And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. — John 10:16 (KJV)
Yesterday was 9/11, the 12th anniversary of the World Trade Center (New York) and Pentagon (Virginia) bombings, and the Flight 93 (Pennsylvania) hijacking. More than 3,000 people died.
According to US News, Huffington Post and Washington Times, less than 30 people rallied in DC yesterday in a “Million Muslim March,” later renamed “Million Americans Against Fear.” Although organized by the American Muslim Political Action Committee (AMPAC) and led by Rabbi Alad, the group consisted mostly of non-Muslims requesting 9/11 truth and seeking social justice for Muslims in the wake of 9/11. The American Muslim (est. 1989) does not support AMPAC (est. 2012) or Rabbi Alad.
Two other groups marched on DC yesterday against this rally. A few dozen were Christians. Some ridiculed the prophet Mohammed. Others prayed for Muslim conversions. Thousands more were bikers honoring the 9/11 dead and revving their engines in order to disrupt the Muslim rally. Belinda Bee organized the biker protest, which was refused a no-stop permit by the National Park Service due to traffic disruption. The group traveled to DC anyway.
I am ashamed of my country. I didn’t see Jesus Christ on display in yesterday’s 9/11 protests and remembrances. Mostly what I saw were selfish Americans.
The Muslim organizers applied for and received a permit last year. This process is necessary so that federal police can rearrange traffic (closing streets) on that day and warn residents and tourists in advance. The latter can then find alternate routes to avoid clogging major arteries. Bee applied for a no-stop permit last month. Maybe the denial of her request was politically motivated, maybe not. But federal police can’t handle lots of protesters and the noise of motorcycles in one day. A few weeks aren’t enough time to prepare residents and rearrange traffic either. Did Bee consider DC’s residents? No. She just thought of 9/11 + Muslims in the nation’s capital.
I’m glad the few dozen Christians prayed. I wish thousands more had joined them. But Muslim ridicule is unnecessary. The bikers are another story. They could have marched in prayer for the Muslims, under the banner of Christ, just like the first small group. Instead, they marched in protest against them, under the banner of the United States. This confrontation seems like Christianity v. Islam, but it’s really America v. the Middle East and possibly whites v. Arabs.
Would Jesus march in protest? No. He would love his enemies by praying for them to repent. If Christians today were true members of “team Jesus,” they would stop the partisanship. They’d stop exalting America over all others. Instead, they would seek the kingdom of God and pray.
According to a 2010 Pew report, more than 2.5 million Muslims live in the United States. That number is 7 million according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Many are second-generation citizens. The “freedom of religion” and “freedom to assemble” clauses in the First Amendment to our nation’s Constitution apply to these people, whether non-Muslim Americans like it or not. Clearly they have grievances. Why else would they rally?
That many non-Muslims don’t like this constitutional truth frightens me. We want freedom for ourselves but not for people who don’t resemble, think, or worship like us. We insist on our rights but not those of others. That’s selfishness and it’s not Christian. We may have rights as Americans but not as Christians. God didn’t promise us a rose garden, not even in the U.S.A.
Dissent is vital to a democracy; whether or not these people have a point is irrelevant really. The foundational values of the US demand that we all respect their right to gather and be heard. Meanwhile, the bikers’ attempt to use noise to intimidate or drown out opposing voices is infantile, and directly counter to the values of the democracy they think they are defending. — Neil Mclachlan, Australia
We could choose to educate ourselves about Islam, but we don’t. Why? Are we afraid of what we might find? Are we afraid that these Muslims might be people for whom Jesus Christ died and that we must pray for and witness to them? Do we hate Muslims so much that we would shame Jesus? Enemies can become friends through Christ. Have we forgotten that?
Jesus loves Muslims, American or not. He wants them to love and worship him alone. Many people in Muslim nations are doing just that. They see Jesus in dreams and believe in him, often when we won’t “go and tell” them about the Savior.
Why does this matter? Muslims have been lied to about Jesus, the Bible, and the afterlife. Islam declares the lies that Jesus is not the final prophet, not the eternal Son of God, and not the world’s Savior. Only the blood of Jesus applied to the soul can save us. Yet Muslims have been denied the truths of atonement, substitution, and salvation in the cross. They’ve also been denied the truth that they can know and draw near to God their spiritual Father, by faith in his Son Jesus. Millions of Muslim young people today are seeking “father substitutes.” Who will declare “Abba Father” to them (Romans 8:15)?
Muslim peoples and cultures are like the valley of dry bones, just like unbelieving Israel (Ezekiel 37:1-14). They’re like spiritual fossils. Jesus can transform these people and fill them with life through faith in him. But we must do our part – loving, praying, believing, and sharing Jesus. Do we know the saving heart of God? Has his desire become ours? Are we seeking God’s kingdom in prayer? If not, we must repent. Jesus will have his church, with or without us.
See the resources below. Also read my article “Behind the Veils of Yemen: A Journey into the Heart of God.”
- Reema Goode, Which None Can Shut: Remarkable True Stories of God’s Miraculous Work in the Muslim World (2010)
- Tom Doyle, Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World? (2012)
- Jerry Trousdale, Miraculous Movements: How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims are Falling in Love with Jesus (2012)
- FEBC – Project Isa (Jesus’ name in Arabic)
- Into the Light USA
- Jesus to Muslims
- More than Dreams