The majority of
Muslim leaders in western countries condemned the terrorist acts of September
11th in New York and July 7th in London as behaviour
which was. “un-Islamic”.So claimed the
Rev. Colin Chapman in his lecture on “Islamic Terrorism: Is There a Christian
Response?” given at Sheraton Hall, WycliffeCollege, on Wednesday, November 1, 2006.
Based upon his
experience living and working in the Middle
East, he stated: “the historical and
political issues are just as important as the theological questions. It is the combination
of traditional Islamic theology with a particular set of political developments
which has created the problem.”He
elucidated a historical/political arena which many would argue has not been
effectively communicated to the world outside of the Middle East.
In his experience Western countries have a poor understanding of the
root causes of “Islamic Terrorism”. He pointed out that it is often the case
that we make the, “immediate connection between ‘the
Islamic doctrine of war’ in general and current ‘Islamic terrorism’ in
“In the Qur’an …
the word jihad as a Holy War is used
in respect of waging it for defence against any aggression or taking an offence
in unavoidable circumstances when the onslaught of the enemies is imminent.” Based
upon the history of the region the terrorists believe that they are faithfully
following this definition.Chapman drew
some comparisons between the word jihad
and our Christian traditional understanding of just war.
concerns, he stated that, “in many cases there have been local, national issues
which have provoked the anger and the violence. And in many cases the violence
has been an expression of a more general anger over perceived injustices that
have been done to the Muslim world as a whole over a long period of time.”Rev.
Chapman also argued against the perspective of some Christians who believe that,
“Muslim terrorists are actually more faithful to the
spirit of the Qur’an and Islamic theology than moderate Muslims.” He reminded us that as non-Muslims we have no
right to claim that we know Islam better than the Muslims.
As to the appropriate
Christian response to this conflict Chapman suggested that we consider Matthew
5:23-24, that we should listen to what
the other side is saying, and then we should ask ourselves whether their
reasons for anger are well-founded.As
Christians our faithful response to the words of the Gospel should inspire us
to seek a righteous/just means of addressing this conflict (Matthew 5:6, 9).He proposed that the most effective manner of
engaging this issue would be to insist that the negotiation move forward only
within the realms of international law enforced for both sides. (Summary supplied by Natalie Sampson).