Do not Underestimate ISIS

Recently, coverage of ISIS, their beheading of Christians, and their militant takeover of an increasing section of the Middle East had died down. However, it would be foolish to presume that because other headlines of displaced this evil, it has ceased to exist.

A quick internet search reveals that, among other things, in the last 24 hours alone, ISIS forces have stoned a Syrian woman, [1] persisted in their assault of Kobani and several other Iraqi cities[2], and released video claiming to have seized the very weapons the US air-dropped to aid the Kurdish resistance.[3]

In the last week, a man with downs syndrome was beheaded[4], a woman and her children sold in marriage for just $12[5], and set up a special task force to beat women whose ankles or wrists are visible or who appear in public without a male chaperone, as part of their implementation of Sharia Law[6].   These atrocities and grotesque violations of the most basic human rights continue to occur en masse at the hands of ISIS; until we understand and directly combat the motives behind such violence, it is doubtful whether there will be any lasting resolution.

One need look no further than a history book to understand their two-fold motivation. First, one must look towards the end of World War I, when the Sykes- Picot Agreement was brokered between England, France, and Russia. The agreement arranged that upon victory, the old Reglement Organique would be ignored, and these three nations would divide control of the Middle East, to make sure that no Islamic Caliphate, like the Ottoman Empire, could ever stand in their way again. At the same time as Sykes-Picot was being brokered, England (through the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence) was also encouraging Arab rebels to overthrow the Ottoman Empire, and promising that upon success, England would regard the new Arab Caliphate as an independent nation. For the last hundred years, this betrayal has caused a deep root of bitterness to thrive in the Middle East. Now, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has proclaimed its independence and is using brutal war tactics to reclaim the land their ancestors were cheated out of.   In fact, in a recent video, ISIS themselves proclaims their reign of terror has brought ” The End of Sykes-Picot”(Click to view video).  If one watches this video all the way through, one can only conclude that the speaker mans what he says, that the intent is to restore the caliphate and then push even beyond those borders.

This second goal of greater conquest is again best illumined by history, this time dating back to Shi’a-Sunni doctrinal splits in the 7th and 9th centuries, and particularly to ideology concerning the 12th Imam, who loosely is an Islamic messianic figure.   Shi’as believe that this Imam, al- Mahdi, will only return when “the world has fallen into chaos and civil war”[7] and when Islam, which literally means “to-submit” has been spread to the entire world. Other Shi’a Twelver teaching refers to a need to “bathe the world in blood” in order for al-Mahdi to return. When coupled with the jihadist passages of the Koran and those which prescribe beheading and slaughter of Christians and Jews (The People of the Book), can one really be surprised at the violence currently unfolding? Because of a century old betrayal that slowed the implementation of bringing back al-Madhi, those currently fighting with ISIS to restore the caliphate will stop at nothing and will deem every form of violence permissible.

The question for the rest of the world, then, is what can be done to uphold justice and put an end to this humanitarian crisis.   The answer is made clear when we understand that we are facing a spiritual problem, which requires a spiritual answer.

Micah 6:8 advises thus “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”[8]

In order to combat the darkness currently being spread throughout the Middle East, we need to:

a) Do justice. As Ronald Reagan said, “the first duty of government is to protect the people.”  We cannot forget, in this war with ISIS (as they have declared it), that innocent Americans have lost their lives in both the Middle East, Oklahoma, and now New York.  God says that in order to protect life, justice dictates “Whoever sheds the blood of man,
 by man shall his blood be shed, 
for God made man in his own image[9].”  Wherever possible, we need to prosecute murder to the fullest extent of the law. In all cases of violence and human rights violation, we must hold our government accountable to pursing justice and encourage the global community to do likewise.

b) Show mercy and kindness, just as God has shown to us; that is, we need to preach Christ and his redemptive love.  This is ultimately a battle of spiritual deception, and only a knowledge of the Truth of Jesus Christ’s redemptive work will bring lasting and complete liberty to the Muslim world and halt their plans to wage global war.  Christians must remember that Muslims are not the enemy; Satan is. Muslims are people that Jesus died for and people we are called to love.  While we hear often about the growth of Islam, we rarely hear about the massive amount of Christian conversions Muslims are making. There is actually more growth in churches from Muslims coming to know Christ in the Middle East, than there is growth in all the churches of North America combined.[10] This growth is largely attributed to lots of prayer, discipleship, and personal evangelism blessed under the work of the holy spirit. Even if God has not opened the door for us to be able to directly engage in the later two of these activities, every Christian needs to pray daily that Christ would be revealed in the lives of the ISIS fighters and Muslims around the world.  To learn more about practical ways to be effective in these areas, consider Jerry Trousdale’s book, Miraculous Movements: How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims Are Falling in Love with Jesusor view this article from Moody’s Dr. Erwin Lutzer.

c) Walk humbly with God. We cannot expect any form of hate against Christians and Christian nations to end until we have overcome a perceived legacy of hypocrisy and self-serving deceit (Simon-Picot) with the tangible testimony of our daily lives.  We need to live love, hospitality, integrity, and sincerity in a way that shines Christ into the darkness, so that those bound there may look to the Light, and know him.

 

 

Footnotes:

 

 

 

 

[1] Hall, John. Daily Mail . “ISIS releases sickening video clip showing Syrian woman being stoned to death by group of men – including her own father”.

“http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2801575/isis-releases-sickening-video-clip-showing-syrian-woman-stoned-death-group-men-including-father.html

 

[2]  Fox News “US working closely with Kurds to save Kobani, report says”. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/22/us-working-closely-with-kurds-to-save-kobani-report-says/

 

[3] NCB News. “ISIS: We’ve Got the Weapons U.S. Meant to Kill Us With” http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/isis-weve-got-weapons-u-s-meant-kill-us-n230781

 

[4] RT. “‘Even animals don’t do it’: Kobani siege survivors on ISIS brutality” http://rt.com/news/197232-rt-survivors-isis-kobani/

 

[5] Van de Berghe, Annabelle. The Guardian.  “Humiliation replaces fear for the women kidnapped by Isis” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/19/isis-forced-marriage-syria-iraq-women-kidnapped

 

[6] McKay, Hollie. Fox News. “Brutal female police enforce ISIS sharia vision on women of caliphate.” http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/20/brutal-female-police-enforce-isis-sharia-vision-on-women-caliphate/

 

[7] |Sahih Tirmidhi, Vol. 2, P86, Vol. 9, P74–75.

 

[8] Micah 6:8, ESV Bible, Crossway 2001.

 

[9] Genesis 9:6, ESV Bible, Crossway 2001.

 

[10] Herd. Aimee. Breaking Christian News.  “God’s Miraculous Movement” http://www.breakingchristiannews.com/articles/display_art.html?ID=9974

 

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