With the recent shooting of dozens of people in southern California, ISIS has made its debut in America. There remain a great many details to be sorted out, but news has emerged that one of the attackers pledged her allegiance to the terrorist organization on social media before conducting the attacks.
Before this attack, terrorism was understandably defined for many Americans as something resembling 9/11 – a major attack on a major city, and one designed to draw the world’s attention in the most bloody way possible. This concept was reinforced by what happened only last month on the streets of Paris, when a large team of terrorists launched numerous coordinated attacks on targets ranging from a high-profile soccer match to restaurants and a Jewish-owned concert hall.
But as the San Bernardino shootings have tragically reminded us, Islamic terrorism is much more than big attacks in big cities. While there is something important in the symbolism of attacking a capital city, not every terrorist or organization is capable of such a plan. The result is a variety of threats which go beyond 9/11, the Paris attacks, or the London transit bombings of 2005.
The shootings in California appear to be the work of one married couple – not a network of trained jihadists. Two people would never be able to hijack planes or spread out across an entire city, but they can create a similar effect from shooting people in a single building. If we forget about these smaller attacks, then we will be leaving our communities in unnecessary danger.
When ISIS struck Paris, it was the largest terrorist attack in Europe in over a decade. In the meantime, terrorists from various Islamist organizations had conducted fatal attacks in Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria, Sweden, and two other cities in France. It is ture that the death toll from these smaller attacks is far fewer than for those in major cities, and these kind of attacks may become harder to pull off as Americans become more vigilant. But as terrorists increasingly try to strike America and spread fear throughout our communities, the pattern in Europe of hitting smaller targets may be repeated here.
There has been a lot of discussion recently about religious freedom in America, and for good reason – the courts and bureaucrats deep in government have been chipping away at that freedom. But today we ask you to reflect on the sacrifices of Christians halfway around the world, including 12 brave souls who stood up for the freedom to believe in Jesus and were brutally killed for it.
These missionaries were from Syria. Even as civil war spread across that country, they insisted on staying in their homeland, and they insisted on bringing the word of Christ to those trapped by the violence.
‘Every time we talked to them,’ the director said, ‘they were always saying, ‘We want to stay here – this is what God has told us to do. This is what we want to do.’ They just wanted to stay and share the gospel.’
These missionaries knew ISIS militants were approaching the town where they lived and worked, but they refused to flee the terrorists, believing the work of sharing Christ to be too important to abandon.
They were soon captured by ISIS forces and given a chance to renounce Christianity and spare their own lives. Instead they prayed publically in the name of the Jesus, continuing to follow a peaceful path until the terrorists beheaded and crucified them in front of the entire town.
This is reality of terrorism – and the danger it poses both to America and Christians everywhere. As we continue to fight to uphold our values, I ask that you join us in taking a moment to appreciate the sacrifice of these missionaries and all those who risk their lives in the name of the Lord.
TVCELI’s new white paper on the Iranian nuclear weapons agreement is finally out. Our conclusions are straightforward:
Much has been said about the alternative to a deal being war, but the true alternative is a better deal — one that is enforceable and with serious consequences — if the Islamic Republic is unfaithful to the agreement. The crippling sanctions bringing Iran to the bargaining table must remain in place. Such a course of action would bolster the confidence of our allies in the region. Iran must recognize further its commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Moreover, a clear policy stance indicating that the United States and NATO are both unwilling to tolerate a mass race for nuclear arms in the region will show Western unwillingness to fight a series of proxy wars under the threat of an Iranian nuclear umbrella. Such a line will be a critical first step in restoring confidence in America’s resolve in the region while offering a free hand in dealing with ISIL, permitting avenues for a UN-brokered peace in Syria while assuring our Turkish allies of America’s commitment to preserving stability in the region and denying Iranians the leverage they have used to force the issue this far.
The alternative to the Obama-Kerry brokered deal with Iran isn’t war — it’s a better deal, one with teeth that reinforces the realities of nuclear non-proliferation and emphasizes the need for stability in the region.
The program, called CSCOPE, is a private venture operating under the umbrella of the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative, whose incorporation documents state its independence from the State Board of Education of the Texas Education Agency.
Other reports previously have raised alarm over the curriculum’s depiction of the Boston Tea Party as a terrorist act on par with the 9/11 attack.
Now come concerns about what critics describe as a definitively pro-Islam bias.
The critics say the studies border on proselytizing.
In one scenario, students are asked to study the tenets of Islam, and critics say the materials provided exceed impartial review of another faith, extending into requirements of conversion and moral imperatives.
A computer presentation utilized as part of a study of Islam includes information on how to convert, as well as verses denigrating other faiths.
According to excerpts, under the heading, “Who Is Allah?,” students are told:
“Allah is the Almighty God.”
“Allah alone is the Creator. He alone deserves our devout love and worship.”
Muhammad is described as having become “disillusioned with the corruption in the city and the growing gap between the urban dwellers and the Bedouins (nomadic herders).”