There are two news stories from the Middle East. Young Muslims raised in prosperous western countries are returning to Syria or Somalia to fight for Jihad, the holy war of Islam. This is a major security concern. Families are losing their teen children, and some young westerners become vicious executioners.
Also, Syrians, Muslim Arabs, are migrating to Europe in huge numbers. I don’t want to add to all the discussion, but it is clear that Syrians are not escaping a terrible war in their home country. They are leaving refugee camps in Turkey, where they are safe, but where they have no hope.
Hiding among the Syrians are many from places liked Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Iraq who are looking for better jobs. When these Muslims leave Muslim majority Turkey, and scramble onto the beaches in Greece or Italy they shout “freedom” and act like they have just escaped from something terrible. There are rumors that many convert to Christianity in Europe. I suspect many more convert to western materialism.
This escape from Islam must be offensive to devout Muslims. And it must be interesting when the young Jihadis and the desperate migrants meet in an airport, going in opposite directions.
Recently a riot broke out in a German refugee camp, between young men from Syria and Afghanistan. I suspect the Syrians were offended by opportunists who hid among them, only pretending to be suffering refugees.
In Hungary, a group of migrants ran away from the police and escaped into fields of tall corn. Camera angles are biased, and show old men, women and babies, but there are many healthy young men sprinting like athletes.
Yes, we are manipulated by news coverage.
The camera searches out the people we are supposed to see. The real story is the strong young men. They are not in danger; their lives have no hope.
The story that we miss is the “liminal bulge.” That’s an odd way to say, a perfect storm in the Muslim community, of biblical proportions. Note the two words liminal and bulge.
Limnos is a Greek word for threshold, or door frame, the space between two rooms. Most immigrants are liminal. They are always foreign in the new country, and they no longer belong to the old home. The result is disorientation, and extreme decisions; like escaping to Syria, and escaping from Syria.
Japan was liminal in the 1940s, caught between east and west. The nation fought vigorously against the west, and then changed in a few days in 1945, to become a model citizen among the western democratic nations. I had a Japanese friend who was puzzled by that sudden liminal swing between extremes.
The bulge is demographic, the population explosion. Most children in poor countries died young, until modern medicine improved public health. Now the majority in countries like Egypt and Tunisia are young; children, teens, and young adults. They are a demographic bulge.
Traditionally, the few surviving children were raised by grandparents in villages, which kept religion and culture conservative. Now, there are not enough elders for all the children, and children everywhere are overexposed to movies, video games, and the Internet.
The result is a restless, liminal generation, numbering in the hundreds of millions. The young majority are liminal and disoriented without leaving home, which explains the recent Arab Spring.
Imagine watching the movie “Home Alone” as if you believe it’s real. Life is amazing for those handsome movie stars, in their palatial movie-studio home. We see the movie as shallow entertainment, but in a poor village in the Middle East, it must be a picture of heaven. And for someone raised to believe that Muslims are the most blessed and privileged people on Earth, the contradiction must hit like a hammer.
Western culture is bold and aggressive, and it profoundly affects people in conservative cultures. They believe our fiction.
The Bible talks about birth pangs, stressful events that are only the beginning of something much bigger. That is where we are today. The world that we know is starting to shake, and the migrations of this summer are only the beginning.
A massive new generation is searching for something different.
In the Bible, Daniel was told people would move, possibly migrate, at the end of this age:
But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase. (Daniel 12:4)
And Jesus said, this beginning is only “birth pangs.” Something much bigger is coming.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs. (Matthew 24:6 to 8)