Nine months ago, a Pakistani girl was shot in the head for daring to say publicly that girls should go to school. Who would do such a wicked thing? The Taliban, an Islamic group that held Afghanistan in its radical death-grip for years.
The girl survived. She forgave her attackers. And she still has her voice. Last week, this brave young woman (only 16) received a standing ovation from UN delegates after they heard her speak at the General Assembly in New York City. "I am Malala,"she said in clear English, her head scarf covering the bullet's scar.
She is a heroic advocate for the 57 million children around the world who are prevented from being educated, mostly because of a particular religion- the religion of Islam.
Islamists don't like it when girls get educated. Three weeks ago, members of an Islamic sect attacked a boarding school in northern Nigeria. They killed 42 children and teachers. For years, this sect has been terrorizing Christian pastors, business owners, and Christian villages.
Last month, Islamists threw a hand grenade into a church in Mombassa, Kenya, as Christians worshiped. One was killed and seventeen injured.
You may have noticed that President Obama bypassed Kenya on his recent Africa tour. The reason is that Islamist agitators have brought instability into that once peaceful nation. In Egypt, a Christian businessman was hacked to death by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Last month Egyptian President Morsi had to remind one his Muslim Brotherhood cabinet members that their meeting was being televised live as that official openly spoke of America as an enemy. Morsi, before his removal, had just spoken at a political rally where a Sunni cleric was advocating killing non-Muslims in Egypt.
Sunni and Shia sects have been killing each other for centuries. Now non-Muslims also. Why is this not reported by our U.S. media? Is there a conspiracy to cover up violence done in the name of Islam? What do these reports have in common? Religious intolerance or racial enmity.
In Islamic nations, if the citizens do march for participatory democracy, it often falls short; ruthlessly subverted by religious zealots and authoritarian rulers. It happened in Egypt, Turkey, and Iran. The recent coup in Egypt might give that nation another chance.
Regimes empowered by Islamic fundamentalists always stifle freedom of thought. Their people must be kept away from information lest they revolt against control. While there are gentle, kind Muslims, and while there are branches of Islam that do not promote violence, we must recognize that Islam as a political system has often failed at democracy.
Having said all that, I conclude with this: it is wrong to hate Muslims and we ought not to fear them. I love the Muslim people and pray for them but I see their religion as a terrible yoke. Muslims need a Savior. Most Muslims are not converts but were raised in it. They never chose Islam.
If they leave Islam, their neighbors may kill them and their law allows it. Yet they need to know their sins can be atoned for; that they can be saved and go to heaven.
The way for them is the same as for us — by personally knowing Jesus — "Issa" in the Koran. In Jesus Christ alone is the gift of eternal life.
Ron ministers at Trinity Assembly of God. www.trinitymeridian.com. 601-483-8189. Father's Power Radio on Sunday (103.3FM) 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.