If Asia Bibi, a hard-working mother of five living in northern Pakistan, could have known the events that would unfold because of an incident at work on June 14, 2009, she never would have gotten out of bed that day.
On June 18, four days later, a mob of villagers snatched Asia from her home, stripped and beat her in the street, and then marched her to the local police station. Village officials feared the angry hordes (which included Muslim clerics), and without any investigation into the veracity of the claims against her, they arrested Asia and locked her away. On Nov. 8, 2010—after she had been held in isolation in prison for over 16 months—a local court sentenced her to death.
What heinous crime did Asia Bibi commit?
“She was picking berries with other women,” her husband explained, “when she was sent to get water. One of the women [a Muslim] refused to drink the water after my wife dipped her cup in the bucket. This woman said it was contaminated because it was touched by a Christian.” Before long a group of Muslim women had descended on Bibi, insulting her mother, children and religion. Asia tried to defend herself, her husband says, and simply responded by “repeat[ing] the same insults back to them.”
That was it. Four days later, Bibi was ripped from her home and family, viciously beaten, unfairly arrested and thrown in jail on the trumped-up charge that she blasphemed the prophet Mohammad.
Long story short, Asia Bibi is a victim of radical Islam’s intensifying war on Christianity!
Islam’s Hatred Explodes
This tale of religious intolerance, injustice and outright persecution and violence is important because it is not an anomaly. In recent months, radical Islam has intensified its attacks on Christians around the world, especially in Muslim nations, but in Western countries too.
Persecution of Christians by Muslims is now so pervasive and violent, wrote Jeffrey Kuhner in the Washington Times, that “Christianity is on the verge of extinction in the ancient lands of its birth.” Across the Mideast, he lamented, “a creeping religious genocide is taking place” (Dec. 23, 2010; emphasis mine throughout).
These days, there are hundreds, even thousands of Bibis being persecuted, tortured and murdered in a host of countries by radical Islamists.
On New Year’s Eve in Alexandria, Egypt, 21 Coptic Christians were killed and 79 were wounded when a bomb left outside the door of the Two Saints Coptic church exploded. Despite some ridiculous claims that the attack was conducted by the Mossad, Egyptian authorities and various intelligence agencies agree that the attack, the worst in Egypt since 2006, was carried out by Iraq-based Islamic terrorists.
In Russia the next day, radical Islamists used a grenade to set fire to a church in the Muslim-rich North Caucasus region. A week earlier in the Philippines, six people were wounded on the island of Jolo after a bomb planted by Islamic terrorists exploded inside a church during Christmas mass.
In Nigeria, at least 80 Christians were killed in a wave of attacks on Christmas Eve. In one instance, dozens of armed men attacked a church in Maiduguri, dragging the pastor from his home and executing him in the street. In another, more than 32 people were killed and 50 wounded in the central Nigerian city of Jos after a series of roadside bombs placed by radical Islamists exploded. In Nigeria alone, the number of Christians killed by Muslim terrorists numbered in the hundreds.
In Iran, a pastor is slated to be executed for converting to Christianity. In Pakistan, in February 2010, 150 armed Muslims invaded Pahar Ganj, a Christian neighborhood north of Karachi, and ransacked two churches, beat Christians, and torched shops and vehicles—all because a Christian lad touched a piece of fruit on a Muslim vendor’s cart. In Somalia, the Islamic terrorist group Al Shabaab, which controls much of central Somalia, routinely persecutes, even kills, Christians, and is seeking to eradicate Christianity.
Similar atrocities against Christians are becoming increasingly common in the Ivory Coast, Sudan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Lebanon—and the list goes on.
Then there’s Iraq, which in 2010 experienced the worst attack on Iraqi Christians on record. On October 31, as 140 parishioners prepared to take mass in Baghdad’s Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church, the building was invaded by gunmen from the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq terrorist group. When the church was later stormed by Iraq’s counterterrorism unit, the militants detonated suicide bomb vests, killing 58 men, women and children, including two priests, and wounding 80 more people. On New Year’s Eve, a cluster of 10 bombs was placed near the homes of 14 Catholic families in Baghdad, Iraq. Four of the bombs were defused; the others exploded, killing two and wounding 20. The victims were all Catholic. Since then, attacks on Christians have increased.
Over the past decade, Christian Iraqis have fled the country at a shocking pace: Before 2003, Iraq’s Christian population was about 1.5 million; today, barely 400,000 Christians remain!
Robert Fisk lamented in the Independent last fall that the exodus of Christians from the Middle East has reached “almost biblical proportions” (Oct. 26, 2010).
An Ancient Prophecy Fulfilled
Over the past 20 years, the Trumpet has put the spotlight on a prophecy in Daniel 11:40 that says that Jesus Christ’s Second Coming will be precipitated by a colossal clash of civilizations. The scripture reads, “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.”
As we have explained, the “king of the south” mentioned here refers to radical Islam headed by Iran. The “king of the north” is the German-led superstate now being built in Europe that will operate under overarching influence of the Catholic Church. To prove this truth, request our free booklet The King of the South.
The operative word in Daniel 11:40 is push, which in Hebrew means to gore, thrust at or wage war. And notice, it’s the king of the south that pushes and provokes the king of the north.
Radical Islam’s growing campaign of violence against Christianity is living fulfillment of this prophecy!
Based on this scripture, we say with certainty that as Christians flee Iraq, as church members wipe the blood of their brethren from the walls of the Coptic church in Alexandria, as Asia Bibi sits in jail awaiting the noose, the plight of these individuals, and of the larger Catholic community, is not going unnoticed.
The truth is, radical Islam’s fierce hatred for Christianity—and the global campaign of violence and cruelty it has fueled—is infuriating an institution that has historically been Islam’s greatest enemy: the Roman Catholic Church!
The day after Islamic terrorists attacked Catholics in Alexandria, Pope Benedict xvi said it was a “vile gesture of death” and that it “offends God and all of humanity.” In his speech, he appealed to Christians: “In the face of the threatening tensions of the moment, especially in the face of discrimination, of abuse of power and religious intolerance that today particularly strikes Christians, I again direct a pressing invitation not to yield to discouragement and resignation.”
That’s a polite way of saying, “We must not give in to the demands of radical Islam.”
If you study the pope’s recent speeches, there is no doubt he is rising to the occasion. He is refusing to be bullied. About the tone and structure of Benedict’s speech after the attacks on the Coptics in Egypt earlier this year, John Allen wrote that they confirm that “religious freedom, and especially the defense of embattled Christians, has become the Vatican’s supreme diplomatic priority” (National Catholic Reporter, January 10).
Over the last few months, radical Islam has gained momentum in its war on Christianity. Don’t expect it to let up on its assault. What we should expect, however, is for the Vatican to begin to respond. Fifteen hundred years of European history—including the Crusades, when tens of thousands of Catholic Europeans responded to Pope Urban’s war cry by slaughtering tens of thousands of Muslims in the Middle East—tell us that the Catholic Church will respond mightily, with force and vigor!
Don’t think for a moment that this world is too sophisticated to relive the Crusades!
In practical terms, two developments are likely.
First, the persecution of various Christian churches and Catholic sects (like the Coptics in Egypt) will drive these groups into the protective arms of the mother church, the Catholic Church. The more these daughter churches seek protection, the stronger the Vatican will become in defending its spiritual family. The more radical Islam encroaches, the more intense and popular Benedict’s campaign to re-evangelize the Catholic community, especially in Europe, will grow. Radical Islam’s assaults will unify Catholicism.
Second, expect the Vatican to increasingly employ its tried and tested strategy of forging a powerful axis with the most dominant European power, then exploiting that power as the instrument by which it can confront its enemy, in this case radical Islam. For the Vatican, the rise of militant Islam is an ideal discussion point with Europeans, millions of whom are alarmed by the encroachment of Islam on the Continent. With a little prodding, and with the support of European governments, the Vatican could begin to make life much tougher for Muslims in Europe—and ultimately for Muslims everywhere!
The mutual threat of radical Islam will strengthen the historic axis between the Vatican and Christian Europe!
Of course, the Trumpet does not claim to know the specific thoughts and designs of Pope Benedict and other Catholic leaders. But we do know what Daniel 11:40 and other biblical prophecies say—and we believe them. We can say with certainty that Pope Benedict xvi is looking at Asia Bibi, and the Catholic victims of the bombing in Alexandria, and the mass exodus of Catholics from Iraq, and is becoming enraged. Even now, he is likely hatching a strategy to confront this enemy.
That strategy, Bible prophecy says, will soon thrust the entire world into a time of unprecedented upheaval and violence! ▪