Friday, November 5, 2010

Oppression, occupation, injustice or simply persecution?

The Presbyterian News posted a news article by Ecumenical News International entitled Christian and Muslims to mobilize joint crisis group. The article states that global Christian and Muslim leaders have called for the formation of a group that will intervene whenever a crisis occurs that involves a conflict between Christians and Muslims. The leaders stated, “Religion is often invoked in conflict creation, even when other factors, such as unfair resource allocation, oppression, occupation and injustice, are the real roots of conflict.”

Those groups sponsoring the meeting held at “the Geneva’s Ecumenical Center,” are, according to the article, “the WCC, the Libyan-based World Islamic Call Society, the Jordanian-based Royal Aal al Bayt Institute and the Consortium of “A Common Word,” a group that includes Muslim scholars from around the world.”

WICS was founded by Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi, and is now headed by Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Al-Sharif. He is listed in an article on the Christian Post, “Christians, Muslims Condemn 'Inhumane' Attack on Baghdad Church.”

The World Islamic People’s Leadership & the WICS are connected and pull together many Muslim organizations from all over the world. In December of 2009 “Dr. Ibrahim Rabu, Deputy Assistant to Dr. Mohammed Sharif, General Secretary of the World Islamic People's Leadership, and head of the World Islamic Call Society (WICS) of Libya visited” Louis Farrakhan, the black racist leader of the Nation of Islam. Rabu acknowledged that Farrakhan had attended the 5th General Conference of the WIPL.

There are articles on the WICS site that might be surprising even to some of the participants of the ecumenical crisis group. Probably the most troubling one is entitled. “WIPL Leader addressing Balkan Muslim activists.”This was posted 2010. This is a news article with some of the statements made by the leader of the World Islamic Peoples leader, who is actually Gaddafi, himself:

The Leader stressed, in his speech, that Muslims have no other option, but to unite so as to confront this western onslaught, underlining that it's the Zionists who are spreading evil on earth, suffice it to look at their atrocious measures. He claimed that they will someday be destroyed by Allah, the Almighty, by the hands of tough Muslim warriors.

[Gaddafi goes on to say:]
Now with Turkey, the Balkan States and Albania joining the European Union, Europe would no longer be a Christian continent as it used to be and Islam will become stronger in the European continent in terms of land and population. The Leader indicated that we are waiting for the day Turkey joins the EU to be like the Trojan Horse of modern history.

One wonders if those in the middle of forming a group to prevent religious crises are not in the midst of a crisis themselves.

Voice of the Christian Martyrs gives this information on religious freedom in Libya.

With Qadhafi's strict control of the country, evangelism is difficult and any Christian literature must be smuggled into the country. There are few Libyan believers; almost all Christians (three percent of the population) are foreign workers and their meetings are strictly monitored by the government.

These expatriate Christians in Libya worship openly in the few churches allowed to them. Conversion to Christianity is forbidden and there are few native Libyan believers. In 2002, 14 university students were arrested for converting from Islam and turning to Christ. It was feared that even if they were freed they would be killed by their families. Despite reports that the students had been sentenced to death, they were eventually released but have reportedly lost contact with the Christian community.

Perhaps the thought expressed by the ecumenical crisis group that “Religion is often invoked in conflict creation, even when other factors, such as unfair resource allocation, oppression, occupation and injustice, are the real roots of conflict,” should be better analyzed. Sometimes, often, lack of true religious freedom is the cause of suffering, sorrow and crisis. Until religious persecution of Christians in Islamic lands is addressed by Muslims, and Christians, the crises will not end.


Scooter said...

Hi Viola,
"...even when other factors, such as unfair resource allocation, oppression, occupation and injustice, are the real roots of conflict."
As Christians should we perhaps better see the above points as surface problems rather than the root problem of man's ongoing rebellion against the authority of our Sovereign God which shows itself in all forms of sin?
As far as joining hands with unbelievers John MacArthur believes that the needful thing most missing in the North American church is discernment. This certainly seems to be a good example of such.

An interesting post.

Viola Larson said...

Hi Scooter

I do believe it is our rebellion against God's authority. And we do need discernment. I think there is a time to join in common causes with people of other faiths, yet we need to discern whether we are being used for sinister and political reasons or if it is a real mutual helpful collaboration.

I remember several years ago when many faiths gathered to stand against the actions of some people who had burned three synagogues in Sacramento, one of them totally. Standing together against that was a good thing to do. But the acts were done out of religious hatred-the arsonist were neo-Nazis-what if several religious leaders had looked at that and said what these leaders are saying- “unfair resource allocation, oppression, occupation and injustice,” which excuses religious hatred. That, I think should be our concern.