ISIS–Coming to a City Near You

23 01 2016

Jkt bombing   This week I finished the rewrites to my sequel to SOMEONE HAS TO DIE. In this new thriller, ISIS attacks Indonesia, and one of the heroes from the first novel, the ex-terrorist Abdullah, accepts the challenge to take down the ISIS cell—non-violently. The working title for this book is A WAY OUT OF HELL, and I hope to have it published by this summer. Watch this site!

My writing couldn’t have been more prescient. Last week a group claiming affiliation with ISIS launched an attack on central Jakarta, using guns, grenades and bombs, starting with a suicide bombing in a Starbucks and ending with a gun battle in the streets. At least seven were killed, including all five attackers.

This attack mirrors exactly the modus operandi I present in my book. In the Middle East, ISIS is focused on territory. To have a world-leader caliph, he must have territory to govern. But in Paris, Jakarta, and perhaps other cities around the world, ISIS-sympathetic groups can’t realistically be looking to take over territory—so what are they up to?

Such groups believe that producing chaos and fear can lead to destabilized governments, opening the door for dramatic governmental shifts that can be used to their advantage. Indonesia is a prime target for such an approach. For years there have been several organizations and even political parties promoting an Islamic government, though the general populace supports pluralism. But with a traditionally weak central government, were enough instability and fear to rock the country, people might turn to a strong leader from the Muslim radicals who could negotiate an end to the conflict by giving in to demands for a stricter application of Syariah Law (such as has already happened in the province of Aceh). This in turn could pave the way for the nation’s leaders to pledge allegiance to the caliph.

Stopping ISIS in the Middle East is extremely complicated; but stopping ISIS from destabilizing nations with strong pluralistic majorities is less complicated and very possible. As I mentioned in my last post, I disagree with the president of France’s “merciless” approach. If we put all suspected terrorists in jail, what happens? At least one report from Jakarta stated that all five attackers had spent time in jail. Prison is the #1 recruiting post for new radicals or “rededicated” radicals. And for each “martyr” killed in jihad, ten more are inspired to rise up in their place.

There is a better way, a non-violent way to stop the cycle of violence and death. Keep reading this blog and I’ll explain more in the weeks to come.

I welcome your comments on how to deal with ISIS as well. Let’s continually pray for peace.

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The Right Response to Paris

22 11 2015
photo from usatoday.com

                        photo from usatoday.com

It’s been an interesting couple weeks, with Islam dominating the news. The horrific attacks in Paris stirred up a tremendous amount of sympathy, fear, and not always constructive reactions around the world. France’s president promised a “ruthless” response, and subsequent raids across France and bombings in the Middle East were evidence of his sincerity.

Meanwhile, many cities and nations questioned the wisdom of welcoming Muslim refugees inside their borders, turning them away to go…where exactly??

An altogether different response arrived in my email inbox this week—an Islamophobic letter warning me that “We Now Have a Muslim Government,” citing erroneously that leaders such as John Brennan, head of the CIA, and presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett were Muslims. The letter also falsely claimed President Obama is a “closet Muslim” and sounded this gloomy assessment of our future:

Obama and his minions are systematically destroying our nation, supporting radical Muslim groups worldwide, opening our southern border, and turning a blind eye to the genocide being perpetrated on Christians all over Africa and the Middle East. The more damage Obama does, the more arrogant he’s become! Our nation and our government has been infiltrated by people who want to destroy us.

These wild accusations of a conspiracy theorist couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you receive any similar bogus emails, please tell the sender to check his facts and instead of spreading fear, try becoming part of the solution.

So…the world’s responses are ruthless revenge, heartless rejection, or delusional fear. Surely there is a better option for us?

Lately I’ve been working on editing my manuscript for the sequel to my first novel, SOMEONE HAS TO DIE, hopefully to be published in summer 2016. In my new book, I’ll address the issue of ISIS and what a more godly, effective, transformational response could look like.

But while you wait for your summer reading, a group of leading Muslims around the world have got a jump on me by authoring an open letter to the self-appointed “Caliph” or leader of ISIS, Al Baghdadi. This 28-page letter presents beautifully how far from orthodox Islam ISIS has strayed. I especially recommend you check out the page explaining jihad and the page on the treatment of Christians (“People of the Book”) if you want to discover how the leading Muslims of our world truly feel about these issues. You can read the letter and who signed it here: http://www.lettertobaghdadi.com/

The tragic loss of life in Paris should produce a righteous anger in our hearts. However, neither ruthless revenge nor finger-pointing fear will solve the problem or bring healing to our world. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Islam is not our enemy. Hatred, prejudice, violence and fear are our enemies.

And since these are common enemies to all mankind, let us join together as humans to overcome those evils with good.