Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Third Intifada?

A facebook page called The Third Intifada has been inviting all Muslims in countries surrounding Israel to march into Israel on May 15, 2011. Exactly how this will be carried out and how the Israeli defence force will respond are unknown.

The fear is that women and children will form the front line of this march across borders into Israel, creating a difficult defence problem for Israel.

But whatever the tactic used, according to reports on the facebook page—in Arabic, I can’t read it!—has continually posted messages inciting violence, which facebook reviews and removes periodically. The problem for facebook is that messages are often encoded in language that appears innocuous.

The page, which seeks the liberation of Palestine from the Jews by this march into Israel, has attracted 330,000 likes. It seems clear that the sentiment to destroy Israel has a large following. The Palestinian group Fatah in Gaza continues to maintain its stance to destroy Israel.

The United Nations provided a home for Israel in their present location in 1948. The way to peace in the Middle East has been intractable ever since, resulted in misery on both sides of the borders, and continued menacing threats from Arab militants.

Psalm 122:6-7 requests us to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.’”

The wall erected by Israel as a protection against terrorists, may also help to reduce the threatened confrontation. Let’s pray for a peaceful outcome of this proposed march this weekend, and equitable peace in the longer term for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Where is the Enemy?

Two news reports caught my attention this weekend. The first was the sectarian violence that has erupted in Cairo between Muslims and Coptic Christians. Read the story at

The second was the rape in Cairo of female Journalist, Lara Logan, during the demonstrations against Mubarak. Read the story at

The first story apparently began when Muslim men believed that Christian women converted to Islam and were held in a Christian church against their will. The Christians denied it. A dozen or so have died and over 100 were injured. Lara Logan was brutally gang-raped in Tahrir Square during the Egyptian uprising. She thought she would die slowly and painfully until rescued by some women and soldiers.

I have always maintained that people the world over have a basic desire to bring up their families in peace and safety. Many Muslim families that we know are glad to do just that in western countries. But these two stories show that men committed to radical Muslim faith believe Christian “infidels” are a threat to their faith, and that women are chattels owned by the men.

This radical belief is greatest at the Islamist terrorist threat, and decreases to still dangerous levels in some Muslim sects, until it moderates in those Muslims seeking a peaceful existence. However much we may point to the Koran, or its interpretation, in fomenting this strife, we cannot paint all Muslims with the same brush.

In fact, we experience extremes of belief in our own Christian backyard. The paradox of radical Christianity, often acclaimed as highly spiritual, can result in the grossest arrogance and destructive elitism, considering all others, Christians and non-Christians alike, as inferior—history reveals, even worthy of death.

It may be difficult to believe all others—think of bin Laden—are made in the image of God, with a dignity deserving gentleness and respect. If there is anything radical about Christianity, that is its hallmark. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).