On Sunday, a Catholic priest in the Turkish city of Trabzon was shot
twice in the back and killed in his own church. The gunman fled while
shouting, “Allhu Akbar” – Arabic for “God is great.” Father Andrea
Santaro’s murder is just another chapter in a long history of violence
in the name of God.
Omar Bakri Mohommad is suspected of organizing the
unrest over political cartoons after fleeing London for his possible
role in the July 7 bombings.
According to World Magazine, Omar Bakri Mohammad, a Muslim cleric with
ties to terrorists and key organizer of the current wave of violence
over drawings of Mohammed, told the BBC: "In Islam, God said, and the
messenger Mohammed said, whoever insults a prophet, he must be punished
What kind of God is this?
Every other major religion in the world professes a God of peace, love
and forgiveness. Hinduism adheres to ahimsa, the notion of non-violence
even when struggling for social justice. Buddha said, “Even if thieves
carve you limb from limb with a double-handed saw, if you make your mind
hostile you are not following my teaching” (Kamcupamasutta,
Majjhima-Nikkaya I ~28-29).
“Thou shalt not commit murder” is one of the 10 pillars of Judaism and
Christianity. The New Testament, with plenty of scriptures warning of
impending judgment for man’s wickedness, clearly states, “The Lord is
not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is
patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to
repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Many of the world’s greatest leaders, from Jesus Christ to Gandhi to
Martin Luther King Jr., chose the path of peace to the very end. Each of
them won in their war against evil.
The exception to non-violence condoned by most religions is
self-defense. Deadly force is only to be used to protect the innocent
and, even then, when there is no other effective alternative.
So what kind of God insists on mankind aggressively serving as an
instrument of death and destruction?
Christianity teaches that it is Satan, the arch enemy of God, who comes
to “steal, kill and destroy.” The devil is the god of destruction.
Humanity suffers because of evil.
Western leaders hesitant to offend those in the Middle East say that
Islam is a peaceful religion that has been “hijacked” by a handful of
radicals. But that handful stretches from Saudi Arabia, home of Osama
bin Laden and most of the September 11 attackers and the first country
to recall its ambassador to Denmark, through Syria, where rioters
torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies, all the way to Indonesia,
where the Danish embassy's deputy head reported "a broad picture of
threats" and warned Europeans to leave the country. Violence is ongoing
in Turkey, Yemen, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Thailand and even New
All of this allegedly over a couple of editorial cartoons.
The root of this radicalism is a source of debate. Many believe that it
is simply Islam behaving as Islam. Some Muslims disagree. Others insist
it is a great culture war crossing social, political and religious
lines. A few have suggested that it is an effort on the part of
hardliners to intimidate moderate Muslims.
Regardless of the diagnosis, one thing is clear: Evil is at work in this
Hatred, oppression, violence and murder reek of wickedness. Those who
carry out such iniquity may do so in the name of god but their god is
the enemy of peace, beauty and everything that is good. Every Muslim
claiming to believe in a God of peace should stand firm and cry out in
loud protest against all the violent acts committed by others claiming
to follow the teachings of Mohammad.
However we draw the lines – east or west, rich or poor, Christian or
Muslim – we must remember that the ultimate division, and the only one
that really matters, is right or wrong. With the kind of violence we are
witnessing right now, we know beyond doubt that the perpetrators are
Author: James Robison
Word Count: 680
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE
Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host
of the television program, Life
Today; and author of The
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net
Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for
complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.