The first day of the new school year quickly became a nightmare. At 9 a.m., with the gymnasium packed with 6-to-16-year-old students in assembly, terrorists blasted into the school. After machine-gunning down several adults, they took over and rigged the building with explosives.
For 53 excruciating hours, they terrified their captives. One boy begged a terrorist for some water, and in response got a bayonet plunged into his body. Dehydrated students were forced to drink their own urine in order to survive. After one of the teachers pleaded for the terrorists to spare the children, she was asked, “Have you finished?” When she nodded, she was shot dead. Several individuals were dragged to one particular classroom, murdered and thrown out a window.
What causes people to act so mercilessly? How could a mind become so sick as to justify terrorizing and killing innocent people—let alone children? The terrorists of 9/11 targeted buildings full of adults—bad enough, to be sure. But how evil do people have to be to deliberately select as their target a grade school?
In the end, the terrorists slaughtered over 350 people with sniper fire and rigged explosives. Over 150 of the dead were children.
In a world growing increasingly desensitized to daily headlines describing suicide bombings, institutionalized torture, kidnappings and beheadings, the September 3 terrorist attack at School #1 in Beslan, Russia, was particularly shocking for its barbarity. It was deeply revealing of the grisly heartlessness, the lack of concern for innocent life, that typifies the terrorist mentality.
But perhaps just as shocking was the global response to the calamity.
Rather than expressing indignation over the wickedness—and sympathy for its victims—several governments and much of the mainstream press sought to pin blame on the Russian leadership. The European Union demanded that Russia explain “how the tragedy could have occurred.” President Putin was particularly criticized by an international community sympathetic to the aims of the separatists in Chechnya that have been waging a terrorist war against Russia for over a decade. The Council of Europe urged nations to “keep up the pressure [on Russia] for a resolution to the Chechen conflict.”
Such statements effectively diverted attention from the evil by romanticizing the terrorists’ cause and cloaking their Islamist connections. The mainstream press, having largely opted to avoid the stigmatized word terrorist, chose to describe the monsters of Beslan as activists, assailants, captors, insurgents, perpetrators, rebels and so on.
This too was deeply revealing. It revealed moral compromise. It revealed an unwillingness to admit the reality that Chechnya has become another bloody battleground in a war waged by Islamic terrorists—killing innocent civilians for political purposes in nations all over the globe. It revealed a complete failure by so many in the West to comprehend the grim threat that terrorism poses in the world today.
Such naivety is appallingly dangerous. It virtually guarantees that Islamic terrorism will become perhaps the single most shockingly destructive force in the world in the near term.
We must face this issue squarely. Wishful thinking, political correctness, careless assumption, unfounded emotion—all these obscure the truth. Looking at the observable facts with unblinking honesty provides a chilling picture of nothing less than the early stages of another Medieval religious crusade.
But even more importantly, if we also sweep aside any prejudice against the unerring truth of the Bible, we will receive a far more accurate—and even more terrifying—view not only of the unseen cause of Islamic terrorism, but also of its future as we can expect to see it unfold within the next few years.
The more clear-eyed and frank religious scholars generally agree that Islam, like Roman Catholicism, is a religion whose ultimate goal is universal conversion. “In the classical Islamic view, to which many Muslims are beginning to return, the world and all mankind are divided into two: the House of Islam, where the Muslim law and faith prevail, and the rest, known as the House of Unbelief or the House of War, which it is the duty of Muslims ultimately to bring to Islam” (Bernard Lewis, Atlantic, September 1990).
Among the multiplicity of religions throughout history, most have been polytheistic, idolatrous and relatively tolerant of other beliefs. Islam and Catholicism, by contrast, stand out not only as being two of the few religions that demand worship of only one god, but also as being missionary—and quite aggressive in their ambitions. (Not surprisingly, then, Muslims and Catholics have been found in conflict with one another during most of the 14 centuries that they have coexisted, struggling through a repetitive cycle of jihads and crusades.)
In the writings and speeches of many influential Muslims, the language of religious conquest appears again and again. Sayyid Qutb, one of the leading thinkers behind the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the mid-20th century, wrote in a 1955 essay of his desire to establish a headquarters for Islam worldwide, “which is then to be carried throughout the Earth to the whole of mankind, as the object of this religion is all humanity and its sphere of action is the whole Earth.” Qutb’s ideas provided impetus for the rise in radical Islamist groups; his followers assassinated Anwar Sadat in 1981.
Qutb’s thinking is alive and well today. Even moderate Muslims speak of Islam as being a universal religion aimed at encompassing the world. Dr. Zaki Badawi, the moderate former director of London’s Islamic Cultural Center, said Islam “hopes that one day the whole of humanity will be one Muslim community.”
Many Muslims are particularly excited about converting Western nations, especially the United States. The first Muslim missionaries to the U.S. in the 1920s declared frankly, “Our plan is, we are going to conquer America.” Today’s adherents to this belief are not just on the extremist fringe—they populate mainstream Muslim groups in the U.S. and inhabit tenured positions in American universities.
The ultimate goal “is to apply the Islamic law (the Sharia) globally. In U.S. terms, it intends to replace the Constitution with the Koran” (Daniel Pipes, FrontPageMagazine.com, September 23). For a clear statement of this goal, Pipes points to a 1989 book written by an influential commentator on American Muslim issues named Siddiqi: “Siddiqi argues that Muslims taking control of the United States has more importance than such goals as sustaining the Iranian revolution or destroying Israel, for it has greater impact on the future of Islam” (Pipes, Militant Islam Reaches America). The prospect of uniting America’s material success with the “superb ideology” of Islam is deeply motivating to Siddiqi.
The vast majority of Muslims who seek to spread the religion globally are nonviolent. Nevertheless, they seek to “save” decadent Western society by 1) increasing the number of Muslims through immigration, reproduction and conversion; and by 2) gradually applying Islamic law—that is, promoting the spread of Muslim customs and rituals; securing special privileges for Islamic schools, mosques and other organizations; and gradually cracking down on un-Islamic activity.
The plan may be working. Islam has become the second-largest religion in America, Europe and Australia. The French government estimates that 50,000 Christians in France convert to Islam each year; in Britain, mosque attendance has outpaced that of the Church of England. In Europe, the purely demographic danger posed by Muslim immigrants has become an explosive political issue: In the last 30 years, Europe has absorbed some 20 million Muslims—equal to the combined populations of Ireland, Belgium and Denmark. Reputed Islam scholar Bernard Lewis says, “Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century.”
This evolutionary approach is a serious enough threat to the West, but some few Muslims advocate a speedier, more revolutionary method. Though Osama bin Laden is the most notable example, his thinking is not as far on the fringe as most Westerners would like to believe.
In the July 24 Spectator, Anthony Browne wrote about the violent side of the universalist mindset within Islam: “Saudi Arabia, whose flag shows a sword, seems unabashed about its desire for Islam to take over the world. Its embassy in Washington recommends the home page of its Islamic affairs department, where it declares, ‘The Muslims are required to raise the banner of jihad in order to make the Word of Allah supreme in this world.’ Saudi Arabia has used billions of its petrodollars to export its particularly harsh form of Islam, Wahhabism, paying for mosques and Islamic schools across the West. About 80 percent of the U.S.’s mosques are thought to be under Wahhabi control.
“Saudi Arabia’s education ministry encourages schoolchildren to despise Christianity and Judaism. A new schoolbook in the kingdom’s curriculum tells 6-year-olds: ‘All religions other than Islam are false.’ A note for teachers says they should ‘ensure to explain’ this point. In Egypt, the schoolbook Studies in Theology: Traditions and Morals explains that a particularly ‘noble’ bit of the Koran is ‘encouraging the faithful to perform jihad in God’s cause, to behead the infidels, take them prisoner, break their power—all that in a style which contains the highest examples of urging to fight.’”
Politicians and priests, students and scholars in many countries have explained persistently that the violence being advocated from within the Muslim community is in fact a corruption of Islam, which is a peaceful religion. That said, it is this Islamic desire for universal conversion that is manifesting itself in widespread hatred of the West and, in its most fanatical form, terrorism.
Tactics of Terror
With over a billion Muslims in the world, it takes only a tiny percentage who are sympathetic to the militant cause to create huge problems. As the Spectator’s Mark Steyn said, even 1 percent is “enough for a vast global support network” (September 11).
Governments around the world are being forced to step up their resistance to Islamist violence. Consider Europe. Officials dealing with terrorism are waking up to the increasing threat of Muslim violence on the Continent, uncovering terrorist cells with well-established links to North America, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Post-mortem analysis of 9/11 showed that the European Union, with its lenient asylum laws and generous social programs, had served as a haven for the terrorists in those attacks.
Islamist activity in Southeast Asia is also burgeoning. In many ways, the region is ideal for radicalism to flourish—its huge Islamic population (240 million) largely lives under weak or corrupt governments and lax security conditions. The past half-decade has seen a sharp trend toward their becoming more anti-American, politicized and radicalized.
A similar pattern is emerging in Africa. Mideast Muslims are searching for safe havens outside the reach of American power, and Africa is proving itself useful to them. Suffering from crushing poverty and disease, much of the continent provides powerful testimony to the failure of Western aid and religion to solve its problems. Anti-Americanism in particular is growing, and increasing numbers of Africans are seeing some appeal in the message of Islam.
There is a unique mixture of economic realities, cultural pressures and religious beliefs that combine to create an environment conducive to terrorism.
Consider: The Western world spends trillions of dollars defending itself with high-tech airplanes, warships, surveillance equipment, bombs, missiles and so on. The poorer Muslim nations’ economic, technological and military inferiority eliminates for them the option of direct conventional warfare. Terrorism, however, can be a cheap tool. And effective.
Think about the bang that the perpetrators of 9/11 got for their buck: some flight lessons, motels, rentals cars, box cutters—chump change. Used strategically, these limited resources turned the most powerful nation on Earth on its ear. Terrorism is, as intelligence analyst Dr. George Friedman put it, “among the most accessible types of warfare,” one that “provides a unique opportunity for small, non-state groups to wage war” (August 3).
The primary weapon of the terrorist is the fear within the heart of his enemy. The more shocking, audacious, arbitrary, cruel and brutal his attack, the deeper the fear it will inspire.
The terrorist doesn’t necessarily target a government directly. His goal is to so terrorize the people that they pressure their government to make political change. The potential of this tactic to get results was impressively displayed in Spain on March 11 this year, when a train bombing just 72 hours before an election moved the public to boot its prime minister in favor of a candidate who pledged to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq. (As Steyn wryly commented, this sent “a tough message to the Islamists: ‘We apologize for catching your eye.’”)
The words of prophetic Scripture leap into perspective in vivid description of these times: “For these be the days of vengeance …. Men’s hearts failing them for fear …” (Luke 21:22, 26).
In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the terrorists are not only wearing down the resistance of the Jewish population through repeated suicide bombings and other strikes, they are targeting Israel’s allies—trying to drive the costs associated with the alliance above the advantages it brings. The same approach is being employed in Iraq today against coalition forces.
But the mere possibility of injuring powerful enemies using low-tech means is not enough to turn people into terrorists. In the Middle East and elsewhere, it is the association of these strategies and goals with the universalist religion of Islam that combines into such a potent poison.
It may well be a corruption of correct koranic interpretation, but Islamic terrorists are using the Koran to justify the most monstrous of acts.
Even as far back as the 8th century, Hajjaj, the governor of what is now Iraq, invoked the Koran after a battle with these words: “The great God says in the Koran, ‘O true believers, when you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads.’ The above command of the great God is a great command and must be respected and followed.” The koranic verse he referred to, Sura 47:4, reads, “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly.” Other militaristic verses include Sura 2:190-191 (“Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. … Slay them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. Idolatry is worse than carnage.”) and Sura 9:5 (“When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them.”).
With such scriptures drummed into their minds, an increasing number of Muslims are becoming saturated in a religious culture that worships death. Allah is portrayed as being pleased with the murder of infidels as well as with the “martyrdom” of those who murder them. This is a sick distortion of the Christian concept of martyrdom—being innocently killed for one’s faith. A Muslim “martyr” can be one who blows himself up while killing enemies of the faith.
There are verses in the Koran that condemn killing innocent people, which those who claim that Islam is a peaceful religion often cite. But who is “innocent”? One prominent Saudi sheikh strongly disagreed with those who condemned the 9/11 attacks because they killed innocents: “This was jihad and those people were not innocent people.” Bin Laden also insists that his victims are not innocent.
Once a believer is convinced of the righteousness of his cause, he can be moved to perform acts of disturbing ruthlessness. To him, the ends justify any means. To kill an innocent is to do God a favor; but to kill him in a grisly manner and upload a home video of the killing onto the Internet is simply to increase its propaganda value.
Such methods evoke Isaiah’s prophecy about our present day: “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood …. The way of peace they know not: … they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:7-8).
As Michael Ignatieff wrote in the New York Times, “Indeed, the whole logic of terrorism is to exploit the rules, to turn them to their own advantage. If we hesitate to strike a mosque because the rules of war designate it as a protected place, then the smart thing for a terrorist to do is to store weapons and suicide belts there. If our forces start from the presumption that civilian women should be treated as noncombatants, then terrorists will train women to be suicide bombers. If all existing codes of warriors’ honor forbid the desecration of bodies, then it is not just mindless brutality but actually a sound terrorist tactic to drag contractors from a car in Fallujah, set them alight and display their severed and burned limbs from a bridge. Such provocations are intended to drag us down to their level” (May 2).
A chilling peek under the lid of this faith-driven, death-loving culture was offered last March. A 14-year-old named Hussam Abdu surrendered himself at an army roadblock near Nablus, Israel. He had 14 pounds of explosives strapped to his waist; after planning to blow himself up, he’d had second thoughts. His confession was revealing: “I wanted to get to the Garden of Eden, to have sex there with 72 virgins,” he told the soldiers after they cut his explosive belt off. “They told me that this was the only way [to get to heaven], and they promised that my mother would get 100 shekels [about us$22] if I did this.”
Having been bullied at school, Hussam wanted “to be a hero.” In the end, fortunately, he proved too cowardly for that brand of heroism—unlike many other boys before him. Since the latest intifada began in 2000, 29 children under age 18 have been sent to their deaths on suicide missions.
Such brainwashing and intimidation is contemptible. We should not be timid about passing judgment on individuals who not only don’t mind slaughtering innocent children in Russian schools, but who are also comfortable with slaying their own children to increase the death count! As the psalmist wrote, “The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth” (Psalms 11:5).
In a May 29, 2002, interview with Islam Online, terrorist Salah Shehadeh, who was commander of the military wing of Hamas before being killed by Israeli Defense Forces in July, spoke of how his organization chooses a boy to become a bomb. “The choice is made according to four criteria: First, devout religious observance. Second, we verify that the young man complies with his parents’ wishes and is loved by his family …. Third, his ability to carry out the task assigned [to] him, and to understand its gravity; and fourth, his martyrdom should encourage others to carry out martyrdom operations and encourage jihad in the hearts of people” (translated by Memri.org).
This kind of thinking is being promoted on a broad scale within certain segments of Islamic society. Many Islamic seminaries, called madrasas, are infecting their young students with hatred and death worship. This religious education is generally free, unlike a regular education, and the countries that devote the least amount to public education have the highest madrasa enrollment. “In some ways, madrasas are at the center of a civil war of ideas in the Islamic world,” says Husain Haqqani, a Muslim and former madrasa student. “Poor students attending madrasas find it easy to believe that the West, loyal to uncaring and aloof leaders, is responsible for their misery and that Islam as practiced in its earliest form can deliver them” (Foreign Policy, November-December 2002). Thus, the education these masses of people are receiving is, in an increasing number of cases, frighteningly militant, and is churning out students who end up being foot soldiers in the terrorists’ war on the West.
But even the intoxicating combination of economics, culture and religion does not completely account for the terrorism problem we have today. The most brilliant thinkers cannot fully explain why the West faces such ferocious enemies within Islam.
There is an unseen cause of Islamic terrorism that we need to understand.
The Unseen Cause
How could human beings act in such inhuman ways? What would drive people to such cruelty? There is a spiritual dimension to this question that we must not overlook.
The terrorist mind-set—though extreme—is a measure of the evil within man. God states plainly in His Word, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked …” (Jeremiah 17:9). The unspeakable horror of terrorist actions is a clear demonstration of the wickedness of human nature.
But where does this evil human nature—the cause of this world’s problems—come from?
Scripture reveals the very real presence of an invisible spirit being—the original murderer and the father of evil—intent on destroying humanity (John 8:44). Satan the devil is not a myth. The fact that he is invisible does not negate his existence. The Bible reveals that he deceives this whole world (Revelation 12:9) and is the god of it, blinding the minds of mankind (2 Corinthians 4:4). It is critical for you to understand how Satan generated the evils of human nature and continues to influence mankind today. Our free booklet Human Nature—What Is It? contains this critical understanding.
What causes terrorism? It is man’s willing submission to the mind of Satan! Terrorist behavior is a direct reflection of Satan’s mind—which has no capacity for feelings of sympathy, empathy, kindness, sorrow, love. This alone explains the despicable, cold-blooded atrocities perpetrated by terrorists! The devil is stirring hatred and emotions with a mind to destroy. But, as he masquerades as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), he couches his evil intentions in high-sounding rhetoric and noble religious ideals.
A failure to grasp this hidden cause of terrorism results in misguided and fruitless efforts to negotiate, compromise and appease. Like Satan himself, terrorists probe for weaknesses in their adversaries (1 Peter 5:8); efforts to pacify them only make them stronger.
As the Trumpet has often pointed out, it is Western naivety, weakness and lack of will in eradicating terrorism that has enabled it to flower into such a monstrous problem today. Never in human history has the potential for such devastation been placed in so few hands! A mere handful of suicidal terrorists, with adequate coordination and appropriate technology, can wreak extraordinary destruction. This terrifying reality is a reminder of the Apostle Paul’s words: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be … [w]ithout natural affection, … incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good” (2 Timothy 3:1-3).
How serious is the problem of terrorism? How much of a threat does it pose to Western nations? Politicians would have you believe they can provide security against it. The Bible tells a different story entirely.
We are moving into the very days prophesied in your Bible: days of rampant terror, crime, corruption and subversion!
The Trumpet has often referred to Leviticus 26 as being a prophecy for America and Britain (as well as the other modern descendants of Israel, as explained in our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy). But we must understand that it is a conditional prophecy.
In this chapter, God lays before these nations a choice: On the condition that the people obey Him, He promises a whole host of blessings (verses 3-12). But if instead they go their own way, God promises an intensifying nightmare of curses (verses 14-39) designed to bring the people back to Him (verses 40-45).
America and Britain have forgotten their history with God. And now they are clearly reaping the curses of wholesale rebellion against God and His law.
Meditate on these warnings from the great God of the Bible: “I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror … that shall … cause sorrow of heart …. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies … and ye shall flee when none pursueth you” (verses 16-17). In this age of terrorism, we are living these curses!
Again—these prophecies are conditional. And when people ignore God’s correction, He increases the pressure: “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins” (verse 18).
Read the rest of the prophecy. As long as our nations refuse to hear, they will experience intensifying curses and punishments from the living God! He cries out in verse 28, “I, even I, will chastise you”!
God warns four times of Israel receiving “seven times” the punishment (verses 18, 21, 24, 28). Those two English words are translated from the single Hebrew word sheba, which conveys both the duration of punishment, and a sevenfold increase in the severity of the punishment.
In other words, the terror of September 11 was only a mild prelude. Failure to turn to God will mean a sevenfold increase in terror! God is allowing the terrorism, allowing the violence—allowing the devil to sway these people into acting upon their brutal, satanic hatreds against America and Britain.
Ezekiel 5 prophesies about the threefold fate to befall the inhabitants of the modern-day nations of Israel. Using three sections of Ezekiel’s beard to illustrate, God shows that the first third will “burn with fire … in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled …” (verse 2).
What is this “fire”? Whatever it is, it will kill a staggering one third of the citizens of America, Britain and the other Israelitish nations! It will critically weaken these nations by bleeding them of their peoples.
This same group is described further in verse 12 as dying “with the pestilence.” The Hebrew word translated pestilence means destruction or death; one definition of the root word is “to lay snares, to plot against, to destroy.”
Gerald Flurry shows in his book Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet (also free to you upon request) that this refers to violence in the cities that includes terrorist violence. Ezekiel’s prophecy indicates that future attacks will wreak death on a sickening scale!
September 11 killed thousands.
The death toll of this future violence will mount into the hundreds of millions.
The Trumpet often focuses on the many prophecies about Israel’s fall to the European beast power. This passage in Ezekiel supplies more of the picture: that much of what will undermine Israel’s strength and set the Israelitish nations up for the final defeat very likely will be caused by Islamic terrorists.
The peoples of America and the rest of the world must understand the nature of the enemy they face. It is bigger, angrier, more violent, more elusive, more terrible than they understand. And rather than trusting in God to deliver them, they are trusting in armaments. Their sins, their stubbornness, their faithlessness, will lead to their defeat.
And just like after 9/11, Muslims will dance in the streets.
These successes will stoke the aggression of Islam’s radicals. The dream of the downfall of the West and the dawn of a new era in Islam will become vivid. It will inflame the hearts of great numbers of Muslims. The elusive goal of political Islamic unity will effectively be reached.
At this point, fully formed on the world scene will be a formidable power—prophesied of in Scripture for millennia—the king of the south.
The Final Jihad; the Last Crusade
It is easy to imagine what will be on the Muslim mind at this point: for on the scene will be another power, one which also rose to fill the void left by the U.S.—a united Europe, the king of the north. As has been the case throughout its history, this war machine will also be guided by a muscular, politicized religion.
The stage will be set for the climactic conclusion to a centuries-long struggle—the final jihad, the last crusade.
“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (Daniel 11:40).
This is a clash between two religions—Roman Catholicism and Islam. More specifically, it is a clash between the extreme elements of these two religions.
The extremists, at present, constitute a small minority of Muslims and Catholics. But be assured, you will be able to watch as their numbers swell and eventually grow to become the dominant force within each of those religions.
Watch and pray that you will not be around to witness the time when they form the heads of the two spears that will clash in this spectacular battle spoken of by the Prophet Daniel! For by then it will be too late: That war will occur in the early days of the greatest tribulation this world has witnessed.
These are the days when we need the vision to see beyond the immediate horror of the current reality. In these darkening times we need a vision of hope such as portrayed by the Prophet Isaiah to those who repent of their rebellion against the Eternal God: “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold …. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee” (Isaiah 54:11, 14).
Those who watch world events with their eyes open realize that this world is an angry, conflicted, violent place. Those who watch with an awareness of biblical prophecy realize that it is going to get angrier, more conflicted, more violent—right up until its last tortured breath.
But only those who watch and pray, those who repent now, those who submit themselves to the all-powerful God who foretold these events and is now bringing them to pass, can look to the future with hope and confidence. They alone know in faith not only that they will be protected by a loving Father, but that when the warfare reaches its climax they will then help usher in the start of a truly new age—an age of peace, of a single world religion under merciful, righteous rulership—under the King of kings, Jesus Christ.