Terry Jones, leader of a small Protestant church (Dove International Outreach Church in Gainesville, Florida) with about 30 members managed to capture worldwide attention, some would say notoriety, over his plan to burn copies of the Koran, the Islamic holy book on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington that killed almost 3,000 people.
Mr. Jones asserts that Jesus would have approved of his plan for “Burn a Koran Day”– if he had gone ahead with his symbolic protest. Some people have dismissed Terry Jones’ proposal to burn the Koran as merely an attention-seeking stunt by that preacher to help promote his book entitled “Islam Is of the Devil.”
Nevertheless, this non-event did occupy a significant amount of space in the media both in the West and the Muslim world. As of Sept. 13th, 16 protesters (14 Muslim Indians in Kashmir plus two Afghanis in Afghanistan) and two Indian policemen have been killed, and scores injured as demonstrators attacked government buildings and burned a Christian school in a protest against the Koran burning that never took place.
One reader of Canada’s National Post newspaper blogged this reaction to a story about the widespread fears of Muslim violence voiced by many Western leaders such as Barak Obama who seem to be more willing to appease Muslim anger through self-censorship rather than defend their own citizens’ free speech rights:
“A Christian’s reaction to someone who burns a Bible: “I forgive you!” A Muslim’s reaction to someone who burns a Koran: “I will kill you!” Now you understand the basic difference between Christianity and Islam.”
Muslims presently account for 22% of the world’s population or 1.5 billion people. By the end of the 21st Century due to their polygamy and greater birth rate, they will account for about 50% of the world’s population.
Unfortunately, Islam and the Koran allow for neither freedom of conscience nor freedom of expression. Just ask yourself, “How many Christian cultural centres/house of worship have been built in or near the historic Ground Zero (Saudi Arabia) of the Islamic politico-religious movement during the last 50 years in order to take care of the spiritual needs of hundreds of thousands of Christian ex-pats working there? The answer is ZERO! And, did you know that any Saudi Arabian Muslim who converts to Christianity is automatically sentenced to death! Should freedom-loving Christians be concerned about such Muslim hypocrisy? Is Islam of the Devil as Pastor Terry Jones maintains?
For secularists this is an impossible question to ask much less answer since their knowledge and experience is limited to mere materialism. Consequently, spiritual understanding is beyond the grasp of most of our Western politicians. However, there is a Middle Easterner who can and did answer this question. His name is Jesus of Nazareth who is popularly called the Christ by Christians.
Surprising, we can simply answer the question of Islam’s moral parentage by answering the question as to Jesus’. Was Jesus the Son of God as well as the Son of Man?
The official Islamic point of view is as quoted:
“And they [Christians] say: ‘The Most Merciful [God] has taken [for Himself] a son.’ Assuredly you [Christians] utter a hideous thing, whereby almost the heavens are torn, and the earth is split asunder and the mountains fall in ruin; that they [Christians] ascribe unto the Most Merciful a son, when it is not suitable for [the Majesty of] the Most Merciful that He should take a son. There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Most Merciful as a slave,” (Koran 19:88-93).
The official Christian response is given in the gospel of the apostle John who personally worked with Jesus of Nazareth and wrote down his teachings. I will quote this passage substituting the name of one monotheistic people, the Jews, who claim Abraham as their ancestor (through Isaac and Jacob) for another, the Muslims, (through Ishmael and Esau). See if this helps you answer this question.
John 8:31 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to those Muslims who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”
Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” 48 Then the Muslims answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”
52 Then the Muslims said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?”
54 Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. 55 Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
57 Then the Muslims said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” [Jesus was saying that pre-existing His human birth that He was the God of the Old Covenant who delivered the ancient Israelites from the oppressive hands of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. See Exodus 3:14.]
59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the [mosque], going through the midst of them, and so passed by.