All posts filed under: Islam

Village in Indonesia Credit: Jose Javier Martin Esparto/Flickr/Creative Commons

A Muslim man’s journey to Christ through the Quran

Evangelical Focus recently shared the testimony of a young Muslim man who became a Christian because of what he read in the Quran — Islam’s version of the Bible. Markus was raised in a strict Sudanese Muslim family in Western Java, Indonesia. His father, a high ranking Muslim leader, led the Muslim University that Markus eventually attended. As part of an Islamic youth group, Markus actively shared Islam with non believers. It was the result of one encounter with a Chinese Christian man who led Markus to leave Islam and become a Christian. As he shared his Islamic views with the man, he responded stating he was confident that he was going to His Father in heaven. For Muslims, heaven is a such a sacred place, they rarely talk about it. Markus was also puzzled over how this man referred to God as his father as Muslims consider themselves slaves of Allah. When Markus challenged the Christian on who his God was, the man answered simply Jesus. This answer began to haunt Markus. According to …

Islamic State flag and graffiti in Rhone Alpes, France. Credit: thierry ehrmann/Wikipedia

Despite threats against the church, God moves on ISIS leader through a dream

According to USA Today, the Islamic terrorist group, ISIS, is urging radical followers to attack Christians attending New Year’s eve church services. This was based on a report issued by the SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that regularly tracks Jihadist websites, forums and social media. SITE states that Jihadist social media messages are encouraging lone-wolf attacks against churches. The report specifically noted four countries were listed as targets — Canada, US, Holland and France. Confirming this report, the FBI issued a warning to churches in the US to be vigilant about possible ISIS attacks during New Year services. The FBI said it has picked up increased chatter of possible strikes against churches and though there were no specifics it issued a general warning. According to Vocatv, Islāmic groups are increasingly using a social media app called Telegram to communicate with followers. It reported on a similar message in Arabic issued by a user who went by the name Abu Marya al-Iraqi: “for bloody celebrations in the Christian New Year … turn the Christian New Year …

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey Credit: Pedro Szekely/Flickr/Creative Commons

Major improvement in Google translation of nine languages

I have received a number of comments on an article published on opentheword.org two days ago in a strange language. Some wondered if opentheword had been hacked. Others asked what language it was. A couple wanted an English translation of the article. All that happened is I took a story on the website and translated it into Turkish using Google translator: English: Former Muslim imam says the Qur’an is the reason he converted to Christianity Turkish translation: Eski Müslüman imam, Hıristiyanlığa dönüşmesinin sebebi Kuran olduğunu söylüyor Here is the back story: A couple of days ago, I received an article in French that I needed to read in English. So I threw it in to Google translator to see what it was about. I have used the service in the past and it provided a basic, but rough rendering of the article. But this time when it spit out the English translation, I was stunned by how well it read. The English was clear and readable. The grammar was correct and I had no trouble …

Eski Müslüman imam, Hıristiyanlığa dönüşmesinin sebebi Kuran olduğunu söylüyor

English translation of article: Former Muslim imam says the Qur’an is the reason he converted to Christianity Mario Joseph, Hindistan’da yaşayan ve bakan olan bir Katolik öğretmen / evanjisttir. Bir rahipten farklı olarak, çocuklarıyla evlidir. Ayrıca bir başka bakımdan farklıdır – dönüşümünden önce Müslüman bir imamdı. Hindistan’da ağırlıklı olarak Müslüman ve Hindu olan birkaç Hıristiyan ile büyüdü. Ailesinin güçlü Müslümanları vardı ve Mario, 8 yaşında Kuran’a gönderildi. 18 yaşındayken Mario, kendi camisinde imam olarak görev yapıyordu. Bu videoda, Mario, İslam’dan Hıristiyanlığa dönüşmesinin büyüleyici ayrıntılarını sunmaktadır. Tuhaf bir şekilde, nerde öğrettiği camide sorulan soru yüzünden başlar. O toplananlara, İsa’nın Tanrı olmadığını, birileri seslenince: “İsa kim?” Bu soru yüzünden Mario, Mesih hakkında daha fazla bilgi edinmek için Kuran’ı aradı. Ne keşfetti onu şaşırttı. Mario’ya göre, Kuran sadece dört kez Muhammed’den bahsediyor; İsa Mesih’e ise 25 bahsediliyor. İkincisi, İsa’nın annesi Meryem, Kuran’da adıyla anılan tek kadın. Muhammed’in annesi bile bu şerefi kabul etmedi. Kuran ayrıca birtakım mucizeleri İsa ile ilişkilendirir. Bazıları İsa’nın doğumdan iki gün sonra konuşması gibi İsa’nın Kitabı olmadığı gibi, nasıl çamurdan kuş çıkardığı, onun üzerinde …

Abandoned Coptic Church in Suez, Egypt Credit: Nathaniel Page/Flickr/Creative Commons

The horrific persecution of the Egyptian Coptic Church

Many consider the Coptic church as the oldest church in the world. It traces its beginnings back to the work of the gospel writer Mark who they believe came to Alexandria, Egypt in 42 AD during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero. For those who believe Jesus died for their sins and rose from the dead, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Copts   have been undergoing horrific persecution in the Middle East, most recently with the bombing of St. Mark’s Coptic Church in Cairo on December 11, 2016.  According to Egyptian authorities a suicide bomber was carrying 12 kilograms of TNT when he set it off in the Sunday morning service killing 24. The Copts make up 10% of Egypt’s population of 91 million. Though authorities were quick to condemn the slaughter, there has been a significant increase in Muslim persecution of Christians in Egypt, since the military overthrow of Egyptian president Mohammaed Morsi in 2013, The Muslim brotherhood who backed Morsi, blames the Coptics, who supported the overthrow, for the …

Dome of the Rock is a Muslim shrine, not a mosque. Credit: Monidas De Mon/Flickr/Creative Commons

More trouble on the Temple Mount

WND.com is reporting a confrontation with Muslim authorities that happened November 17, 2016 on the Temple Mount. WND.com editor Joseph Farrah along with Jonathan Cahn — a Messianic rabbi most famous for his New York Times‘ best seller, The Harbinger — were co-leading a group of 406 people on a visit to Israel. Part of this trip included a visit to the 40-acre Temple Mount located in the heart of Jerusalem. It was the original site of the First and Second Jewish Temples. The Romans destroyed the second temple used in Jesus’ day in 70AD. Today, the site is home to two Muslim buildings — the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Though Israeli government controls  the site, it has given the Jordanian Waqf, essentially an Islamic police force, considerable leeway on controlling the Temple Mount. Among other things, the Waqf monitors dress and ensures that Jews and Christians don’t pray on the site. That latter provision has forced the Jews to pray at the Western Wall down below. As part of the trip to …

Tehran, Iran Credit: rasool abbasi17/Wikipedia

Iran: Despite persecution mass conversions to Christ continue

The Iranian police have been busy these past few months arresting Christians. According to the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), in September the police arrested 25 Iranians attending a church service in the city of Kerman. Other agencies reported similar raids in August when armed police arrested 11 Christians and confiscated Christian literature in Isfahan and nine more attending a house church meeting in Western Iran. Police also arrested five Christians in Firouz-Kouth County where according to Morning Star News, believers fear this arrest was intended to extract information on leaders of the house church movement in that area. Iran has one of worst records of Christian persecution in the world.  NCRI reported the Iranian government executed seven Christians on Christmas Day 2015. The death penalty can come into effect when a Muslim converts to Christianity. Just recently, the country’s sharia court sentenced three men to 80 lashes each for drinking communion wine at a house church meeting in Rasht. The three, that includes the group’s pastor, are also facing charges involving “action …

Muslim quarter of Old Jerusalem. Credit: meghamama/Flickr/Creative Commons

2,700 year-old reference to Jerusalem discovered on a piece of papyri

On October 26, 2016, archaeologists announced they uncovered the earliest non-Biblical reference to Jerusalem. This proves once again that the indisputable Jewish connection to Jerusalem predates the Muslim arrival by thousands of years. They discovered the name Jerusalem on an ancient piece of papyri radio carbon dated to 7 BC that antiquity robbers had pillaged from Judean desert caves in the West Bank. This is the oldest extra-Biblical reference to Jerusalem found so far. The 2,700 year-old papyri was uncovered in an operation undertaken by Israel Antiquities Authority who became aware of the theft and mounted an operation to seize back the stolen antiquities before the robbers sold it on the black market. The small piece of papyri written in Hebrew reads “From the king’s maid servant, from Na’arat, jars of wine to Jerusalem.” Because the writer specifically calls herself a servant of the king, archaeologists suspect the document — referring to the transfer of two jars of wine to Jerusalem — was part of a tax payment. It was made during the reign of …

The Muslim Dome of the Rock on Jerusalem's Temple Mount Credit: James Kirpatrick/Flickr/Creative Commons

When national leaders choose to believe a lie

The Nation of Israel and Jews have been part of the Middle East for thousands of years. One of the earliest non-Biblical references to Israel is found on the Merneptah Stele in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt. The stele, a 10 foot high (3 meters) granite stone monument, was discovered in 1896 during archaeological work on the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes Also called the Israel Stele, it is dated to the reign of the Egyptian king Merneptah (1213 BC – 1203 BC). It outlines his various military victories. The last three lines list his defeat of Canaan including Israel: “Israel is laid waste and his seed is not;” Yet despite this find and thousands of other archaeological discoveries, in a recent UN vote Egypt along with 23 other nations passed a motion that effectively denies any Israeli connection to Jerusalem’s temple mount and Western Wall (the Jewish Wailing Wall). This  motion declaring the Temple Mount a purely Muslim site was passed in a 24-6 vote by the United Nations Educational and Scientific and …

Fall sunset over Zurich, Switzerland. Photo: Werner_B/Flickr/Creative Commons

Swiss agency reports large numbers of Muslims converting to Christ

It’s happening all across Europe — Germany, England, Austria — Muslims are turning to Christ by the thousands. Despite all that is happening, the Holy Spirit is moving. The latest country added to that list is Switzerland. According to Switzerland’s Counselling Center for Integration and Religious Affairs (CCIRA), since 2004 over 2,000 Muslim refugees have become Christians. And it does not appear that the conversion rates will be slowing down any time soon. The ones turning to Christ are mostly Kurds and Afghans. In an interview with a Swiss TV news program, 20 Minutes, CCIRA coordinator Kathrin Anliker said a couple of factors are at play here. First Muslims are increasingly horrified by the brutality of extremists in the Middle East. Just recently a Sharia court in ISIS controlled Mosul, Iraq ordered nine young men to be publicly executed. According to reports, ISIS accused the nine of being members of a resistance movement.  The court ordered the men be tied to iron posts then cut in half with a chain saw. Secondly, Anliker noticed that some of the refugees had …

Photo of Allepo, Syria (Photo Craig Jenkins Wikipedia/Creative Commons) where Muslim extremists captured Karla Mueller insert image (YouTube capture)

Despite ISIL’s torture and rape, Kayla Mueller refused to renounce Christ

On August 4, 2013, American Kayla Mueller, 24, from Prescott, Arizona was working as a humanitarian aid worker in Syria when ISIL captured her and a friend, Omar Alkhani, as they were leaving a Doctors without Borders hospital in Aleppo. Omar who was a contractor for Doctors without Borders was released a few weeks later. Meanwhile, hoping for a ransom, ISIS moved Kayla to various locations throughout Syria. In 2014, the Islamic extremists notified Kayla’s parents of their daughter’s kidnapping. However, nothing could be worked out and  after 18 months in a brutal captivity, Kayla died in February 2015 after an air strike by the Jordanian air force. Recently in an interview with ABC’s news program 20/20, four hostages who shared a cell with Kayla came forward with a story about her remarkable faith in Christ. It appears ISIL was purposefully trying to force Kayla to recant her faith. But in the face of the unrelenting torture, Kayla remained strong to the end. According to ABC, her torture included “verbal abuse, prolonged isolation, sensory deprivation, stress …

Market Church in Wiesbaden, Germany. Photo: Kay Gaensler/Flickr/Creative Commons

Muslim refugees in Germany threaten ‘impure’ Christians

According to an article on Breitbart, Christians in Germany’s migrant housing are being forced to hide their faith due to intimidation and death threats by Muslims. At a recent Frankfurt news conference, Mahin Mousapour said that Christians purposefully hide their crosses and Bibles to avoid hate attacks by Muslims. Mousapour is from Iran. A former Muslim, she became a Christian over 25 years ago  and now pastors Persian Father House, an Evangelical Free church in Frankfurt. Fearing reprisal, refugees tell people in their complex that they are only visiting friends when attending her church. Ms Mousapour was joined at the news conference by politician Erika Steinbach who serves as a member of the Bundestag. It is a German equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives or Canada and England’s House of Commons. Mousapour said Muslims tell Christians that they are “impure as a dog” adding: “Toys of Christian children are being destroyed. Christian asylum seekers are told to not only wash their dishes after eating, but also they must clean the entire kitchen as it would otherwise be ‘unclean’.” …

The Muslim Qur'an written several centuries after the Bible states that Jesus never died on the cross. Photo: Katrine Kaarsemaker/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is Jesus the slave of Allah?

ISIS puts out quarterly Arabic magazine called Dabiq. Also available in English, in its  latest issue ISIS reveals the stark contrast that Muslims have in their concept of God with Christians. In its publication entitled “Break the Cross,” ISIS tells the world that Jesus is “the slave of Allah.” It was part of the overall theme of the magazine attacking Christianity and particularly our concept of Jesus. The Muslim Qur’an speaks a lot about Jesus and even Jesus’ mother Mary has more verses dedicated to her than the prophet Muhammad. According to the Qur’an, Jesus is considered a prophet of Allah (Surah 2:136) and one who performed miracles including raising the dead and healing the sick (Surah 3:49). Many Muslims look upon Jesus as the healing prophet. Muslims do not believe Jesus is God or even the Son of God (Surah 19:88-92) because in their thinking the latter meant God had sex with Mary. Of course, the Bible does not say that. The Holy Spirit conceived Jesus supernaturally and even Mary was shocked by her …

Another media report of Muslims turning to Christ in significant numbers, this time in Stoke-on-Trent, England. Photo: Stoke-on-Trent, Futurilla/Flickr/Creative Commons

Media reports Muslims turning to Christianity in England

I have written several articles on Muslims converting to Christianity in unprecedented numbers. Stories tell of Muslims turning to Christ after Jesus appeared to them in dreams, a fulfillment of Joel 2:28. In Iran, thousands are becoming Christians despite the fear of persecution when they make that decision. And now with the recent influx of hundreds of thousands of Muslims into Europe, several secular media report that thousands of Muslims — many fed up with the violence of the extremists — are becoming Christians across Europe. Now we can add England to this list. A prominent English newspaper, The Guardian wrote a curious article on what is happening at Church of St. Mark in Stoke-on-Trent, England. The story stated that one recent Saturday morning, 15 Muslim refugees were baptized in the church. Rev Sally Smith who serves as the church’s vicar, says that three to four Muslims turn to Christianity weekly. According to the article, part of the reason for the growth is that the church is supplying the refugees assistance in the form of …

Inside Egypt's cave church where 70,000 meet in services on a weekly basis. The church can seat 20,000 inside and thousands more outside. Photo: vagabondblogger/Flickr/Creative Commons

Egyptian cave church has 70,000 people attending services every week

I was surprised to find out one of the largest churches in the world is found in Egypt. With the increased activity of Muslim militants, Christians are increasingly under threat in the Middle East and many are leaving. But in the midst of this turmoil, a church thrives in Mokattam mountain located southeast of Cairo, Egypt. Over 70,000 people attend the weekly services held at the Coptic church built into the mountain, that is part of the ancient Monastery of Saint Simon. The church itself holds about 20,000 people including those who sit inside and out. There are also several other chapels built in caves inside the mountain that connect with the main sanctuary. Though a Coptic church, it has a definite Charismatic flavor as you can see in a video of a service below as the congregation sings “Emmanuel”: So who attends this church? Most of them are Zabbaleens, literally “garbage people.” They etch out a living pouring through Cairo’s (population 6.8 million) massive garbage dumps. The Zabbaleens were originally farmers who came to …

The cost of freedom. Photo: Mark Sardella/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sometimes you just have to pay the bribe

I was reading a story that brought back some old memories. Rev. Canon Andrew White, otherwise known as the Vicar of Baghdad, was at one point the only Anglican Priest willing to live in Baghdad, Iraq. Because of his prominence, there were fears he would be assassinated by Islamic terrorist and last year the Anglican church transferred him to a church in Jordan. Reports are circulating that he was recently suspended by an organization he works for — the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRM). FRRM has launched an inquiry over allegations the Vicar used the organization’s funds to free Christian women being sold in a sex slave market by the Islamic terrorist organization — ISIS. White has since denied using FRRM funds for this. But the incident reminded me of something my wife and I went through over 20 years ago. We were unable to have children and this led us to adopt overseas. We adopted our daughter from Peru. As we entered the adoption process, we had to pay …

Mecca at the birth place of Muhammad and the place he received his first revelation of the Qur'an is considered the holiest site in Islam. Photo: AKPhotoPro/Flickr/Creative Commons

Muslim group admits Islamic teaching is at the root of terrorism

One of the world’s largest Muslim groups has admitted that extremism and the groups associated with it — such as the Taliban, ISIS and al-Quaeda — are rooted in Islamic teaching. Earlier this month, Indonesian Muslim cleric Yahya Staquf was speaking on behalf of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Muslim group in the world, to an international Muslim conference being held in Jakharta, Indonesia. In his address, Staquf said: “We keep on denying the source of the problem, name some ailments within Islam itself. To be able to combat the global jihadi movement, world leaders and the general public must recognize the fact that extremism originates from Islamic teachings.” He further stated that extremists use Islamic teaching to justify their acts of violence. Staquf believes the only way to stop Muslim terror is to reform Islam itself. Islam needs to change. Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems in Islam is that extremist elements consider any criticism of Islam as blasphemy and punishable by death. They use intimidation to quell any dissent and because of this few …

Hamburg, Germany Photo: Arne Bornheim/Flickr/Creative Commons

Did the Bible predict thousands of Muslims converting to Christ in Europe?

Several media outlets are reporting that churches across Europe are seeing thousands of Middle Eastern refugees, most of them Muslims, turning to Christ. Recently the Pastor of a Persian Church in Hamburg, Germany baptized 600 Muslims in one service, largely Afghans and Pakistanis. And it was done for all to see as a local TV station — ARD TV — showed up with its cameras in tow to film the momentous event.. In the same city, Pentecostal Pastor Albert Babjan just baptized 80 former Muslims who had converted to Christ. So far this year, Babjan has baptized 196 Muslims and expects the number could reach 500 by December. In an interview with the German newspaper Stern, Babjan said that many of the converts are turning to Christianity because of their disappointment in Islam. They are tired of the Islamic extremists’ fear and intimidation tactics in the countries from which they fled. Stern interviewed one of the recently baptized Christian converts that Babjan had just baptized and described the difference between Christianity and Islam this way: …

Cross overlooking a valley in Lebanon Photo: Paul Saad/Flickr/Creative Commons Insert Photo: Rima Fakih/Wikipedia/US Army

Report: America’s first Muslim Miss USA has converted to Christianity

When Rima Fakih, 30, was crowned Miss USA in 2010, it was generally believed she was the first Muslim woman to ever win the title. Shortly after winning, Fakih acknowledged her Muslim faith stating: “I’d like to say I’m American first, and I am an Arab-American, I am Lebanese-American, and I am Muslim-American.” She was born in Lebanon and raised in a Shia Muslim family, that admittedly had been luke-warm to their Muslim faith and would often observe both Muslim and Christian holidays. The family immigrated to New York in 1993 and continued to observe both Muslim and Christian holidays including even attending church on Easter. But in 2003, her family moved to Dearborn, Michigan and became involved with the large Islamic community in that city. When Fakih started attending the University of Michigan, her father urged her to reconnect with her Muslim roots through the Islamic group at the University. It was here that she began to learn of her Muslim faith including Ramadan — that involves a month of fasting and prayer in …

Women in Iran. Photo: Sebastia Giralt/Flickr/Creative Commons

Middle East Muslim leader puts daughter under house arrest for becoming a Christian

Paul Siniraj is founder of Bibles for the Mideast an organization that smuggles Bibles into Middle Eastern Muslim countries. In a recent report on his website, he told of the remarkable Christian conversion of an unnamed young woman, 16, who is the daughter of one of the rulers of an unnamed Mideast country. The young woman, who Siniraj gave the name Najima, was receiving a higher education at a Western school in that Muslim nation. Najima was eating in the cafeteria, when she noticed paper jammed between the tables. Pulling it out, she discovered it was a Gospel tract. She read it and one of the Bible verses on the tract caught her attention: “For God hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21) Being from a strong Muslim family, Najima faithfully followed all the Muslim traditions, so she tossed the tract into the garbage. But though she got rid of the tract, the Bible verse began …

ISIS burning Bibles in Mosul.

The good news about burning Bibles

Recently, someone burned Bibles in the city of Mosul in Iraq. Christians have left the region, so their enemies burned their books. Someone wants to exterminate Christians, and that is bad news. It is easy to miss that this is also a good news story. Christians are suffering, and that is tragic, but part of this story is good. It’s a picture of disruption. “Innovative Disruption” refers to a new idea that replaces a “market and value structure.” It erodes critical mass which is the minimum amount required to maintain a venture. One good example is the smart phone that you probably have in your pocket. I remember when phones were mostly black and had dials. The system worked well, but now we all want the new thing. Cell phone vendors don’t hate dial phones, they just promote their new thing. Traditional phone companies had us all, their critical mass, and then lost us. Now they are free to sell antique designs to a few, but they need us all in order to succeed. In …

Twenty-one Christian men marching to martyrdom on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Redeeming the land?

Dr Joseph Yousef has a ministry, Leading the Way, that broadcasts via radio and TV to over 190 countries around the world. On a recent program, Yousef interviewed Shahid (not his real name) a former Muslim from Libya. After attending a Muslim school for 14 years, Shahid was an expert in Islamic Law and interpretation. However, he began to question his Islamic faith and when he asked sincere questions to those mentoring him, he was abruptly told the Qur’an forbids people from asking questions. Shahid said he struggled with this doubt for four years and finally renounced Islam and decided to become an atheist. It was during this period he heard about Christianity through Leading the Way’s 24-hour satellite channel. He ended up contacting the ministry who eventually introduced the young Muslim man to several Christians living in Jordan and Lebanon. Shahid met secretly with a group for a few months, studying the Bible. He eventually became a Christian and was baptized. Today, he is sharing his faith with fellow Muslims primarily in Libya and …

Muslim Shrine in Iran. You can see an image of the Ali Khomeni, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on the left. Photo: My life, the universe and ..../Flickr/Creative Commons

Christian population surging in Iran

Despite Iran’s heavy-handed crackdown, the Christian population in Iran is flourishing and growing rapidly. The country has a population of about 78 million. The official religion is Muslim, and on paper it allows other religions including Christianity. However, it is illegal for a Muslim and even members of other religions to convert to Christianity. Iran is an Islamic Republic and though there is an elected president, according to Iran’s constitution he is subject to the country’s “Supreme Leader” who is the highest ranking religious leader in the country — currently Ali Khomenei. Iran is made up primarily of Shia Muslim, the smaller of the two main branches of Islam, the larger being Sunni — ISIS comes out of this latter group. It is dangerous for a Muslim to convert to Christianity in Iran and aside from societal/family pressure can lead to imprisonment, torture and even death. As a result, most Iranian Muslims convert secretly, keeping it hidden from their family. One of those Muslims who converted to Christianity in Iran but didn’t keep it quiet …

Za'atari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. Photo UNHCR Photo Unit/Flickr/Creative Commons

Muslim family receives a message from God through a vision

Ekballow Project is a ministry actively involved in sharing Jesus among Muslims. According to  Ekballow’s Tyler Connel, because of the horrific suffering Muslims are experiencing in the Middle East at the hands of extremists many are becoming disillusioned and are increasingly open to the Gospel. The organization recently shared a video on the compelling story of how a whole family of Muslims in the Middle East became Christians. Two years ago, A young man, 24, from Vermont, USA, who they refer to only as “Daniel” to protect his identity, was ministering to Syrians in a refugee camp in an unnamed Muslim country. With an interpreter at his side, he was going from tent to tent sharing Christ. When he arrived at one tent, he introduced himself as “Daniel” and told the family he was there to talk about Jesus. He had barely finished his sentence, when the father started yelling and the family sat stunned looking at him. It was obvious something unusual was taking place. Daniel asked the interpreter what was going on. Through …

Controversy in Chicago? Photo: Downtown Chicago -- Greg Wass/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Christian Muslim War – Or Not

A recent article in Aljazeera News comments on opposition to the conversion of an empty church to a mosque, for Muslims living near Chicago. The title describes “controversy” over the plan, and opposition in the community. The comments from readers are predictable, with hateful troll messages. “Religions in general are the work of Satan.”, “your name shouts like you need to take a bath”, and “Hope you get good sleep after spitting so much poison” are some comments I can print here. The article is long, but reading past the title shows one important thing, there is no controversy. It is true that a Muslim group wants to use an abandoned church building as a mosque, but there is no report of effective opposition from anyone. Apparently some anonymous flyers have been left in nearby mailboxes stating concerns about property values and traffic congestion. There is no mention of religious statements in the flyers. I guess this represents someone in the community with a computer and a printer. The authorities have given approval and a …

Israeli officers saluting their flag Photo: Israel Defense Forces/Flickr/Creative Commons

Who does ISIS really fear?

As ISIS works to set up a Muslim Caliphate in the Middle East with hopes of extending its influence into even Europe, there is only one country it fears — Israel. This is according to a German reporter who spent 10 days with ISIS in 2014. Because of a unique relationship he had developed with ISIS leaders, Jurgen Todenhofer received permission to embed with the Islamic extremists. During this time he was able to interview several Jihadi fighting in Iraq and Syria. Though several countries such as America and Britain have military in Iraq, Todenhoffer said in an interview with Jerusalem News that ISIS is not scared of them because they lack the commitment and experience needed for city guerrilla warfare. As one fighter pointed out, Mosul, Iraq has 1.5 million people and ISIS has 10,000 fighters scattered throughout the city and Western armies lack the experience for that type of urban fighting. ISIS’s headquarters is based in Mosul. In addition, ISIS fighters are prepared to die for their cause, and they do not believe …

Christmas is illegal in Brunei Photo Brunei water village/jkuba

Christmas is Cancelled, and Illegal

Did you know Christmas is illegal in Saudi Arabia? Celebrating Christmas there can get you ten years in jail. The country is the home of Mecca, the holy city at the center of Islam. It is also one of the wealthiest nations in the world, with massive oil and gas deposits. Many foreigners work there, including thousands of committed Christians, and the economy needs them. During the first gulf war, American troops defended the Saudis against Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army, and Christian chaplains led worship services. I think that was the first time that Christians worshiped legally and openly in Saudi Arabia. There are no reports of Jewish, Buddhist, or Hindu services. And now Christmas is illegal, and severely punished. The tiny country of Brunei on the island of Borneo is more lenient. Celebrating Christmas will only get you five years. Brunei has a population of less than half a million, and more than 30% of them are non-Muslim, but Muslim Sharia law has been imposed on everyone and it’s now illegal to wear a …

There has been a 1,800% increase in YouVersion Bible app being used in Iran Photo: Colourful Iranian restaurant My Life the Universe and/Flickr

God by the Numbers: The Bible, Finland, and the Islamic Republic of Iran

While the world argues and bickers about important things, the foundations have shifted under our feet. “Relevant Issues” are dinosaurs, and we don’t see it. A church in Oklahoma has published a Bible app YouVersion, now downloaded 200 million times. One business estimate in 2014 said it might be worth 200 million dollars. They reached 100 million downloads in 2013 and 200 million in 2015. Have you ever been to Finland? Me neither; but while the world was fascinated with old European stuff in London, Paris and Rome, some people up north in the Finland woods moved the world. And they don’t get much credit. When DOS, MS Windows and Mac OS dominated the computer business, scientists quietly continued with UNIX, an operating system that belonged to everyone. Only serious nerds cared, until Linus Torvalds in Finland made the LINUX core into a free operating system that resembled Windows. Linus UNIX is Linux and it is free. Then the big money people got involved. Apple is possibly still the wealthiest corporation in the world, and …

Photo Frontiersusa.org

Jesus appears to Muslim husband and wife in their dreams

Frontiers, is a Christian organization dedicated to preaching the Gospel among Muslims. One of their field workers recently reported on a remarkable conversion of a Muslim woman and her husband. According to the report, Gulzhan was meeting with a Christian worker for a Bible study in an unnamed isolated village. This went on for some time without the woman choosing to follow Christ. That all changed when Jesus appeared to Gulzhan in a dream. When that happened the woman knew she needed to become a Christian. As news of Gulzhan’s faith decision spread, the neighbors in the Islamic village where she lived were not impressed and immediately turned against the woman. But it was the onset of winter that drove Gulzhan from the proverbial pan into the fire. Though the cold weather reduced her interaction with the villagers, she was now in constant contact with her husband, Elemes, who was becoming increasingly agitated with Gulzhan’s faith. He would become enraged when he found his wife reading the Bible or singing hymns to God. In a …

The Ommayad Mosque in Damascus, Syria was originally a church. Photo: reway2007/Flickr

Were drug fueled superhuman ISIS fighters foreseen in the Book Revelation?

Washington Post columnist Peter Holley recently wrote about the super powers of ISIS fighters that makes them fearless in ISIS’s battle to set up a Muslim Caliphate in the Middle East. He says the reason is a small pill called “Captagon.” The highly addictive drug is illegal in the West. It was initially produced as a cure for such things as depression or hyperactivity. However, because of its severe negative side affects and addictive qualities the drug was banned in 1986 in most Western nations. Some of the side effects included hallucinations, psychosis and even brain damage. While banned in the rest of the world, the easily manufactured drug remained in production in the Middle East. Today, Syria and Saudi Arabia are the main producers of the drug which over the years has become increasingly toxic. According to Holley, ISIS leaders are giving their fighters the drug because it produces an euphoric state in the person, causing them to lose any sense of fear. It also results in the person being able to go for …

Photo source: Clark Atlanta University

ISIS: Do they really plan to win?

Fighters from ISIS have shot and bombed and beheaded thousands in the last two years. We all know they attacked many innocent people in Paris France, and Russia has joined the fight in Syria. Now China is involved, because ISIS beheaded one of their citizens. The mess is starting to look like a small world war. So do a few devout religious people in the desert imagine they can win against the whole world? The question is like a joke. But they are winning, and they know it. A recent article in the BBC asked the question, “Do terrorists really think they’re going to win?” The analysis includes ISIS, and yes terrorists can win. ISIS can win because it is a religious movement. The trick is as old as the Bible; score a bull’s eye every time, just move the target. Every religion has values. It wouldn’t be a religion if it didn’t. ISIS can win by wanting what they want, and not wanting what we want them to want. In better English, they can …

Muslim woman in Mumbai, India Photo: Trey Ratcliff/Flickr

Forgiving Muslims, for their terrorists

After the Paris terrorist attacks, like many, I was angered by what happened even though I was over 5,000 kms away. How would I react if I had personally been attacked by a Muslim? The closest I came was at a local grocery store in our community a couple of years back. Though a very minor incident, it still bothered me. I was slowly driving through the lot looking for a parking spot, when a van turned into the aisle I was driving down and came towards me. Though there was plenty of room for both of us to pass, a few yards out the older, blue van veered into my lane stopping right in front of me. I slammed on my brakes. Our two vehicles were now nose to nose. Inside the van, I saw a  young, bearded man at the wheel, staring and smiling. He was enjoying what he had done. A woman presumably his wife, dressed head to toe in a hajib, opened the van door, quickly stepped out of the vehicle …

Central Java, Indonesia Photo: Piyaphon Phemtaweepon/Flickr

Dealing with fear

In December 2001, Pastor You Yong was praying in his church in Magetan, Indonesia when members of the Laskar Jihad army surrounded the church and kidnapped the Christian pastor. Pastor You had started a small church in 1996 and it grew to over 100 people. The majority of the congregation were converts from Islam. The Muslims were outraged. Indonesia has a population of about 250 million and 85% are Muslim. In a couple of provinces, they have even managed to set up Sharia law. Though Christians only make up 12% of the population, they are the fastest growing religion in Indonesia. Yong’s church was part of that growth. The Muslims complained to local authorities that Yong was causing disharmony. When they were put off, the Islamic leaders called in the Laskar Jihad army to deal with the situation. The Jihadists threw a bag over Yong’s head and dragged him off for interrogation. They beat and threatened Yong. They held a machete to his neck and Yong thought he was going to die. But during this …

Sidokarto, Indonesia Photo: Jose Javier Martin Espartosa/Flickr

Burning Churches

Recently, Muslim extremists in Indonesia have been burning Christian churches. This is news around the world, and it seems to be another example of Muslim intolerance, but I think there is a hidden story here. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any country. It’s interesting that the second largest Muslim population is in India. The mostly Hindu population of India is so large, that close to 200,000,000 Muslims are a minority. Asia is amazing. Indonesia also has close to 200,000,000 Muslims, with large minorities of Christians, Buddhists, Confucianists, and Hindus. Hindus dominate the island of Bali. The country is a democracy, and the government strives for unity. And until recently, Muslims in Indonesia were known as tolerant and inclusive. The most northern province of Indonesia is Aceh, a conservative Muslim region where Sharia law is imposed on everyone, including Christians. That’s where churches are being burned. Religious divisions could lead to civil war. In July a mosque was burned in Papua, which is predominantly Christian, and the nations largest province. In Aceh, Christians defended …

Orthodox Jews praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: Nico_/Flickr

VICTORY: Palestinian Authority drops resolution to have UN declare Jerusalem’s Western Wall a Muslim holy site

UPDATE: It is now being reported that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has withdrawn its resolution that the UN designate the Western Wall a Muslim holy site.  It is being called a rare victory for Israel at the UN. Apparently the public backlash against this claim forced the Palestinian group to change its mind. The organization still wants the UN to designate Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs as Muslim sites. Israel said it will continue to aggressively fight these ludicrous claims. The Palestinian Authority put forward a motion via UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to have the UN declare Jerusalem’s Western Wall a Muslim religious site earlier this week. It was expected to go to a vote on October 21, 2015. PA claims it is part of an old wall surrounding the al-Aqsa mosque built on the Temple Mount. The Jews have prayed at the Western Wall for centuries believing it is the last remains of the outer wall of the Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans …