Christ and fanaticism
The Arabic service of the BBC has a popular interactive weekly radio programme called Al-Ra’u el-Akhar (Differing Viewpoints). Recently it dealt with the subject of religious fanaticism and violence. This was in the light of recent tit-for-tat killings of Palestinians and Israelis culminating in a suicide bombing in a Jewish religious school in west Jerusalem that killed several.
In the course of an hour, more than a dozen listeners from different Arab countries phoned in to participate in the discussion. Three young people spoke of the duty of Muslims to use all means including suicide bombing to fight their enemies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Palestine. Others held a variety of opinions, including restricting such targeting to military personnel only.
About forty minutes into the hour, a Saudi Arabian phoned with a very different opinion. His was an amazing testimony to Christ’s changing grace. He spoke of the way he was brought up to hold to the maxim ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. Then he heard of Christ’s teaching of love and forgiveness, which transformed his life.
Even more encouraging was the favorable response to this call by the programme’s anchorman, who is known to hold strict Islamic views. He not only supported the Saudi listener, but allowed him to recite Matthew 5:3-12, 43-44 and called on listeners to learn of Christ’s different way to that taught by Jews and Muslims.
Afterwards the entire discussion changed. All the remaining callers spoke of seeking peaceful means to end the conflict between Arabs and Jews. Let us pray that many more Muslims and Jews will recognise their need for the true Christ of the Bible.