What You Need to Know About Islam

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What You Need to Know About Islam

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You cannot understand much of what is taking place in today's world without some understanding of Islam. This religion is at the heart and core of much of the unrest and violence sweeping the world today.

This was forcefully brought home to me when I recently spent two weeks in Israel.

Israel is demonized by many in the West, yet it is the only true democracy in the region and the West's only true ally. Its population is less than 2 percent of that of its 300 million Arab neighbors. Israel's size totals only about 1/6 of 1 percent that of the Arab world, yet it is constantly threatened and attacked.

Not long before I arrived, a young Israeli father was killed when Arabs threw a large rock through his car windshield, striking him in the face and killing him, with the resulting crash killing his one-year-old son who was with him.

On the evening that my wife and I left Israel, the teenage nephew of the driver who took us to the airport was in surgery for multiple stab wounds he'd received several hours earlier. He'd been talking with some children when an Arab slipped up behind him and stabbed him repeatedly. He barely survived.

Israelis live in a very dangerous neighborhood. During our visit, Syria's president threatened to unleash a missile barrage on Tel Aviv—no doubt to deflect attention from his increasingly brutal crackdowns on protesting Syrian citizens.

Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens Israel's very existence. Israel is so tiny that only two or three nuclear warheads would destroy the entire nation. And now one of Israel's worst fears is being realized, as elections in Egypt will put Islamist parties in charge of government—which means that three of the four countries with whom Israel shares borders will be openly hostile to Israel's existence.

What's at the heart of the long conflict over Israel? Many place the blame on Israel for its continued control over some of the lands it captured in the 1967 Six-Day war. However, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the charter of which calls for the liberation of "Palestine" and the destruction of Israel, was formed in 1964—three years before Israel captured those lands. The "Palestine" that they demand be "liberated" is the Israel that was founded under UN auspices in 1948!

The roots of Arab hostility run much deeper. They go back to the religion that overwhelmingly dominates the Arab world—Islam.

In Islamic theology, Islam is destined to subjugate all other peoples, cultures and beliefs. Israel has the misfortune to be on the front lines of what historian Samuel Huntington termed Islam's "bloody borders," surrounded on three sides by Muslim countries, with the Mediterranean Sea at its back and nowhere else to go.

Islamic leaders have repeatedly called for Muslims to reclaim Muslim lands "from the River to the Sea"—i.e., from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, meaning no more Israel at all.

Israel is only one target of Muslim hostility. Of the dozen or so armed conflicts and civil wars currently taking place around the globe, Muslims are involved in nearly all of them—most often as they continue to try to expand Islam's "bloody borders" into new territories.

You need to understand the beliefs that drive Islam's followers. Yes, not all Muslims are violent toward non-Muslims. But enough are that it has created a clash of civilizations between Islam and the rest of the world. This issue of The Good News will give you the information you need to make sense of it all.