Thursday, June 15, 2017

Post 54--The Roots of the Islamist Crisis

To begin with: a disclaimer. The document below is about a book I have not read and have never even heard about till just a few moments ago.  However, I used to be member of its publishers, the Book of the Month club, and I was always impressed with their selections. So, I take the chance on the strength of their reputation with me. 

Many books have been written about these kinds of subjects and all too many try to reduce the basic reason for or cause of our current Islamist--in distinction from Islam--problem(s), that I am skeptical about all of them, including this one. Many point to one single cause and try to convince us that that's the basic or even only cause. If we can solve that one particular cause, then we're done and the chaos will be a thing of the past. 

I myself have written an 8-volume series about Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria. You can find it on my website   <
islamica.htm >.  During the course of my 30 years in Nigeria and of my years of research, I have come to the conclusion that there are a number of causes that worked together to create our present situation.  It is not all due to Islam; Western imperialism has contributed no small proportion. 

So, though I am thus skeptical about the book offered below, I do suspect it lays its finger on an important component of today's crisis. So, I decided to draw your attention to it.

A confession: During the course of writing the above, I suddenly wonder whether this Book of the Month is really the same as the club that used to have that name.  Who or what is "Intercollegiate Studies Institute?"  Well, if they are someone else than what I first thought, they have only themselves to blame for taking on a name that can cause confusion. Check them out for yourself--but do read the book.  Here goes:

Dear Philip,

The Manchester and London Bridge terrorist attacks have reignited the debate over Islamic radicalism. But you’ve probably noticed that the terms of the debate haven’t changed in years; pundits on all sides rely on the same talking points.

That’s why I’m so grateful for Robert Reilly’s eye-opening book The Closing of the Muslim Mind. Reilly goes well beyond the simplistic analyses we always hear. He reveals that our contemporary crisis can be traced to a heated battle within Islam itself, waged a thousand years ago. It was a battle over the role of reason—and the side of irrationality won.

This was, as Reilly writes, “one of the greatest intellectual dramas in human history.” And we’re still feeling the reverberations today.

I’m excited to make Reilly’s masterful work the Book of the Month so you can purchase it at a special 30% discount. As National Review notes, The Closing of the Muslim Mind is a “brilliant and groundbreaking” book that “should be read by anyone who wants to understand one of the most fundamental causes of conflict in the twenty-first century.” Roger Scruton, widely considered the greatest living conservative intellectual, calls Reilly’s book “lucid and fascinating.”

Please pick up your copy today. This book will change how you understand the Islamist crisis.


Jed Donahue
Editor in Chief, ISI Books

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Post 53--Why the Ramadan Violence?

Why so much violence during Ramadan?
Dr. Jim Denison | June 5, 2017
Last night, ISIS claimed responsibility for the London attack that killed seven and wounded forty-eight. One of the terrorists wore a fake bomb vest. According to ABC News, the vest was likely intended to guarantee a police response that would lead to his martyrdom.

He was the father of a toddler; his wife was expecting a child. What would motivate him to carry out such an atrocity at the cost of his own life?

The day of the attack, an ISIS message called on its followers to use knives, guns, and vehicles in an "all-out war" on "infidels" during Ramadan. The audio message instructed jihadists to "attack them in their homes, their markets, their roads and their forums."

When Ramadan began this year, jihadists attacked a bus filled with Christians in Egypt, murdering twenty-nine. Ten of the victims were children. The day after Ramadan began, a suicide bomber murdered eighteen people in Afghanistan, two of them children.

Last year's Ramadan was the bloodiest on record. A gunman killed forty-nine and wounded fifty-three at an Orlando gay night club. An Islamist then stabbed a police officer and his wife in Paris. He claimed that he was responding to ISIS's call for violence during Ramadan. Later that month, three ISIS suicide bombers killed forty-five and wounded more than 250 at Istanbul's main airport. When Ramadan ended last year, the final global body count was 421 dead and 729 wounded.

Why would terrorists make Ramadan a time to escalate their violence?

Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar. Muslims believe that Muhammad received the first of a series of "revelations" that became the Qur'an on the seventeenth day of Ramadan in the year AD 610. For this reason, the month has always been holy to them (Qur'an 2:185). The month begins eleven days earlier each year on the solar calendar; this year, it extends from May 26 to June 24.

During this month, Muslims fast from their first prayer of the day (at dawn) to the fourth (just after sunset). They also refrain from smoking and sexual relations during the day. They pray more fervently during the month and increase almsgiving.
Their increased fervor is not just to honor the month—it is also to receive greater rewards for themselves. Muhammad is believed to have preached a sermon on Ramadan in which he said, "Whoever performs an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time." A Taliban spokesman recently stated, "Our fight is Jihad and an obligatory worship. And every obligatory act of worship has 70 times more reward in Ramadan."

We can expect further attacks this month as radical Islamists seek reward in heaven for committing atrocities on earth. But Ramadan is also an important time for Christians to intercede for Muslims and especially for jihadists. As Muslims focus more intensely on prayer and worship, many are seeing visions and dreams of Jesus.

Saul of Tarsus was committed to killing Christians until he met Christ (Acts 9:1–31). It's vital that we pray for Islamist terrorists to experience the same transformation. F. B. Meyer believed that "the greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer."

Is his warning especially true this month?