Today many Muslims are asking “Who is Jesus, and why has He come?” In seeking God for the answer, they are often encountering Jesus in dreams and visions. A few years ago in a Middle Eastern country a group of terrorists trained in the desert in order to overthrow their “un-Islamic” government. They spent their days practicing marksmanship and honing their ability to surprise the enemy. They were taught to be ruthless and unmerciful.
Easter is a joyful time for celebration that centers on the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Good News is that Christ has risen from the dead to rule as Savior and Lord in the hearts of those who embrace Him in faith. This is the news we need to share with the people of the world, including the Muslim people who represent our neighbors, our co-workers, or our fellow citizens. But sharing this news with Muslim people is not so easy.
In November of 2003, the militant Islamic group, Al-Qaida, declared, “There is no doubt that the demise of America and its collapse will lead to the collapse of these fragile regimes [of the Middle East] that depend on it. We will not stop until we establish the Islamic Caliphate and until Allah’s law is implemented in his land,” (MEMRI Special Dispatch Series, No. 609). What do these fundamentalist Muslims mean when they refer to the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate?
Most of the world “discovered” the Kurds in the winter of 1991 when they watched multitudes of strangely dressed people climbing snow-covered mountains to escape the wrath of Saddam Hussein. For most, this was their first glimpse of something that had happened many times; in fact, as recently as three years before. During Saddam’s plundering Anfal Operation of 1988, 180,000 Kurds were killed, 4,000 villages were destroyed, and millions were driven to refugee camps in Turkey and Iran. Needless to say,
Salifou shuffles through the deserted streets of his village in the dead of night echoing over and over the summons, “Get up, O faithful believers! Arise, for this is the blessed fast of Ramadan. Get out of bed and cook, eat and pray — for prayer is better than sleep.” The 3:00 a.m. ‘caller’ implores the faithful, shouting through his tattered megaphone, “Eat and drink now before the sun comes up. Dine and drink now, then exercise discipline and self-control during daylight hours.”
Sharia is an Arabic word meaning “path” or “way”. Nowadays it is used to mean “Islamic law” the detailed system of religious law developed by Muslim scholars in the first three centuries of Islam. This law expresses the Islamic way of life and – much more than the Qur’an – is the key to understanding Islam. Sharia covers all aspects of life and does not separate between secular and religious spheres. It provides a framework of dos and don’ts, rituals and rules within which a Muslim leads his or her life. Most Muslims hold that sharia protects them from sin like a fence or a roadblock.