Little Action on the Third Front
On the dreadful morning of September 11, 2001, America entered a new phase in her history—one she never before encountered or even imagined. We knew from past experience that someday terrorism in some form would visit our shores. After all, the Oklahoma City bombing and assorted minor acts of terror served notice that, sooner or later, something would happen here. We accepted that knowledge in theory. Functionally, however, virtually no one believed such horror could come so suddenly or on such an unimaginably devastating scale. The fact of the matter was that we never took the danger we faced as a nation seriously. U.S. airport security, which is irritatingly stringent in other countries, such as Israel, was slipshod to the point of virtual nonexistence. Then, in a few awful moments, as thousands were dying, America heard the warning bell.
All or Nothing
It was never a matter of not being forewarned. For years radical Muslim fanatics around the world have been crying ”Death to America” and promising repeatedly to destroy the “Great Satan” of America and its surrogate in the Middle East, the “Little Satan,” Israel. We now know their threats were not just idle rants or rhetoric designed to vent their “righteous” rage and assuage the frustration of the downtrodden masses they themselves were shamelessly exploiting. Calls for jihad (holy war) constantly emanated from their mosques and swelled up from their streets.
Yet, when explaining the ominous Arabic word to English-speaking audiences, they claimed that jihad refers only to an “intellectual” struggle and debate between Western ideals and the benevolent dictums of Islam. We have learned the hard way what the radical, fundamental Islamic mind believes jihad is really all about. It is, in fact, a despicable instrument of terror used in bloody wars of aggression. Radical Islam sees democracy, freedom of religion, individual personal rights, and national liberties as corrupting atrocities. Western women, liberated in the Judeo-Christian culture, pose an equally galling offense.
Mullahs in such places as Iran, the Sudan, and other extremist Islamic regimes are obsessed with confining their wards in the religious ghettos of the Dark Ages. Consequently, one of their greatest fears is today’s new age of technology, especially the information explosion that is slowly infiltrating their fiefdoms.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once said that a great, long-term hope for eventual progress toward peace in the Middle East would be the invasion of the satellite dish and modern global communications into repressive Islamic regimes. It is only a matter of time, he postulated, before modern communication will affect even the most backward nations. Perhaps when information-starved individuals finally have the opportunity to see what freedom can bring to their lives, they will demand change.
So the battle has been joined. And make no mistake, the war against terrorism is a fight to the finish. These people mean to win, and they have no intention of quitting until they are victorious or vanquished.
War on Two Fronts
Since the early 1800s, when young Jewish pioneers began moving back to their ancient homeland, they have been forced to fight for their survival. Their return brought them into malaria-infested swamps that had been duly purchased from absentee Muslim landholders. They had no protection or sponsorship from the United States of America; and their great offense, according to their intractable adversaries, was to establish an “infidel” presence in a portion of the Middle East that, until their arrival, the Arabs cared little for and paid scant attention to. Of course, there was always the irritant of Judaism—an infidel religion to doctrinaire Muslims.
But these Jewish immigrants brought yet another equally offensive element to the minds of many of the ruling regional sheiks. They brought a new way of life and, in so doing, established a bastion of democracy and freedom unknown and unwelcome in the feudal world of scowling monarchs of the desert. Jews built bustling cities, created efficient farms and industries, set a standard for decent housing and jobs—lots of jobs. What the Osama bin Ladens and Yasser Arafats of the world never mention is that thousands of Arabs voluntarily came to Israel to find work to sustain their families. Each day these people labored shoulder to shoulder with their Jewish neighbors. The new and vastly better life in the modern State of Israel meant a new world for the Arab people of the region.
For these reasons, among others, Israel was marked for destruction. The goal became to drive her into the sea. At first, Israel stood alone on the hit list of radical religious fanatics. But now she has been joined by another: the United States of America.
Contrary to a growing misconception, the reason for the attacks on the United States is not Israel. Despite the blather of media pundits, Arab and otherwise, terrorists did not attack America because of Israel. If America did not exist, Israel still would be marked for destruction. And if Israel did not exist, America would stand alone on the radical Islamic hit list. The real issue is what these countries represent: freedom. And that concept is intolerable to the world of imperial Islam.
Since the catastrophes in New York, Washington, D.C., and the fields of Pennsylvania, Osama bin Laden and his ilk have made it clear their mission is to create, by whatever heinous and violent means necessary, a new world order— an international, Islamic world order—where Islamic law, dress, strictures, and insufferable subjugation will prevail. That is their goal. Like it or not, we are involved in a long-term, vicious war for the survival of our way of life. And to turn away from our alliance with Israel will not change the equation one iota.
The Third Front
Almost totally ignored in this new war is the third front. It is here that so many of the issues confronting us are clarified. This third front is Christianity. The wanton attacks on Christians in many parts of the world are orchestrated by the same alliance of terror cells waging war against America and Israel. Believers are being persecuted and slaughtered in Indonesia, Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria, the Middle East, Philippines, Afghanistan, and the list goes on. These people are not Americans or even Israelis. They are being killed as enemies solely because they are Christians. This undeniable fact belies the folly that America and Israel are the reasons for the Islamic jihad. No, it is quite the contrary. Muslim rage at peaceful and peace-loving followers of Christ reveals a spiritual struggle that is intensifying by the day.
To state that a direct link exists between these fanatical Islamic elements and Osama bin Laden and his terror network is not a flight of fancy. Recently a secular international news agency reported a direct tie between bin Laden and the Lasker Jihad in Indonesia. Lasker Jihad is the Muslim extremist organization that has committed unspeakable atrocities against Christians in the Maluka Islands.
It is difficult to explain why the majority of Western leaders fail to attack the problem of Christian persecution in the world. One reason, we suspect, is their reticence to offend the Muslim countries that hold the keys to Western access to oil. But perhaps the overriding reason is the one we consistently hear from Western diplomats: We don’t want this conflict to have the appearance of a religious holy war—namely, Christianity versus Islam. For President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, it is not a religious war. In the eyes of radical Islamists, however, it is a religious holy war to be waged on a global scale. From the outset, they have made their motivations and intentions exceedingly clear. This conflict, as those of ancient days, is about the triumph of Islam over the infidels, namely, Christians and Jews. Radical Islamics have thrown down the gauntlet, and we find ourselves forced to pick it up.
Mainline Islamic people in the Western world keep assuring us that Islam is a peace-loving religion. For the majority of Muslims, this may be true. However, even they are saddled with an element that is calling into question the entire Islamic religion by declaring itself the only true adherent to the faith. Therefore, if mainstream Muslims want to separate themselves from this radical killer-element, they must declare themselves and stand unequivocally on the side of the nations that are providing all of the benefits of Western society for them and their families. They must vigorously denounce terrorism and help catch and incarcerate the radicals, who are a blight on their people. In light of the present situation, America and the Free World can expect no less.
Christians are not waging war on Muslims. Israel and the Jewish people are not making war on the followers of Allah and the prophet. And the vast majority of Islamic people, according to their own words, have no desire to enter a holy war with Christians and Jews. This being true, it should be possible to create a united front to extract the fanatical tares that are attempting to overtake a religion and use it as a force for incitement, aggression, and a license to kill.
We must accept the fact that America, Israel, and the Free World have entered a protracted struggle; and there is no choice but to see it through to a satisfactory conclusion. The battle will require an international force of will, tenacity, and a high degree of discipline. No matter what forces are brought to bear, we must never become guilty of discriminating against, persecuting, or physically injuring people based on their faiths, lifestyles, or methods of worship. Such action is un-American and, most assuredly, unchristian. Yet it is equally morally unconscionable for national and spiritual leaders to stand by and tolerate being done to Christians in other parts of the world what we will not countenance in our own land.
There are, indeed, three fronts in this conflict. The Christian front is as much a part of the war on terrorism as either of the others. This war will never be won unless Christians, too, are assured that we will be able to live tranquil lives, free of the terror that comes in the night via fanatics who believe they have the right and duty to kill us in the name of their god and religion.