted their faith. That is for the Muslims to work out among themselves. The fact is, these acts are being committed in the name of Allah and unless we understand that, we will never be able to deal with it.

Judeo-Christianity requires us to forgive and to accept responsibility, as we did for the Crusades and the Inquisition. Our inclination is to own up to our past mistakes rather than blame others.

Contrast that with Islam, and what the Koran and the Hadiths teach. When Allah calls on his followers to kill those who will not submit to Islam, does he sound like the God of the Judeo-Christian tradition? When Allah then tells them that killing themselves in acts of murderous barbarity against the infidel is the only path to redemption from the condemnation of sin, does he sound like the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? When Allah demands all of this to ensure his kingdom can be established on earth, does this sound like the God who taught us to “love our enemies”?

Christians and Muslim follow very different religions, and we must not equate one with the other. The men who blew up the airport terminal in Belgium were pictured calmly pushing their bombs through the terminal. They didn’t look particularly evil or nervous. They were devout Muslims, earning redemption in the only way possible.

We are dealing with a dangerous religious and sociopolitical system that won’t vanish just because we pretend it doesn’t exist. Muslims who want to live in peace with their neighbors must deal with their problems through a heartfelt reformation of a religion hostile to non-believers. Jihad is the core element of the Islamic mindset and we are living through a true clash of civilizations.

We will not win if we don’t open our eyes to the reality of who we are facing. While we blame ourselves for what is happening, Muslims are continuing to protect their own, even those who have committed terroristic acts they would never dream of committing themselves. They protect and enable those who are living out their faith according to the Koran. I know because I was once one of them until I walked away from my faith years ago. If I ever return to my native Egypt, I would be killed as an apostate by the followers of this religion of peace.

Muslims hid Osama bin Laden for nearly 10 years. One of the Paris jihadists, Salah Abdeslam, escaped to his home in Brussels where, hiding in plain sight, he eluded arrest for four months. His neighbors had to know he was there, but no one blew his cover.

We are dealing with something more sinister, more devious and much more destructive than restless young men who are treated unfairly; we are dealing with jihadists who are protected by non-militants who believe in their hearts the jihadists are right.

We may not like it, but we have to face the ugly truth: Islam hates us — because Allah tells his followers they must.

Mark Christian is the president and executive director of the Global Faith Institute. A former Muslim Sunni imam, he converted from Islam to Christianity.

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