THE POLITICAL PAGE
September / October 2010
Integration without a Mission is Capitulation
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1. Peter 1,3).
Unusual – granted! – to begin a Political Page with a Bible verse. However, I felt the urged to do this while preparing to writing this artikel and while being absorbed in the Islamic Theology I once again studied, which was made precise through countless answers from Islamic scholars (Fatwas), to Muslim consulters concerning their correct association with Christians.
From this background an exuberant Praise arose in me,
that I am allowed to be a Christian, that I am allowed to know God as Father and that because of this, I am allowed to be a child of God with a personal love-relationship to him, born again through the Spirit with a joyful, living salvation and gladness to meet my God and Father.
And all of this bundled up in the historically anchored fact of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazarath from the dead, not as with Lazarus, who died again, but changed through the strength of the Spirit of God, which nothing, not even death, can oppose, towards a new and everlasting "Corporal-Spirit".
What grace, what a privilege, that I am allowed to know God as the Trinity; as the Father, as the Victor, the Son - Jesus and as the Spirit who acts upon the Father and the Son, who is God's power, which we truly can count upon.
If I had been born and raised as a Muslim
according to Sure 1, God/Allah would be the Creator (Lord of the universe) and the judge but never the Father because God was not conceived, nor did he conceive a son – to say this is blasphemy.
God/Allah is, in fact, the compassionate and merciful one, but still I am not sure if I will enter paradise, how he will rate me on Judgement Day – the abidance to the 5 major commandments will be decided upon.
Indeed, I praise God/Allah 5 times a day, but I do not have a love-relationship to him, he is distant to me. I should believe in his existence and serve him but I only am able to love an endearing counterpart: God/Allah is almighty, "Allahu Akhbar", God/Allah is the highest. That is why he reigns and, someday, will put the whole world under his law (Schari'a) and I give myself to him (Islam) but I do not feel love between him and me or between me and him. That is why I only am interested in one thing: whether someone is a believer (Muslim) or a non-believer – then I must explained the Koran and the Schari'a to him and if he does not accept them he is Allah's adversary and, therefore a stranger to me, but never a friend. This is my testimony as a Muslim.
As a Christian I know that he, the Creator, loves this world, every person, even his adversaries and spurners. And that is why Jesus prayed, even on the cross, for his tormentors. I, too, am allowed to live in the strength of this Spirit, to relay God's love in word and deed. Even to the Muslims. How different the world looks when I knows it is loved!
No doubt, there have been deathly conflicts during the past 10 years between the Chinese and the Tibetan, between the Kirghiz and the Usbek and between the Hindus and the Christians in Orissa, India. By far, the predominant part of all the major conflicts, during the past few years, has been caused by the followers of Mohammed. Apart from a few exceptions, i.e., Muslims against Hindus in India or Sunnites against the Shiites in Iraq, the attacks from the Muslim world are directed towards the Jews and the Christians. The Koran speaks against both these groups. Churches are being burned in Indionesia and in Nigeria in January 2010, in the city of Jos, 300 people died in 3 days through a Muslim attack on a Christian neighborhood, because the citizens protested against the construction of a mosque. It was made public that Iraqi Christians were being banished through force by radical Muslims when they applied for asylum in Germany. The series of persecution of Christians, especially of the converts from Islamic States, is endless. Since the terror attack upon the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, as well as the attacks in Madrid and London, the attitude of the European community and the USA towards Islam and the Muslims has clearly changed.
What is "Islam"?
Is it "a peaceful religion" or does it encourage a battle for faith or even for world domination? Are all Moslems potential actors of violence?
Now suddenly, Muslims stopped being celebrated as a multi-cultural enrichment, but rather it was recognized how the accurate and discreet words on violence from Pope Benedikt XVI in 2006 in Regensburg caused worldwide protest from the Islamic world, to the point of the murder of a Catholic nun in East Africa, who was a benefactor of the Blacks. More explosive was the reaction caused by the caricature dispute. And in Holland a film-maker was killed because of his movie about the shady side of Islam. Fires blazed for weeks in the French suburbs, set by young North African Muslims, who saw no perspectives for their lives.
The theme "Integration" became a top subject throughout the European countries, especially in England with its many Pakistani, in France with the Algerians and in Germany with the Turks. In 1950 3,000 Muslims (immigrant workers) were living in Germany, by 1970 there were already 650,000, in 1985 there were approx. 1.7 million, 1995 approx. 2.7 million and today there are approx. 4 million. Throughout past centries, all these countries were made to integrate refugees, whether Poles, Southern Europeans or Asians. This revealed a new factor as the center of the problem: the religion of the guests. Islam.
What is Islam?
Islam is not a religion in a western respect, where religion and the state are separate and where religion is more or less a private affair. Islam is a simple, all-encompassing system: based on a rigorous One-God-Faith (Monotheism), this faith, which was an eternal message fallen from heaven into the holy book, the Koran, defines the entire life of the Muslim.
At the same time, the Koran contains the command to spread Islam – through peaceful or martial methods – until actual world domination occurs. And they are actually making progress: worldwide, in 1900 there were approx. 0.2 billion Muslims, already in 1970 approx. 0.55 billion and by 1955 there were 1.06 billion.
The founder of Islam, the Arab Mohammed ben Abdullah, lived from 570 – 632 nach Christus in Mekka and Medina. As a merchant, he studied Judaism and Christianity of the time, the period of the fallen Roman Empire, where, in Ireland/England and on the Continent, already a new center of vital Christianity was forming. At that time, in the Near East, Christianity was not very attractive.
Mohammed received his revelation from the angel Gabriel. During Ramadan, from the night of the 26th to the 27th day, this revelation is celebrated. It is the "Night of Power" or the "Night of Fate", in which Muslims especially ask for forgiveness of sins.
Since Mohammed lived after Moses and Jesus, he received his revelation last and therewith, was the last valid revelation of God, which annuls the Thora (torat), Moses' (OT) and the Gospel (Injil) from Jesus (das NT). As such, he speaks of Moses, David and Isa/Jesus as prophets, however, he, Mohammed, is the last and most important.
For this reason the Koran is full of biblical thoughts and stories – from Creation to Judgement, but changed in decisive points. As such, Jesus is only the son of Mary; he was not crucified, he escaped; another person (Judas?) was crucified; later Jesus was snatched up to heaven.
The Koran never tires of pointing out that Jews and Christians distort these stories – a claim, which through the time sequence of the Bible and the Koran - the original and a copy- is difficult to comprehend.
Islam takes over the biblical formulation of God's Being from Psalm 103,8, "The Lord is compassionate and gracious", in Allah's titel: "the merciful, the compassionate!" But he does not penetrate through verse 13: "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion". Instead, Mohammad's teaching clearly develops into a religion of law, which by adhering to the commandments and especially to the 5 pillars of Islam, tries to attain eternal salvation and paradise. These are: commitment to faith, Prayer 5 times a day, fasting during Ramadan, giving charity and once during a lifetime a pilgrimage to Mekka in order to kiss the Kaaba.
At that time, Mohammed was disappointed that the Jews and Christians did not want to take up his summarized revelation. Because of this, in his later Suren, he worded sharp condemnation against both of these groups, which continues today.
Explanation of the claim on truth of the religions
We differentiate between the eastern religions: Hinduism, Taoism/Confusianism and Buddhism and the western religions: Judiasm, Christianity and Islam. From a basis approach, the eastern religions are peaceful religions because they impose no absolute claim on truth and put no claim on world circulation, rather they are more a national religion: Hinduism for India, Taoism for China; or they only teach a virtue codex, like Buddhism.
The question of exclusive, absolute truth is claimed only by three western religions. The oldest of these religions, which are associated with each other, is Judaism: in it, the "genetic code", the exclusive worship of God, was introduced by God Jahwe himself through the first of the ten commandments: "I am the Lord God. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me". The exclusiveness was defended with life and death by the prophets (Elia, Jeremia) and priests in exile against the emcompassing Canaanite resp. Babylonian god-cults. The exclusiveness of this faith in God was justified through the mighty self-revelation of Jahwe at Sinai to the people of Israel and, especially to Moses as the bearer of the revelation.
Christianity. Out of this clearly monotheistic tribe arose, like a new sprout at Pentecost, the Nazareens, who followed Jesus from Nazareth, adopted his teachings from God Jahwe as Father and, who especially witnessed live his death and resurrection. They spoke of Jesus as the fulfiller of the promise of a Messiah: he appeared as Jesus. That was their testimony. Jesus is the Christ, God's Messiah. As more and more heathens from Samaria, Caesarea, Antioch and then through the missionary journeys of Saul/Paul from Tarsus came to faith in Jesus, it was recognized (Acts 15), that the heathens were not able to come to the Father through the Jewish circumcision, but rather directly to Jesus and to the Father. Through this a new religion was created, separated from Judaism: Christianity. Its founder was Jesus Christ, after whom they were named. He gave them the commission: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations", for which He gave them the "Holy Spirit" who promised strength from the most high.
And so they departed into the world with the good news: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4,12).
How did they come to this assuredness? What was their reason for this exclusivity and this universal claim? Peter expressed it in his sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2,32): "God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact."
This truth, asserted to with heir own eyes and ears, this incontrovertible fact that God, the Almighty, this man from Nazareth, transformed into a new "physical Spirit", who was taken out of the grave, elevates him out of the ranks of all mankind, even from all of the founders of religions before him and after him. Because of this – the disciples realized – the right to proclaim the final, valid Truth, confirmed by God Himself, of His message as "Our Father", exists.
Whoever shortens or even denys his message makes Christians look like "the most pitied among all men." (1. Cor. 15,19) and destroys the key message of the core of the Christian faith.
Islam justifies its exclusivity and universal significance, as we already have seen, through its historical position after Moses and after Jesus.
Everyone who is acquainted with the story knows how weak this argument is, because the story continues. The stories of the founders of religions, as well. In the middle of the 19th century in the USA Joseph Smith claimed to have received a revelation, which was of universal importance and was written down in the "Book of Mormon". The church of the Mormons was founded. Approximately 30 years ago the Korean, Mun, stood in the lime-light after claiming to be the returned Christ.Unfortunately he then died –as did all those before him - and did not return. In the 19th century in Persia, Baha'u'llau founded the Bahai religion, which, through the Monotheism derived from Abraham, tries to unite all of the major religions into a common religion.
All of these founders used Christianity as the basis for their religions, as did Mohammed, and combined parts of Christianity with their own religions. The result of which always led away from Jesus as the Son of God and Saviour of the world. Long ago, the apostel Paul wrote: "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had beloned to us, hey would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Chrfist. Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father he Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges he Son has the Father also." (1. John 2,18ff-23).
Especially the last sentence seems like a biblical commentary on the teachings of Islam and Christianity.
The Islamic threat to Christianity was repeated over and over again regionally throughout the centuries, but never on a universal level. The fight of Islamic fundamentalist against "the West" is basically a religious Djihad for Allah, a holy war against Judaism and Christianity. It would be foolish to interpret this current Islamic dispute in any other manner. It is global. It is about world control.
In this respect, let it be pointd out what the Apostel John says about the appearance of the Antichrist and his striving for power: " Children, this is the last hour!"
The global conflict with the anti-christian Islam, therefore, has clear eschatological traits, in light of the Word of God (compare Matt. 24,23f). It is a sign of the end time.
A fight with unequal means
In the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) handout, "Clarity and Good Neighborship" from 2006, we read (pages 11/12): "It is of special importance, in a theological sense, in the encounter of both religions, – that Christianity and Islam have the goal to spread their faith in God, respectively their worship of God, throughout the entire world. This mission is part of the nature of a Christian church (Matt. 28,19). At the same time, the call to Islam is bonded unseparably from the self-evidence of the Muslim community. If both these religions meet, then it seems that, because of their essential mission and expansion tendancies, this is inescapable... "to lead to conflict."
There are two differences between both combatants, which shape the current picture of these conflicts. The one difference concerns the teaching and the life of both founders; the other is the effect of the core crisis of Christianity.
1. Mohammad taught his followers to do everything possible to spread Islam until
victory is won, even their own lives. Victory is defined as a real, carnal world domination over all nations. In comparison, Jesus defines his perception of world domination in a completely different manner. "My kingdom is not of this world. It it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place. For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world to testify to the truth" (John 18,36+37).
Jesus' world domination comes from the knowledge of the truth that God, in his Person, manifested openly. The Kingdom of God is a spiritual and not a political kingdom. Wherever Christians have tried to press the kingdom of God into a carnal vestment of theocracy ("civias dei), everything went wrong.
Mohammed was, himself, a fighter and promoted in the Koran a Holy (armed) War. Jesus, on the other hand, commanded Peter to "Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword" ... "for I am gentle and humble in heart". "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth" (Matt. 26,52: 11,29; 5,5).Down to the present day, the followers of both religions hold to the words and examples of their founders. The passion of Jesus and the passion of our Christian brohers and sisters in Muslim countries denomstrates that this is an unequal fight to own the earth.
In solid Christian communities,like ours, where Muslims are in the minority, togetherness is practiced normally in such a way that the Spirit of Jesus, in his gentleness towards Muslims, is realized and hospitality is shown by opening the door to them, but the other word from Jesus is forgotten ... "I came to testify to the truth". A friendly greeting alone towards a Muslin, without testifying to the truth in the person of Jesus, is not really church, but rather a humanistic, mellow, quasi-Christianity. Nothing else!
2. In addition, there is a second culturally historical difference in the conflict between these two religions. It refers, particularly, to Europe. After the brutalities of the Inquisition, burning of witches and the flight of believer-refugees during the 17th century, particularly after the longest religious war in Europe, the 30 year war (1618-1648), with its devastating outcome (all contrary to the Spirit and the words of Jesus), a development took place in the 18th century, as a backlash against everything religious / church-oriented – the Aufklärung (the Enlightenment)
Instead of the light of the gospel, the mind, reason was put on the pedestal: hence in English "age of enlightenment". That which was not provable had no more importance, i.g., God. Nothing can be said about HIM that is rationally certain. Therefore, one cannot give precedence to an image of God before another. It is useless to fight over who worships the right God, Jews, Christians of Muslims. It depends on life, on actions in love (compare Lessings "Ring Parable").
The enlightenment, then, developed a distinct pedagogy of the "eduction of the human race", of conscience development and of the fulfillment of responsibility.
In theology one (Reimarus, Lessing) started to read the texts of the New Testament, no longer as religious-devotional words of God, rather historically critical, resulting in a deeply rooted scepticism about all statements of faith of the church. This threw the Christian faith into a general crisis, into a challenge, which penetrated into all areas, into a continual self-reflection and controlling insecurity.
A logical consequence, the thought of tolerance, developed out of these religiously critical thoughts of the enlightenment. Tolerance for all different-minded and, if it were the religious minority, tolerance for the Jews oder the Muslims, etc. under the relinquishment of an "absolute truth". Truth is a subjective, personal value, however, no longer objectivly valid for everyone: Religion is a private affair.
The long-ranged outcome of the enlightenment was the "unchurching", the secularization of public life, wide-spread education towards critic, towards rationality and logic and the culturally influenced attitude towards tolerance.
An Islamic invasion thrusts millions of times onto such a Christianity, a Christianity which, on the one hand, is insecure in respect to its own biblical roots and, on the other hand, was and still is being raised, down to the bone, towards tolerance.
Islam, which largely is represented by people from the uneducated class and who, in part, adhere to archaic customs, initially seclude themselves in ghettos and strengthen one another, holding on to their elders and to their true faith.
If the group expands through (many) children and an increase in new converts, then it also grows in self-confidence and in the feeling that the western system allows its own requirements, which then, in the next step, will be enforced.
Islam acts on the assumption of concrete world domination but does not recognize the gentle words of Jesus, but rather war/Djihad as an aggressive, fear-instilling method to enforce their own interests. Islam has never gone through a phase of enlightenment, meaning self-reflection, but in Europe (from a human standpoint) it is competing for the triumphal procession, which would bring about a complete breakthrough, when Muslim Turkey would become a full member of the EU.
Forms of cohabitate – forming cohabitate
1. Levels of encounter
We Europeans encounter Islam on four different levels.
2. Places of encounter
The neighborhood, like Muslims – because of language problems – often withdrawal into ethnis ghettos.
The parents of classmates of children in kindergarten or in school, who often play or do sports effortlessly with one another. This is how one get to know someone.
Muslim colleagues, who generally like to converse.
The Turkish fruit stand at the corner.
Women and, often, young girls present themselves in public with their headscarf and one becomes accustomed to it.
When a Muslim woman goes to the doctor, her husband accompanies her into the examination room.
3. Conflict areas in the encounter
All communal life entails conflict. It is necessary for a prosperous life together that needs are clearly expressed and jointly agreed upon.
Besides these individual needs there also are specified, basic parameters, which go beyond personal needs and which need to be acknowledged. For example, there is the style of the family, there are governmental regularities and there are agreements in the communities, etc.
These sociological rules of the game also are valid for the integration of migrants. The particular momentum attached to Muslim migrants is, in addition to the ethnical foreignness, the foreignness of the religion. This causes insecurity on both sides. In Germany, then, there are Hindus, Buddhists and Bahai-Followers, who make no special difficulties. This is not only due to their low numbers, it is due to their willingness towards integration.
According to the Koran, Muslims are summoned to spread Islam. The goal is to Islamize society, even though the majority still are unbelievers. The Suren of the Koran and all Fatwas (instructions) from the scholars say that there should be no friendships with the Kafir (unbelievers) and that, if one must live in an unbelieving country, due to economic or health reason, then only under the condition that they are secure in the faith and openly able to live out their beliefs. The Koran states that the unbelievers are friendly on the outside but in their hearts they hate Muslims and want to pull them away from faith in Allah.
Seen altogether, out of the center of the religion, taken from the Koran, this is an anti-integration program. This tendancy to recede and the long-term perspective of the victory for Islam makes it very difficult to integrate the Muslims. In addition, the current Turkish government, is interested in having Erdogan keep Turkish ethnics, here in this country, as a foreign body, as well their integration, which he calls "assimilation", and tries to prevent or at lest to stall it, until the question concerning Turkey's entry into the EU has been cleared up. It is a sign of hope that, despite the Koran and the Fatswas, which they often do not know, many Muslims/Turks want to make friends with "unbelievers" because they themselves have no contact to a mosque-organization.They are Germans, they want to be citizens of this country and, in part, are involved in associations and political tasks, to the point of the parliament.
The question for the future of Europe is, who will win the race for the hearts of the Muslims: the Koran-fed fundamdentalist Islam or the European enlightened liberal Islam based on the fundamentally implemented national identity with the host country. This process will go on for 1 to 2 generations and will depend strongly on whether the Imams and teachers were trained in Germany and are living here of whether the Turkish government officials will replace them every 4 years.
Already there are locations in Germany where Muslims (mainly Turks), are in the majority: these are neighborhoods where the police will no longer enter, where the Sharia counts more than the constitutional law; or neighborhoods where the Red Cross can only reach their patients when accompanied by police protection; or school classes, i.e. in Essen, where German student are oppressed and beaten because they are the minority.
Of course, there are positive examples of encounters at celebrations, in working together on projects, kind colleagues, friendly childrens' playmates, etc. However, in all of these examples, the common denominator is the fact that the Muslim fraction is the numerical minority. This changes, from the school room to the national government of a country, when the majority tilts and the Muslims then in the lead.Then Islam shows a different face. This is not an agitation, it is an observation. Sharia or constitutional law – that is the name of the long-term alternative for the 21st century for Germany and for many European countries.
Duties of the country
It is the duty of the country to introduce its laws to the citizens and, in case of need, to enforce them under threats of violence (this is wht Paul meant in Rom. 13). From this standpoint then, it is the duty of the country towards its foreign citizens and their children to convey:
It is the duy of the country to provide equal chances for all its citizens and to prevent a radical group taking the rudder in its hands.
Duty of the church
It is the strategic duty of the church, all Christian churches, to do that which the State cannot do, because of its neutral responsibilities: namely, to be the defender of the Christian faith. This is its permanent duty and responsibility. The church must take a firm stand and pose questions. It is a party in this game and not neutral or even a hasty door-opener. Foremost, the Christian church is to be, towards Islam, a lobbyist for faith in Jesus and Jesus-Followers. Outwardly, it conveys faith in Jesus through His love and steadfastness. Building bridges is one method of accomplishing this, but the purpose is not to reach one's own goal.
The Evangelical Church recognizes Jesus as the "sole Lord of the Church". He gave it the commission to make disciples of all peoples. Why? Because HE is risen and He is given universal governing power in heaven and on earth. This commission has never been retracted nor limited. It applies to all major religions, as well as to animists. And It applies precisely to the Muslims who are living among us. The church of Jesus Christ must be centered upon this commission. Why has the church not reacted, up until now, upon the Muslim presence with a missionary offensive?
Missions is comprised of 3 phases:
For this type of training for the local churches, missionaries with extended experience are available through the Evangelical Alliance.
After this preparation, it depends on joint cooperation among individuals and the church fellowship to consider and to carry out the three phases of the mission. For this, all of the bridge-building contacts, which already have been practiced during the past years, are necessary. Missionaries to Muslims with much experience say that Muslims often turn quickly to Jesus and believe in him when they recognize:
A church, which goes forward with this message in a catching manner, will experience how the Lord will use them as a spiritual fortress and, at the same time, as a refuge for many insecure Muslim migrants.
It will be crucial for the continuing course of European history in the 21st century, whether the Christian church has more to say to the Muslims than that they are a cultural enrichment.
Ulfkotte, Wilders and Sarrazin surely are admonishing trumpets. But they cause fear and anger. "Church of Jesus Christ, stand up and perform your duty. The Lord will be with you and He will make you a blessing. Even for many who now still are against Him."
- The Bible from the Martin Luther translation.
- The Koran. Translated by Rudi Paret. Verlag Kohlhammer, Stuttgart, 11. Edition 2010.
- Klarheit und gute Nachbarschaft. Christen und Muslime in Deutschland. A Handout from the Council of the EKD (Ev. Church of Germany).
- Christlicher Glaube und Islam. Die Ev. Allianz in Deutschland, 3. Edition 2007.
- Sam Solomon and Al-Magdisi, The Truth about "A Common Word", 2008.
- EKD. Wolfgang Huber sends greetings for the fasting month Ramadan. 16.09.2008 and 15.09.2009.
- Homepage Ev. Landeskirche in Württemberg. Blessings from the Bishop for Ramadan, 12.08.2010.
- Idea Spektrum. Islam 06.12..1995.
- Muslime verstehen – auf Muslime zugehen, Anregungen und Hilfen wie sich Gemeinden mit dem Islam beschäftigen können. Ev. Allianz in Deutschland, Esplanade 5-10a, 07422 Bad Blankenburg.
- References from various "Political Pages", that, until now, have dealt with Islam. They are retrievable in the archives of the Political Page at www.beter-im-aufbruch.de.