For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Jer. 30:5 My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war. Ps. 120:6-7
At the time of writing, President George W Bush is in grave danger of overstepping the fine line between just and unjust war, whilst Prime Minister Tony Blair is preparing to commit British airmen and soldiers to a conflict with no achievable purpose and no discernible end. RAF fighters and troop carriers have been practising their bombing and landing runs over the Welsh and Scottish hills and are now flying to the Gulf. The American fleet is massing off the coast of Pakistan, to wage war against terrorism. But is it a war against a man, an organisation, a ruling party or a nation state? America seems unclear. If their mission is to remove Taliban, they have no right to interfere in Afghanistan, nasty as its rulers are. Nor should the USA enter into ungodly alliances with those who hate Jesus Christ. Finally, nor should they use chemical or nuclear weapons, in any form. The prayers of believers may yet prevail, but if not, strikes, surgical or not, will begin, Jihad will be declared by the Taliban, Pakistan will be destabilised and the resulting conflict in the East, nuclear or not, could ironically spread militant Islam around the world.
America is unused to domestic terrorism, and does not know what to do in the face of it. American minds are naturally torn between righteousness and retaliation, between bringing what remains of the perpetrators of the 11th September atrocities to justice, and raising a lynch-mob to 'teach the Taliban a lesson'. Perhaps all the pictures of American servicemen leaving their families, the demands to Afghanistan's Taliban rulers to hand over Osama bin Laden and the 'dead or alive' rhetoric are for domestic consumption; perhaps their planners know the realities. Unfortunately, the mood in the USA is bent on the human need for revenge, rather than the Biblical demand for restitution and justice, and the President is facing demands to 'do something.' If the President follows the 'hawks' it could end badly.
Christian Voice members who watch the news (particularly the breakfast versions, where 'off-message' contributors are more welcome than at ten o'clock) will be aware of the growing chorus of disbelief amongst those in the know (geographers, SAS, Russian veterans, aid workers, etc, etc) that President Bush says he is seriously preparing to use ground troops in Afghanistan. Even ordinary Afghans will react badly to the site of foreign invaders, will retreat to the hills and fight to the death. There are no roads to speak of in Afghanistan, unless we count the infamous Khyber Pass, and good roads are vital for American tank movements.
The Russians had as good if not better communications from the north in their Afghan excursion, and their few months' campaign turned into eight years during which they hardly ever even saw the enemy. We British did no better in one of our Afghan campaigns, decades earlier. The mountain range which runs broadly east-west through Afghanistan is impenetrable to outsiders, and is known as the Hindu Kush (killer of Hindus) with good reason.
PAKISTAN BULLIED TO HELP
America has so little intelligence about Afghanistan, and so little chance of reaching that land unaided, that President Bush had to bribe and bully the rulers of Pakistan into a choice between a rock and a hard place to help him in a war America has little chance of winning anyway. In the process, militant Islam in Pakistan will be encouraged and its supporters inflamed, which is bound to destabilise the entire region. Meanwhile, in the north, this is the chance both India and the Kashmiri separatists have been waiting for. In addition, the people of the north of Pakistan are Patans, who identify with the Taliban. Indeed the Taliban originated in Patan Pakistan. Patans do not observe the niceties of war even to the limited extent of the Iraqis. Any US or UK fighter pilot having to bale out there will not just be beaten up and paraded on television. He (or God forbid, she) will be sent home in pieces. Is the viewing public in America or Britain ready for that?
Even assuming that Osama Bin Laden is still in Afghanistan, it is unrealistic of the Americans to demand that the Taliban 'hand him over.' For millennia in the Middle East, (it used to be so in our land but the art of hospitality has all but been lost) a guest, having been welcomed into someone's house, is accorded honoured status and total protection. That explains why Lot was outraged not just at the perversion of the demand of the men of Sodom, but at their presumption in the first place ("for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof." Gen 19:8). That explains also why the Lord Jesus could speak quite harshly to Simon the Pharisee, (Luke 7:44-46) and, as we would see it, rudely to the Shammai-school Pharisees (Luke 11:39ff) but not be upbraided in return. The latter seethed, but the host was bound by the rules of hospitality not to reply (not that he could, in the face of the truth).
So the guest is accepted in totality. In such a house, if a person is a guest, and someone whom the family do not recognise as being in authority comes to the door and demands they 'hand him over', the host and his sons would say 'over our dead bodies,' and mean it. Even if it were the police at the door, they should demand evidence.
ASKING THE IMPOSSIBLE
Osama Bin Laden is more than even a guest, he has taken the 'Bayah' or oath of allegiance to Mullah Oman, the Taliban leader. It seems very easy to the Americans, who expect to get their way, to demand Bin Laden be handed over on suspicion. But it is impossible for Mullah Omar to agree. Islamic law (Shari'ah) simply will not allow a Muslim to be tried by non-Muslims. In addition, the witness of a non-Muslim in Shari'ah is worth only one-half of the witness of a Muslim.
America is not trusted by Muslims either to act righteously or to present true evidence, and with good reason. Orthodox Muslims view the Western culture of abortion, perversion, immorality, injustice and apostasy - even 'singing, dancing and playing football' as Sheik Omar Bakri, the leader of Al-Mujarihoun puts it - with contempt. They remember the Allied use of depleted Uranium weapons in Iraq, which has left tens of thousands of children maimed, and they remember the chemical warfare plant which the Americans said they destroyed in Sudan. America eventually had to admit it was a pharmaceutical unit. Events like these cement their belief that wickedness is typical 'Christian' behaviour.
For all these reasons, the Taliban do not regard themselves as 'stalling' when they demand the evidence of Bin Laden's involvement. In the absence of a publicly-stated appreciation of cultural differences, and even an absence of correct and just procedure, American advisors have left President Bush sounding self-righteous and gung-ho.
BIN LADEN AND AL-QAEDA
Whilst it is probable that Osama Bin Laden is behind the terrorism, it will be hard to find concrete evidence. For anyone concerned about the rule of law, 'We just know he done it' is not good enough. The group Bin Laden formed in 1988, Al-Qaeda (which means 'The Base,' as in a military base), is not actually based anywhere in particular, although there is said to be an office in London, and whilst Bin Laden is thought to provide finance, Islamic direction and spiritual guidance to his followers, a leading expert on Islam told Christian Voice that Al-Qaeda is more like an alliance of various mainly militant Sunni Muslim groups around the world. There may even be no central command as we would understand it. Bin Laden is also a major sponsor of Islamic missionary activity in Asia and Africa. On the political front, in 1996 Bin Laden drew together a handful of other terrorist Muslims. Calling themselves the World Islamic Front, these issued a Fatwa (Divine Decree) on 23rd February 1998, of Jihad ('Holy' War) against 'Jews and Crusaders'. Their three grievances ('three facts that are known to everyone') were stated as:
(1) The presence of USA forces ('crusaders') in the Saudi Arabian peninsula (it is the greatest desecration in their eyes for infidels to set foot in their holiest land),
(2) The devastation of and continuance of sanctions against (Sunni Muslim) Iraq, and
(3) The Jewish occupation of Palestine - as they see it - and the consequent Israeli authority over the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
The Muslim groups and terrorist cells which owe allegiance to Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda can not fail to have been inspired by the World Islamic Front Fatwa issued in consequence 'to all Muslims':
"All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on Allah, his messenger, and Muslims. And ulema (religious authorities) have throughout Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries. ... Nothing is more sacred than belief except repulsing an enemy who is attacking religion and life.
"On that basis, and in compliance with God's order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims:
"The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.
"We -- with Allah's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in Allah and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan's U.S. troops and the devil's supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson."
AT WAR AND NOT AT WAR
When President Bush speaks of 'going to war' against Bin Laden, he uses the word 'war' rhetorically, because war is properly conducted between states, but when he says it is 'not a religious war', that is not the way militant Muslims see it: "Islam, The True Religion... will defeat all other religions... by Allah's will, through the Muslim Jihad fighters... (From children's textbooks issued by the Palestinian Authority - News Report from Jerusalem, 17/9/2001) U.S. and Israeli Jews and Christians who resist the Muslim Jihad are enemies of Allah. "The reward of those who make war against God [Allah] and His Apostle [Mohammed]...is only that they shall be slaughtered or crucified, or their hands cut off and their feet on alternate sides..." (Surah 5.36).
President Bush only inflamed Muslim opinion when he spoke of 'a crusade against terrorism.' Did no-one tell him that use of the word 'crusade' brings to the militants (as we have seen) all the images of Christian soldiers trampling over the Islamic 'holy places'?
In addition to Al-Qaeda, other radical paramilitary Islamic groups now operate inside the U.S. The Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, allied with international terrorists, Libya's Muammar Qaddafi and Iraq's Saddam Hussein, told an Iraqi audience in 1996, "God will destroy America by the hands of the Muslims...this is an honour..." Louis Farrakhan's organisation also operates in Britain.
The London branch of Al-Muhajiroun held a demonstration on 18th September outside the Pakistani Embassy, and a talk entitled 'USA You Will Pay' the following Friday, at the Cultural Centre in Denmark Road, Hornsey, London N8. Both events were announced in a press release headed 'USA AT WAR WITH ISLAM'. The same press release recorded that Taliban Mullah Omar has promised jihad against the USA and any who support them if Afghanistan is attacked. Al-Muhajiroun believe that America wishes to stop the establishment of 'Khilafah' - a Muslim state - in nuclear-enabled Pakistan, but America is probably going the right way to bring a Taliban uprising in Pakistan anyway by planning strikes against its neighbour, from Pakistani bases.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. Ps. 20:7
UPSURGE IN TERRORISM
If President Bush, which God forbid, does strike against Afghanistan, the scale of Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism is certain to increase under the consequent jihad. All those nations who join with the USA will be targets. Al-Qaeda must already have thousands of Afghan sleepers in place across Europe under the guise of asylum-seekers and immigrants, legal and illegal. There will be some trying to enter Britain through the Channel Tunnel, others in the troop ship off Australia, still more attempting to cross into Eastern Europe.
If that were not enough, Muslim terrorists are not all recognisable as Arab or Patan. Even before the Afghan declaration of jihad, there were British Muslims, black Muslims, and Phillipino Muslims drawing inspiration from Al-Qaeda, planning to strike against 'Jewish' and 'Crusader' interests as the World Islamic Front Fatwa demands. The knowledge that such terrorists are prepared to sacrifice their own lives will send a chill through the hearts of anti-terrorism officers, for these are the hardest of all operatives to counter, even if intelligence is in place. With Jihad also declared by Afghanistan, if America should attack, the WIF Fatwa will be given even greater weight.
THE SOLUTION: REPENTANCE
The only solution likely to succeed will look like weakness, but "the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (1Cor 1:25) It is not enough to enact anti-terrorism measures and train law-enforcement officers. The western world, and the USA and Britain in particular, must repent of their evil deeds and return to trust in God. How He in the heavens must laugh to hear President Bush talk of 'the civilised world' when the blood of innocents flows through its abortion mills, the cloning of human life is permitted, and perversion is celebrated in its streets. How He must hold our Prime Minister in contempt for saying that the perpetrators of the New York massacre had 'no respect for human life' while himself voting to treat human life as a means to an end.
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist bombing attack on the World Trade Centre the response of Planned Parenthood (PPFA) was to offer free abortions to the traumatised women of New York. At a time when the whole world was searching for signs of life and hope the PPFA could only offer more death, despair and destruction. At a time when families were desperately searching for loved ones, PPFA were offering to surgically kill the offspring of New York. The world press failed to note the tragic irony of the situation.
When President Bush described the terrorist attack as "an attack on our values" he failed to mention that the most deeply held value on the eastern seaboard is that the unborn child counts for nothing. When Tony Blair again described the attack as "an attack on the sanctity of human life" he failed to mention that he voted for the death sentence for handicapped children up until birth.
Looked at through the eyes of Almighty God, was there ever a 'civilisation' more deserving than ours of His judgment? Are we more righteous than Sodom? Are we more God-fearing than Nineveh? No, we are just as haughty and wicked as they were. The hour is very late and we are in the midst of judgment, yet still repentance and straight dealing born of God-fearing hearts would bring their reward. The Word says that Almighty God can and will defend those who trust in him: For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. Ps. 5:12
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. Ps. 118:9
THE LORD OUR DEFENCE
The Lord is a shield and a defence to those who fear him, so that a God-fearing nation need have no fear of terrorists. God is able to thwart or expose their designs. Dr Peter Hammond writes: "Terrorist attacks like those on 11 September 2001 should remind us that even the best security systems fail to prevent such disasters. We need to rediscover God as our ultimate protection. The United States, in particular, should recognise its need for supernatural aid in defending its people and defeating terrorism. The elected representatives should incorporate respect and obedience to Almighty God into the constitution and public policy of the nation."
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Psalm 33:12
"A good place to begin would be to gather everyone for reading a chapter of Proverbs and praying a Psalm each day (either at the beginning of the day or at lunch time) in homes, schools, army bases, businesses and government departments.
"We do not know when, or under what circumstances, our lives will come to an end. We do, however, know that when we die we will stand before Almighty God our Creator and Eternal Judge and we will have to give an account of our lives to Him. If you had died in those terror attacks of 11 September where would you be now? And what would you be regretting?"
As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the Judgment. Hebrews 9:27
"We need to work out our priorities in the light of eternity. We need to invest our time, talents and treasure into those things which are going to last for eternity: the people of God, the Word of God and the Kingdom of God. These are what are ultimately important. You must be ready at all times for that which may happen at any time. Are you ready?
"Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last."
READ: Psalm 7:10; 18:30-39; 28:1-9; 33:18-22; 59:9-17; 62:2-6; 76:1-12; 84:9-12; 89:18; 91:1-10; 94:20-23; 115:11-13.
WEBSITES FOR REFERENCE: