It is fascinating to realize that the two countries that attempted to created "pure" Islamic states in recent years instead became places where the gospel is growing the fastest—and both at more than twice the rate as the third country. In Iran, the "Ayatollah Khomeini felt a holy mission to rid Iran of what he saw as Western corruption and degeneracy and to return the country, under an Islamic theocracy, to religious purity." When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 1996 they determined to make a true Islamic country governed by Islamic law.
Many Muslims are appalled at the atrocities they see committed in the name of Islam. When they read or hear about the latest act of terrorism it can lead to questions.
Pew Research polls show that the majority of Muslims worldwide dislike ISIS. ISIS' next door neighbors' views are very unfavorable: 99% of Muslims in Lebanon, 94% of Jordanians, 91% of Israeli Arabs, and 84% of Palestinians have an unfavorable view of ISIS. Even those further away are overwhelmingly negative: Indonesia, Turkey, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Malaysia and Senegal range in negativity from 60% to 79%.
Yet, when pressed, any knowledgeable Muslim will agree that ISIS exemplifies the type of jihad that led to the expansion of Islam from a tiny population in 623 AD to controlling 28% of the world's population by 750 AD. The early leaders of Islam saw it as their "manifest destiny" to conquer the world. Again, questions can arise in the minds of modern Muslims.
In contrast to the poll mentioned above, an Al Jazeera online poll in Arabic with 60,000+ respondents showed that eighty-one percent supported ISIS!
One day a courageous Muslim Imam (religious leader in a Mosque) stood up in front a crowd of Muslims. Before him they had heard speeches denouncing their enemies with many urging death to the Jews and the Christians. His voice rang out with a challenge. "This hatred is killing us! It is like a cancer in our soul. We are giving a heritage of hatred and violence to our sons and daughters. Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah) shows us a better way! He tells us to love our enemies and forgive those who hurt us. He shows us the True Path to God!" (as part of their daily prayers Muslims ask Allah to show the True Path).
You can imagine the response. He was shouted down and many threatened to kill him. But others came to him later and said their hearts were touched and they wanted to learn more. As a result, a growing movement of New Testament house churches are spreading throughout this region.
What ISIS is doing is evil. But God is not surprised nor is He powerless. He is sovereign. We can see a similar dynamic from the life of Joseph, when he tells his brothers, who had tried to kill him and sold him into slavery, "You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result--the survival of many people" (Gen 50:20).
Pray for millions of Muslims to be disillusioned and find life and peace in Jesus. Here is a guide of "7 Ways to Pray for Muslims besieged by War."
Pray for all Muslims, even ISIS and other persecutors, to find Christ, just as early Jewish leaders and even Saul the persecutor became disciples of Jesus. This site guides you in praying for ISIS members.
What Satan has intended for evil, God is using for eternal good by bringing many Muslims to Christ.
William Allen Crews has lived and served among and appreciated the warm hospitality of Muslim people for 25+ years. He has a great desire for his many Muslim friends and all Muslims to realize that Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah) is the Straight Path they seek everyday in their prayers.
Category: Global Written by Nick Pitts
Boasting a population of 24.5 million, North Korea has an estimated 300,000 Christians. Open Doors, the organization that puts out this list, found that North Korean officials see Christianity as not only "opium for the people," but also "deeply Western and despicable." In turn, Christians in North Korea must keep their faith a secret, or risk being sent to a labor camp or a prison.
Category: Global Written by Ryan Denison
Around seventy-five percent of the government's budget comes from their global oil sales. As oil prices have fallen from over $100 a barrel in 2014 to roughly $36 currently, the country has experienced increasing financial hardship. They ran a deficit of almost $100 billion last year and 2016 is not expected to bring much improvement. The International Monetary Fund predicts that the country will be out of money in roughly five years unless oil prices improve to $50 a barrel or better.
Category: Global Written by Ryan Denison
That is the tactic they've used over the last several years in attacks on Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, on a bus full of teachers in Mandera County, and, most recently, in April when they massacred 148 people at Garissa University College in north-east Kenya. In each case, Christians or those who could not recite certain passages from the Qur'an were singled out and murdered by the group.