Timothy R. Furnish holds a PhD in Islamic History and is an author, analyst, and consultant to the US military who specializes in transnational Islamic movements, eschatology and Mahdism. His website is www.mahdiwatch.org.
When I went to Iran in 2008 (to attend and present a paper at the annual Mahdism conference there) one of the Muslim presenters spoke about the future Mahdiyah as a global state where Christians would be given the choice to convert to Islam and acknowledge the returned Twelfth Imam—or be put to death. Alas, as anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear knows, neither Shi`i nor Sunni (al-Shabab; Syrian jihadists; Pakistanis) Muslims are waiting for the Mahdi to persecute Christians. Indeed, despite being the world’s largest religion in number of adherents (2.2 billion), Christians are the world’s most-persecuted believers of any stripe—and mostly at the hands of followers of the world’s second-largest religion: eight of the top ten most dangerous countries for Christians are majority Muslim.
So it is indeed “open season on Christians.” Yet other than Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and, before he stepped down from the chair of St. Peter, Benedict XVI—no major world leader or organization has spoken up, much less fought for, Christians. Case in point: President Obama gave a long speech at the United Nations Tuesday and stated that the two greatest problems emanating from the Middle East are Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The chronic and toxic torment of his own co-religionists was never mentioned—except in passing reference to undesignated “terrorists” and “extremists” who engage in “sectarian conflict.”
Obama’s white-washing of Islamic violence—rooted, that is, in the Qur’an and in both the examples and hadiths (alleged sayings) of Muhammad, Islam’s founder—extended even to the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the president once again adduced a purported fatwa against nuclear weapons by Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei, which does not, in fact, exist.
Obama pointed out that “the U.N. was designed to prevent wars between states” but “increasingly we face the challenge of preventing slaughter within states” [emphases added]. His reference clearly was to Syria, but nary a presidential peep was uttered about equally-horrific venues where Christians are being butchered, such as Nigeria, Pakistan or Iraq; or where churches were burned, as in Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood; or where Christians are not even allowed to have churches, as in Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, relative to Syria, Obama’s obsession with international treaties and norms is rather selective: violating the Geneva Convention rubrics on chemical weapons is reason to use military force; but breaching Geneva Convention genocide prohibitions—which include “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”—elicits no such outrage on the part of Obama, Sec of State Kerry or Director of Central Intelligence John Brennan when Christians are the victims. This despite the fact that a Sudanese Anglican bishop has written to Obama, asking him to help persecuted Christians in Sudan.
Obama may not be a practicing Muslim, but is it any wonder that so many Americans suspect he might be? He rarely attends church, and both his policies and closest advisers are pro-Muslim—most notably his DCI, Brennan, who publicly lies about jihad’s Islamic origins and orthodoxy. Even the National Park Service under Obama is putting out mendacious videos extolling Islam. Why? Perhaps the best and most succinct explanation is that the American Left—of which Obama is the apotheosis (and messianic figure)—is still convinced that Christianity is the great enemy of Reason and “progress,” and no amount of Islamic misogyny, polygamy, decapitation and murder will convince them otherwise.
Thus, many otherwise-intelligent Americans reflexively disapprove of Christianity, yet give Islam a pass. But the why is not really the crux of the issue; rather, it is that Islam and Muslims have Western defenders and apologists, to go along with their own such entities, such as: the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; the Council on American-Islamic Relations; Iran; Saudi Arabia; neo-Ottoman Turkey, and, yes, non-state terrorist groups like al-Qa`ida [al-Qaeda, or AQ] and Somalia’s al-Shabaab (which killed only non-Muslims in its Kenyan mall attacks) and an unholy host of others. Christians, on the other hand, have one rather unsavory state advocate, Russia’s President; and, with Pope Francis, a defender who (at least next to his predecessor) appears lukewarm at best. (It’s been a long time since Catholic arms saved European Christendom at Lepanto and Vienna.)
Of course, we Christians have ourselves to blame, in many ways, for the lack of a united front: Evangelicals understand the Islamic threat but prefer pillorying the papacy to working with Catholics, and would rather convert Orthodox to Calvinism than save them from Muslims; Catholic bishops are often more enamored of Vatican II “can’t we all just get along” theology than speaking the Gospel truth to the Islamic world; and liberal American Protestants would rather grasp a live rattlesnake during Liturgical Dance than admit, ever, that Evangelicals could be right about anything—least of all Islam. Our Orthodox friends in Syria, Egypt and Iraq, as well as our orthodox African brothers and sisters of various denominations, meanwhile, face the brunt of Islamic jihad but are powerless to stop it. And if the world’s largest Christian power—for that is what the US is, its 310 million people being 76% Christian—won’t help them, who will?
In the name of charity, perhaps the appalling ignorance about Islam in Washington, DC, is more real than feigned. Yesterday, Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer interviewed former CIA and FBI analyst Philip Mudd on “America’s Newsroom” about Islamic terrorism in relation to the Nairobi attacks. Mudd stated categorically that “public opinion in the Muslim world does not support terrorism and jihad.” Really? Perhaps Mr. Mudd should stick to deconstructing Jane Eyre (he has a BA and MA in English literature) and leave the analysis of the Islamic world to those of us with more relevant, and frankly better, training.
But even someone hobbled by English degrees should be able to take a look at the Pew report “The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society” and ascertain that large percentages of Muslims do support some rather unsavory, indeed atavistic, practices. For example, huge majorities in Malaysia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Egypt support imposition of shari`a; at least 2/3 of Muslims in Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories and Egypt favor whippings or amputation of hands for thieves; over 80% of Pakistanis, Afghanis, Palestinians and Egyptians support stoning of adulterers, and almost the same percentages think “apostates” from Islam should be executed. Across all 39 countries surveyed, 28% of Muslims say suicide bombing is at least sometimes justified; this means, in real terms, that some 448 million Muslims support suicide bombing. Even in the US, 19% of American Muslims—some 475,000 people—think suicide bombings are occasionally justified.
Mr. Mudd has been a senior analyst for both the CIA and FBI, and as such his views have no doubt been influential in intelligence and policy-making circles for decades. There is no better example in the secular world of policy-makers “gathering around a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (II Timothy 4:3). The Obama Administration is not the only American one to heed the likes of Mudd, thus relying on pettifoggery and practicing wishful thinking as foreign policy—but it has sunk to new depths of willful ignorance regarding Islamic jihad and its mainly Christian targets, and in the process is aiding and abetting the violence perpetrated in the name of Allah against the followers of Jesus. Whether Obama does so as an obsequious dhimmi (subservient Christian under Islamic law), a knowing da`i (Islamic propagandist) or an oblivious dunce is the question.