Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, is one of the five pillars of Islam, the duty of every Muslim who is physically and financially able to perform it. In the 19th century B.C., Muslims believe, Abraham—the revered patriarch of Islam, Christianity and Judaism—was instructed by God to build a house of worship in a narrow valley between two barren ridges in a place today called Mecca, on the present site of the Ka’bah, the cubic structure inside the Grand Mosque.
The tragedy of 9-11, the death of over 300 innocent children and adults in a Russian school, the beheading of foreign hostages in Iraq—these are only a few of the recent atrocities that have fueled anger and disgust toward the religion of Islam and its world community of 1.3 billion people. That includes the 5 million Muslims who live right here in the United States. The flurry of verbal attacks and threats made against Americans and Christians (Crusaders) in particular from people who call themselves “martyrs for Allah” only intensifies the animosity against Muslim people.
For now we see through a glass darkly... (1 Corinthians 13:12). When Paul wrote these words he was speaking of the glory that will come when we see the Lord face to face. But heaven is not the only thing that we cannot see clearly right now. It is very difficult to get a clear picture of what is happening to the Church in some countries. Iran is one of those countries. How do we peer through this dark glass and find out what is really happening in Iran? I believe that in order to view the present with accuracy, we must also have a sense of history.
Imagine a summer day on the resort beaches of Larnaca, Cyprus—a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea near the coast of Lebanon and Israel. The sun’s strong rays are creating temperatures of nearly 100 degrees and the humidity hovers around 80 percent. An occasional breeze is a refreshing welcome. It is a beautiful day for Muslim honeymooners visiting from the Arabian Gulf. They sit side-by-side looking at the sea—the groom in shorts and a tank top; his bride in a new black chador (floor-length robe), full-face veil, and long dark stockings.
Islamic fundamentalism is not of recent origin. Its roots go back further than the current attacks on the West or attempts at a Middle East peace settlement. In this article, we want to look at three categories of factors that caused the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the terrorism it has produced. These factors are historical, dealing with the history from Muhammad’s time until today; anthropological, such as social, religious and political factors; and ideological, the ideas of specific, influential Muslims.
Radical Islam’s agenda is world domination through all possible means—including terrorism and violence. Today over 2,500 mosques in the United States promote Islam and the number is growing rapidly. How should we respond in light of the London bombings, current events, and the rapid growth of Islam in the West?