The beheading of the American journalist, James Foley, apparently by a British Muslim with a London accent, drew pledges by outraged Western governments to aid those 'battling the jihadists' among whom British extremists are thought to be among the "most vicious and vociferous fighters" (here). The British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, described the execution as an "appalling example of the brutality of this [Islamic State] organisation" (read here). But it is not simply the "shocking and depraved" action of a single organisation as Mr Cameron described it. It is part of a culture:
"In Islam, the prophet Muhammad is the greatest example for the faithful to follow. He is the model of dedication to God par excellence; in fact, he is deemed the perfect example of submission to Allah...
Sunni Islam is the largest Islamic sect, encompassing 85% of Muslims in the world. “Sunni” is based on the “sunna,” “the pathway of the prophet” Muhammad (to which all Muslims are committed, whether formally Sunnis or not). “Muslims have the duty of da’wa, calling, summoning people to submit to Allah and to follow the sunna, the pathway trodden first by Muhammad.”
But what is the example, the way, the path of the prophet? He not only engaged in caravan raids early in his career as a prophet and in war later, but he himself was involved in the massacre of the Qurayza Jews wherein he “had trenches dug, and the men were led out in batches and beheaded.” Ibn Ishaq’s ancient, authoritative Life of Muhammad records this event: “There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900.” How could the recent beheadings and dismemberments of a few “pagans” alarm the devout Muslim today? His “perfect” prophet beheaded upwards of 900 in one setting! We are alarmed because we are Christians." - See "Christ, Muhammad, and the Culture of Beheading" here.
Many Christians are not only alarmed but thoroughly confused that such actions can be justified as acts of faith in the name of God. Christians are taught to ''Love your neighbour as yourself', having moved on from Old Testament excesses. It is the reverse in Islam which after its peaceful period becomes increasingly violent, using the sword to threaten those wishing to convert from Islam and those who refuse to convert to Islam as is now witnessed intensely by minorities in Iraq.
Some Muslims protest that the violence is contrary to the teaching of Islam. Indeed an Imam was doing precisely that on BBC Breakfast time this morning despite evidence to the contrary from around the world. Muslims are themselves victims if their interpretation of Islam differs from fundamentalist hardliners. Saudi Arabia's top cleric says that extremism and the ideologies of groups like Islamic State and al-Qaida are Islam's No. 1 enemy and that Muslims have been their first victims (here). But watch this chilling video to see how "Taqiyya: Islamic doctrine of deception" (here) operates in the defence of Islam to the detriment of all other faiths and none making it difficult to know who is telling the truth and who is engaged in deception. The closing words in the report are "We will be paying for it [playing patsy] a vast amount in the years to come". Prophetic words indeed!
On that score, and no doubt in the spirit of brotherly love, Christian leaders have been moved to make extravagant gestures which appear to validate Islam at the expense of Christianity. In his Archbishop Cranmer blog in 2007 Cranmer reported that the Bishop of Liverpool had accepted the invitation of a Muslim friend to become patron of a mosque renovating project. More recently the Bishop of Portsmouth "along with numerous other clerics visited the Al Mahdi Center in Wessex where verses from 'the Noble Qur’an' were recited before Bishop Christopher blessed the community and the centre" (here). In Wales Archbishop Morgan has far more time for his Muslim friends than for faithful adherents of the Catholic faith - see 'Barry's blunder' here. Having been warned about false prophets and told by Jesus Christ that 'No one comes to the Father except through Me' such gestures appear ill-advised to say the least.
While Anglican leaders in this country water-down the Christian faith, questioning the legitimacy of basic beliefs such as the virgin birth and even the Resurrection, Muslims by contrast will not tolerate any perceived criticism or even discuss apparent Contradictions and Inaccuracies (here). Recall how, even though "beheading was practiced by the Prophet Muhammad himself during the 7th century period of Islam and by the most Islamic rulers thereafter" (here), Pope Benedict was obliged to apologise for a misunderstanding following a speech to university professors in Germany in 2006 after he cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as “evil and inhuman”:
"Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that he was “deeply sorry” about the angry reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, which he said came from a text that didn’t reflect his personal opinion. “These (words) were in fact a quotation from a Medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thought,” Benedict told pilgrims at his summer palace outside Rome." Full account here.
James Foley was a freelance photojournalist whose work highlighted the depths to which these jihadists will sink, even killing fellow Muslims in the name of Allah to achieve what they mistakenly believe to be their reward in heaven. Reports of James' own death have done far more to galvanise world opinion than any other report so far. May he now rest in peace.
The International Civil Liberties Alliance reported in May that that a new organisation, Sharia Watch UK, was launched in the House of Lords. See their special report: SHARIA LAW: Britain’s Blind Spot. Here is a taste:
"We call on the UK government to recognise that the establishment of a sharia state, or campaigning for such, is itself an extremist position. We base this on the fact that a sharia state would involve profound mistreatment of women and girls (including forced marriage and unequal legal status), the implementation of barbaric punishments (including stonings and amputations) and the complete destruction of freedom of speech and democracy."
It also has something to say about the Muslim organisations including the Muslim Council of Britain which "has received several hundred thousand pounds of taxpayers’ money, despite evidence of its links with extremists and its own extremist beliefs". Full Report here. Church and State take note!