The Associated Press reports that Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader issued a worldwide call Thursday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq."
In a taped message broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, Ayman al-Zawahri said the terrorist organization would not stand idly by while "these (Israelis) shells burn our brothers.
"All the world is a battlefield open in front of us," said the Egyptian-born al-Zawahri, second-in-command to Osama bin Laden.
"The war with Israel does not depend on cease-fires ... . It is a Jihad for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails ... from Spain to Iraq," al-Zawahri said. "We will attack everywhere."
"My fellow Muslims, it is obvious that Arab and Islamic governments are not only impotent but also complicit...and you are alone on the battlefield. Rely on God and fight your enemies...make yourselves martyrs."
I really struggle when I hear such rhetoric and murderous words coming from the mouth of people like Zawahris. Here is my internal conflict: On the one hand I believe we as Christian people should do all we can to change the hearts of people like Zawharis through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But on the other hand, I hear Zawahris and I feel that such radical Islamic terrorism can only be dealt with militarily, and the thought of U.S forces killing Zawahris and then systematically destroying every last remnant of Islamic fanaticism is not an unpleasant thought to me. That is what bothers me. It bothers me that I am not bothered by the death of by the Islamic fantatics. I wonder if we in the Christian West are in danger of becoming just like the Muslims in the East.
Does anybody else struggle with the inner feeling of desiring the softening of the heart of Zawahris through the power of Jesus Christ, but at the same time feel pleasure when one hears that Zawahris and his cohorts are wiped out by American, Israeli or European military forces?
I wonder about the fact that we cheer the loudest at the Southern Baptist Convention when a strong, militaristic statement by our Secretary of State is made such as, "We will hunt down and destroy every single terrorist earth until peace reigns on earth" when it seems we ought to cheer the loudest when we hear statements like, "We will take the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, tribe, and kindred, and will not rest until Christ reigns in the hearts of mankind."
Please don't misunderstand. I believe we must fight terrorism militarily.
I am just wondering if we as Southern Baptists are in danger of being more passionate about military conquest than we are gospel conquest.
Life is not simple for us at this moment in time.
In His Grace,