The Monstrous Pakistan Easter Bombing Represents a True Branch of Islam
And only the gospel can light the darkness.
On Easter Sunday, in a crowded children’s park in Pakistan, a radical Islamic suicide bomber blew himself, specifically targeting Christian women and children, killing scores of innocent victims and wounding and maiming hundreds of others who were simply enjoying a day in the park.
A graduate from my ministry school, who has preached in Pakistan, posted this text that he received from a Christian colleague there: “We are fine by the grace of God. But unfortunately 17 people from our church have been killed & more than 75 people from our church have been seriously injured. Need your prayers and support.”
Very few of us can imagine the suffering these families are enduring, and, hopefully, none of us can relate to the thinking of that suicide bomber — purportedly linked to the Taliban — who blew himself next to little children laughing and playing on the swings.
How can any human being, let alone millions of human beings, justify a horrific, barbaric, savage, heartless act like this? But this is the mentality of radical Islam.
It was demonstrated when the Taliban in Pakistan shot to death school children as they studied and took exams.
It was demonstrated when Hamas terrorists in Israel built underground terror tunnels with the goal of kidnapping and killing kindergarten children.
Such is the madness of radical Islam, and I can understand why many Muslims raise their voices in protest, shouting, “I am a Muslim, and that is not Islam!” But while I recognize that this is not the Islam they know or have practiced or even witnessed, it is certainly a true branch of Islam.
As noted by Samir Samir Kahlil, a Catholic scholar of Islam, in 2001, after a leading Egyptian, Sunni Muslim cleric issued a fatwa condemning all acts of suicide (with the focus on suicide bombings), some days later, “another famous Egyptian sheikh, Yusūf al-Qaradāwī, accused him of pronouncing abstract considerations and underlined his inability to apply classical rules to historical situations, such as the present one, where Islam is threatened in many parts of the world. According to Qaradāwī, ‘nobody can declare that it is unlawful to fight with all means against the [Israeli] occupation’, and ‘jihād on the way to God and in the defense of the country, of homeland, and of sacred things is today an obligation for all Muslims more than in any other period in the past … in Palestine, in Kashmir, and in other hot spots in the world.’” (111 Questions on Islam)
Kahlil also makes reference to a “document released at the end of the summit held in Beirut in January 2002, in which more than two hundred Sunni and Shiite ʿulemā’ [scholars], coming from thirty-five countries, participated.”
They concluded: “‘The actions of martyrdom of the mujāhidīn are legitimate and have their foundation in the Qur’ān and in the prophet’s tradition. They represent the most sublime of martyrdoms because the mujāhidīn accomplish them in full conscience and freedom of choice.” (Their document focused on Palestinian suicide bombers.)
Note carefully those words, written by an elite consortium of Islamic scholars: Suicide bombings that even kill children, women, and men “are legitimate and have their foundation in the Qur’ān and in the prophet’s tradition.”
Remarkably, not only did the Pakistani Muslims who reached out to me on Facebook deny that the Taliban were real Muslims, they also assured me that the Christians in Pakistan enjoy complete religious freedom and have wonderful relationships with their Muslim neighbors.
Perhaps this is true in some parts of the country, but it is absolutely not the case in much of the rest of the country, and it is for good reason that Open Doors rates the persecution of Christians in Pakistan as “Extreme.”
A case in point is the assassination of Pakistani governor Salmaan Taseer, killed by his own bodyguard because he, as a Muslim, protested the abusive way that the country’s blasphemy laws were enforced, to the point that a Christian simply accused by Muslim neighbors of blaspheming Muhammad or the Quran was almost guaranteed a severe beating, if not arrest, imprisonment, and death.
Although Taseer’s killer was ultimately put to death for his crimes, he was also hailed as a hero for his actions.
This is a snapshot of Christian persecution in Pakistan, and to claim that Christians there enjoy wonderful religious freedom is as bad as claiming that the Taliban are not Muslim.
The Insanity of Anti-Semitism
It gets stranger. One of the Muslim women who protested on my Facebook page on Easter Sunday explained to me that these attacks were carried out “by brainwashed people … fake Taliban created by Jews secret organizations.” Yes, it is the Jews who are behind radical Islam! It is yet another, nefarious, Zionist plot! (I have heard this before, and even worse.)
A few hours later, a concerned father reached out to me on Twitter, asking how his son could answer a high-school classmate who insisted that the head of ISIS was a Jew. (Search for this online, and you’ll find the ridiculous conspiracy articles, claiming that he was a Mossad-trained Jewish agent; for the reality, see this helpful article.)
Similar examples could be multiplied ad infinitum (and certainly ad nauseam), but of this we can be sure: These ghastly, murderous acts and these ridiculous, flights of fantasy have their ultimate origin in the heart and mind of one whom Jesus called the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning, best known as the devil himself (John 8:44).
And so, as we pray for the victims in Pakistan (and Brussels), let’s also pray that the light of the gospel would shine brightly throughout the entire Muslim world.
Only that will dispel the darkness, the lies, and the murderous violence.