Posts Tagged ‘koran’

On Slavery, Islam, the Sack of Baltimore – and “a Thief in the Night”

June 20, 2015

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Today, 20th June 2015, marks the 384th anniversary of “the sack of Baltimore.” On the night of 20th June 1631 Muslims from North Africa’s Algeria made a surprise raid on the village of Baltimore which lies on the coast of west Cork in Ireland. Thomas Osborne Davis (1814-1845) the Irish poet and politician describes the dreadful scene in his poem which is quoted in Des Ekin’s book “The Stolen Village.”

Most of those villagers (men, women and children) were carried far away to a life of slavery in North Africa; apparently only two of them ever saw Ireland again. I wonder what terrible stories they would have to tell us if they were alive today?

The Sack of Baltimore is said to have been “the most devastating invasion ever mounted by Islamist forces on Ireland or England.” Some of the prisoners would spend the rest of their lives chained to oars as galley slaves, while others may have been prisoners in harems. I can only imagine their horror as they tried to grow accustomed to the stifling heat of a new climate, while the peaceful seaside village that they once knew became a mere part of their dreams.

Today most people view slavery in terms of European slave traders whisking African prisoners away to a life of forced labour, something which was abhorrent to William Wilberforce, the Christian who headed the parliamentary campaign for the Abolition of Slavery. William Wilberforce (1759-1833) is said to have trusted the Saviour in 1785 and went on to campaign for many other worthy causes, including the Society for the Prevention of Vice, the foundation of the Church Missionary Society and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The words slave/slaves are only mentioned twice in the Bible (Authorised Version), given as an account, as it was part of the culture during certain periods of history. However, I believe that the Lord never intended that any man, woman or child should ever be a slave; even though, despite their slavery many souls triumphed in adversity and became followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed!” (John 8v36)

As opposed to this, the Koran, on the other hand allows slavery and there is evidence to suggest that slaves still exist in many parts of the Islamic world, particularly in Saudi Arabia, even though Saudi Arabia and Yemen are said to have abolished slavery in 1962. However, there are countries which presently claim that slavery has the sanction of Islam and within these countries slavery is said to be a current practice; these include Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Mali and Sudan.

Today we are facing the threat of invasive change on a global scale… but the invaders are much more subtle in their approach, pointing to ‘political correctness’ to further their aims and rapidly gaining positions of power in the political world. Nevertheless, for those who know Jesus as Saviour – “here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Hebrews 13v14)

I cannot even begin to imagine the trauma for those villagers in Baltimore all those years ago, when men, women and children were literally stolen away. The Algerian Muslims descended upon their peace “like a thief in the night.”

In 2Peter 3v10 we also read of a thief in the night: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

The villagers of Baltimore never for one moment expected such a terrible thing to happen to the peaceful security of their lives in that village in the southwest tip of Ireland. They had no warning at all.

On the other hand, there is a warning to those who live in the world today of that ‘Day of the Lord’ which is to come. We are warned of this many many times in God’s Word and for those who are His servants it is our duty to warn others of His coming again – this time to judge the world.

“Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Revelation 16v15)

As the signs of the times show us that “the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5v8) may those who have never trusted Him, turn to the Lord in repentance and may those who know the Him as Saviour, be faithful to loved ones, neighbours, friends, acquaintances – yes, and even the very stranger they meet in day to day life…

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A Young Girl in Iran Faces Execution

June 26, 2014

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I saw this headline some days ago in a national newspaper “Child bride who killed abusive husband to be executed.” A young girl in Iran, younger than my own daughters, faces execution…

Somehow this horrific story has been on my mind ever since. This morning while driving I was saddened to see a lovely hare lying dead on the road – totally unrelated but again the issue of death struck me and that story filled my mind once more in the early morning.

Animals die and it is sad – but animals, the innocent members of the Lord’s creation have no sin and are not held accountable for eternity in the way that human beings are.

I pray for Rzieh Ebrahimi (also known as ‘Maryam’) who was forced to marry at 14, became a mother at 15 and after years of terrible abuse killed her husband at 17.

Under Iranian law the minimum age of responsibility is 15 for boys and strangely – 9 for girls, while girls can marry at 13 and boys at 15.

Such laws are unthinkable in our society and the practice of forced marriage which is prevalent in so many Islamic countries is alien to us, as is Iran’s policy of executing children, making it the world’s highest offender in this regard.

Most of those young offenders who are executed are young women who suffer terrible abuse within forced under-age marriages and who turn to violence to escape their circumstances. In this and other parts of the world young women have even been known to set themselves on fire in abusive situations.

I belong to a much older generation and yet I grew up in circumstances as remote from those in Iran as it is possible to be. How horrific it must be to be born into a country (particularly if you are female) where forced marriage, abuse and unjust laws are the order of the day, all in the name of tradition and a religion whose ‘holy’ book outlines how your wife is to be beaten.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8v36)

Free from unjust laws, free from sin, free to serve Him with a joyful heart in a realm where “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for we are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3v28&29)

May the Lord be with the tiny minority of Christians who live in societies like Iran and Saudi Arabia and may He bless, strengthen and protect those who labour for the gospel under highly dangerous circumstances – and may He send more labourers into this vast harvest.

This day I pray for Maryam who may be about to face a horrific death, that somehow the Lord will intervene, for it is not His will that she should perish in such a manner. (2Peter 3v9)

Iran is a signatory to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child but Sharia Law at all times takes precedence in this society.

One of the last headlines I read recently proclaimed: “Iranian Child Bride at Imminent Risk of Execution.”

Even now, as I write, Maryam could be being led away…

I would ask anyone reading this to pray for this and indeed other similar situations which have never reached the public eye… yet the Lord knows about those involved, loves them and gave His very Self for them, for “His eye seeth every precious thing.” (Job 28v10)

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Why I do not rejoice at the Death of Osama Bin Laden

May 11, 2011

For me the name ‘Osama Bin Laden’ is synonymous with horrific terrorism and an ideology which I fail to understand, but to be honest my first reaction on hearing of his death early last week was one of dismay. I immediately thought… ‘another soul for whom Jesus died has gone out into eternity…’ and… ‘I hope that there are no reprisals…’ Of course I am appalled by the September 11th atrocity (and many others) which have wiped out thousands of people, left others with horrendous injuries, including psychological disorders, and still others sentenced to a life of mourning for loved ones. Yet whenever I look at the face of Osama Bin Laden in newspapers or elsewhere, I see the face of a human being, not a caricature. I have never looked at his face with hatred because the Lord has given me a heart of love for all human beings.

Born on 10th March 1957 Osama Bin Laden, like you and me, was a little baby once who sat on his mother’s knee… but his upbringing was tragic in an extreme form of Wahabism in which it is normal to lead a polygamous life; his father had 22 wives and 54 children. Most of all, I see a man for whom the manner of his life and death could have been otherwise…

Most people remember where they were when the first news filtered through on the horrific events of September 11th 2001. I was driving along on a busy road listening to my car radio. If I had been (like Osama Bin Laden) a native of Saudi Arabia – this would have been out of the question as women are not permitted to drive there. I would have been anonymous, veiled, my marriage arranged and my life ordered by others in this patriarchal society.

Another feature of Wahabism, I discovered in a book in recent years by Osama’s ex-sister-in-law, who described an incident in which Osama refused to let one of his wives feed her baby who was screaming with hunger. I often wonder was Osama Bin Laden ever presented with the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; that which brings freedom from sin and every heavy chain that the devil would try to burden us with in this life, including Wahabism’s strict rules for observing Ramadan?

But who can bring the gospel to Osama’s birthplace; that spiritually dark nation of Saudi Arabia? There are some who do, I believe, but to say that this is difficult is a euphemism. Officially no one is even permitted to bring a Bible within its borders and to proselytise is against the law and punishable by death. This is not a nation which Christians should go to, unless they are strongly led to do so by the Lord. But I pray (and I exhort others to pray) for those who must be undercover as they seek to spread the gospel in Saudi Arabia and other nations with a strict Islamic code. Pray for their safety and for the salvation of more and more souls with whom they come in contact – and pray that the Lord will prepare hearts and open them to hunger for the truth.

Osama Bin Laden was just one man but unfortunately the ideology which he sowed throughout the world has already taken root in minds everywhere. But no, as a Christian I cannot rejoice or celebrate the death of any human being, whatever they have been guilty of, for God exhorts us to take “no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” (Ezekiel 33v11 & Ezekiel 18v23 & 32) Rather, I soberly pray for those in the frontline of spreading the gospel in lands like Saudi Arabia, for if Osama had been reached as a young boy, was there not a strong possibility that the world may have been spared such tragedy – and such a legacy as this?