Dear Paris, beloved jewel of Europe, city of Romance, home of La Tour Eiffel, Les Champs-Elysées, Le Museé Du Louvre, burning place of your martyr Jeanne d’Arc, the Maid of Orléans, I grieve for you. Your fame is now the resting place of Charlie Hebdo. I grieve not for your loss alone, but for your future. Amidst all the apologies and speeches, tributes and excuses, condolences and convolutions, I have not heard one solution to stop the jihadis, no not one.
Analyzing words has replaced analyzing behavior in the West. Obama is endangering the world by releasing jihadis from Guantanomo Bay, 30% of whom go back into the battlefield. While we debate whether “jihad” is the belief of a “tiny minority” or a political majority, whether “Islamophobia” might be a bigger problem than terrorism itself, whether a “jihadist” is an isolated “lone wolf” or a soldier of a growing global army, while we vacillate about vocabulary and definitions, people are dead. While our leaders worry over words (and their popularity), infidels are beheaded, women are kidnapped, girls are raped.
I cannot console you with words. I cannot “stand with you” from Melbourne, I “am not Charlie” unless I have published a cartoon criticizing Islam costing me my life. No my words will not solve your problem.
Dear Europe, a lack of solution guarantees a repeat of your pain. I have lived in France, Spain and the UK, and all of your beautiful nations have suffered unexpected violence and terrorism from the people you welcomed into your country. You cannot understand it. Your problem, may I gently suggest, is that you believe words instead of behavior.
You believe politicians’ promises instead of their practices. You believe good intention instead of quantifying long-term outcomes. You must start to believe behavior instead of believing words that appeal to your own philosophy. I know that is difficult for you. You have noble philosophies. You ended World War II and promised yourselves there will never be war again on the continent of Europe. You embraced communism and believed the promise that everything can be affordable to everyone, Cretans can be the same as Norwegians, the Greek industry can be as strong as the German, the Icelandic bank can be as stable as the Swiss. Time has a way of exposing untruths. Your philosophy, which has drifted from, nay, rejected your Christian foundation and core values, has blinded you from reality. Christ spoke words that have changed lives and history, but Christ is not merely about words. Christianity is about behavior.
“By their fruits you shall know them,” Christ said in Matthew 7:20. That means the Christian standard is not accept people’s words, whether appealing promises or plausible allegations. The Christian standard is to look at the fruit, the work, the long-term outcome of people’s lives, and believe it. It’s not the nominal church goer who says “amen” that goes to Heaven, it’s the repentant believer who falls at the foot of the Cross daily, says sorry easily, and shares the Gospel of Jesus unashamedly everywhere he goes that is truly born again.
What is your response to the jihadis? Will you believe words that “Islam is a religion of peace,” “jihad is the tenet of a minority,” and “jihadists are lone wolves who are unlikely to attack again” or will you believe the fruit? The beheadings have spread from Syria and Iraq and reached your shores in 2014, when Muslim converts beheaded a soldier in broad daylight, a UK grandmother in her backyard, and a female co-worker in Oklahoma. The killing of infidels have spread from Israel, Nigeria, Kenya, Yemen and Afghanistan to the Canadian Parliament, New York streets, and Sydney cafe. These are not tiny incidents without wider support or popular celebration on Muslim streets. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but jihad is not a fringe belief and jihadis are not a “tiny” group.
Call it what it is. It’s not Islam extremists, it’s not radical Muslims. The enemy is “political Islam”. History, the record of people’s actions and words, tell us political islam is a reality. A major tenet of Islam is political domination, a transfer of political power from infidels to Muslims whenever Muslims become the majority of the population. It happened in Syria, the cradle of Christianity, where believers were first called Christians. It happened in Turkey, where John and Mary lived and all 7 Churches of Revelation are located. It happened in Egypt and Iraq, once centers of Christian revival, learning and missions. These were Christian majority nations. It happened also in non-Christian nations. It happened in Malaysia and Indonesia. Islam demands political domination even if the majority of Muslims do not concern themselves with a career in politics. Islam demands supremacy in school curriculum, even if the majority of Muslims do not aspire to be school teachers. Muslims are not our enemy, but our enemy is not a tiny minority. Europe, behavior as recorded in history and current events, tells you that your enemy is “political Islam”.
It’s easier to believe words, because believing behavior requires efforts of investigation and authentication. We may have to study history and look at long term outcomes. We may have to test claims and compare them to past patterns. Believing behavior requires breaking with your prejudices and assumptions. For Europe to believe behavior, Europeans must undo years of colonial guilt and political correctness. For anyone to believe behavior, you must care more about reality than ideology.
This is where God comes in: faith in God is by definition a correction in perspective, a reality check against prejudices. God alone has no prejudice. God alone sees reality as it is. He calls things as they are, “evil” if it they be evil. God responds to people as they are, not as they portray themselves. God has no fear, no illusion, no reputation to protect, no man to please.
Returning to God is the best starting point to begin to see reality again, to name things correctly and act accordingly. Christ can not only wipe away your tears, He can help you to live with purpose again. Returning to God and His moral standards allows us to acknowledge good and evil. We are not merely to talk a swell talk, but to be good, do good and fight evil. The Protestant Reformation, which emphasized Biblical faith in Christ, once turned Europe from barbarism to a center of Christian revival, industry, and prosperity.
Once we believe behavior more than words, then we can identify the problem and plan a solution. Once we know our enemy is political Islam, then we will have no fear of Islamaphobia. Christians are called to love Muslims, and indeed Christians do. Once we understand our enemy is not “Muslim extremists who hate freedom” but “political Islam” which demands political domination and has broad support from non-violent Muslims, then our leaders can defeat both the violent and non-violent jihadis who are agents of political Islam.
One proposal is to start with global economic sanctions on nations that harbor jihadis, giving countries like Pakistan, Syria and Iran economic incentive to root out this problem locally, thus containing it globally. Coordinated global economic sanction will drain away the finance, weapons and support from the jihadis. Another solution that works is Singapore-style punishment for all jihadis, either capital punishment or public caning. Capital punishment is a Biblical solution for the vilest crimes, but the dilemma is that capital punishment may not be a negative enough incentive for criminals who glory in dying. Public caning of jihadis and life-time imprisonment may be more effective and strip away any glory from their punishment.
Comment if you have thought of a solution to what appears to be WWIII, as King Abdullah II of Jordan warns.