In June 2009, near the beginning of his presidency, Obama delivered an historic appeasement speech in one of Islam’s most hallowed spaces in Cairo at Al-Azhar. This week, president Obama, now entering the final few months of his leadership, gave a speech in a mosque for the Islamic Society of Baltimore; it was his first official presidential visit to a mosque in the United States. Thus Obama has decided to bookend his presidency with two high-profile and critically timed addresses in mosques (East and West) that were clearly aimed not just at a regional, but a global audience.
Muslims perpetrating acts of violence and terror insist that these actions are taught by and motivated by their faith, yet politicians like Barack Obama insist that they know better, criticizing Muslims both from the Islamic world and those living in the West, instructed as they are by their Islamic leaders and jurists, that they misunderstand their own faith! That in fact this violent manifestation is not the real Islam, for Islam is not submission, nor the struggle (jihad) for world domination of Islam – really it simply means peace. What are we to make of the Islamic apologetics recently emanating from the White House?
With all that might and will be said about the immediate political agenda of this visit for the Democratic Party at a time of transitions, both the symbolism and rhetoric of this mosque visit are important for a deeper reason I want to discuss. The seriously flawed character of his understanding of Islam, his outright falsification of the American founders’ religious policy, and the vacuity of his multi-culturalism could lead critics to miss the real objective of this visit. It certainly wasn’t about any particular concern he has for the persecuted or marginal – if that were the case he would be regularly outspoken about the terrible oppression of the most persecuted class around the world, Christians. The goal of the speech was instead the further diminution of a public Christian faith and foundations of the United States.
Most Westerners are now very accustomed to hearing leading politicians speak as though they are theologians, apologists, or experts in comparative religion, endlessly reminding us that we are all God’s children, all worship the same being and should unite around issues of ‘social justice.’ All these elements were heavily present in Obama’s Baltimore speech. He spoke of the so-called ‘Abrahamic faiths,’ told Americans that America was founded on freedom of religion for all religions (failing to mention the establishment of state churches and the disallowing of even Roman Catholics to political and civic office in many states during the colonial and early constitutional period) and that ‘tolerance is not enough’ when it comes to Islam and other faiths. What is required is embracing all gods to recognise our common humanity.
In other words, people must be made to embrace all religions or one religion. Tolerance just won’t do anymore, because mere toleration is really discrimination! This emphasis required his promotion of the hijab, Islamic schools and favorable images of Islam in the media, whilst Muslims were persistently portrayed as model Americans who are the victims of prejudice and American ignorance. This approach is necessary in order that Americans be made to think that Islam is essentially the same as Christianity (i.e. mosques are just like churches or synagogues) but with some superficial cultural differences, and that all the killing, maiming and butchery going on across the world in the name of Islam is really just garden variety ‘terrorism’ that has nothing to do with Mohammed’s example or Islamic ideology. The fact that under Islamic law (Sharia) there is no freedom of religion, speech, thought, artistic expression, press, equality for non-Muslims or women before the law, democracy, or golden rule, is simply bypassed by Islamic specialist Obama.
The politically correct rhetoric that Islam is a religion of peace, a misunderstood faith that poses no threat to Western democracy or American security, is in plain contravention of the facts on the ground. According to Pew Research, 1 in 10 native-born, Muslim-Americans have a favorable view of al-Qaeda (2011), and only 58% reject them outright (2007), whilst 21% admitted that there was a fair to great amount of support in their community for extremism. They also found that 19% of American Muslims believe suicide bombings in defense of Islam are justified. Moreover, The Polling Company CSP Poll (2015) found that 24% of Muslim-Americans say that violence is justified against those who offend Islam and 29% agreed that violence against those who insult Mohammed or the Qur’an is acceptable. Wenzel Strategies’ poll in 2012 found that 58% of Muslim-Americans believe that criticism of Islam or Mohammed is not protected speech under the First Amendment; 43% believe that people of other faiths have no right to evangelize Muslims; and 32% said Sharia should be the law of the land. All that without noting that this accounts only for those Muslims telling the truth in the survey since the Islamic doctrine of sacred deception (taqiyya) permits lying and deception in the cause of advancing Islam. Typically, when in a minority and so as an act of self-preservation, the devout Muslim will not admit to all the goals and desires inherent in the Islamic worldview with respect to the kafir (unbeliever) and the caliphate.
Despite these social realities that are known to the political class, shortly after his speech at the Islamic Society in Baltimore, in his address at the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama suggested, “That the God that is in each of us comes together. And that we don’t divide.” Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, they are all alike for Obama, where people come together as families to worship ‘god.’ Any form of division, clear distinction or separation in terms of objective truth claims about God or revelation is anathema to liberal progressives because it thwarts their most fundamental religious ambition – global religious unity.
Although there are those who have suggested it, Obama shows no sign of being a real Muslim himself – he is a devotee of a much older faith, a brand of pagan political utopianism that pursues the blending of all religious ideologies into one inclusive ‘faith,’ based on the idea of the divine essence within. Here god is realizing itself as an aspect of human consciousness and the state is the all-powerful centre of religious life and the planner of human salvation. The fly in the ointment, however, is that Christians worship the transcendent and living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and hold that ultimate reality is not one mystic essence (unity) but both one and many in the personal community of the Trinity. This God who distinguishes and orders all things in creation and manifests himself fully in the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, is the one great obstacle to this humanistic dream. Christianity is thus intolerably divisive.
Islam, on the other hand, posits an ultimate monism or singularity, a wholly other and unknowable being as divine, and so philosophically becomes indistinguishable from pantheistic conceptions of god. Moreover, Islam is as utopian and totalitarian as progressive humanism, and likewise moves against real diversity or plurality in culture, insisting instead on a monotonous and colourless conformity which stamps on freedom and creativity – every aspect of life covered by a law or ‘example’ from personal ablutions, to diet, clothing and friendship. Mohammed’s life is itself the ideal pattern, and so what he did, right down to the details of everyday activities, becomes the necessary pattern for dutiful Muslims (Sura 33:21). The sources for conduct are the Qur’an and Sunna – the verbal record of the sayings and deeds of Mohammed, out of which comes Shariah law as interpreted by the Ulama (Islamic jurists).
Critically, Islam is an anti-Christian apologetic from beginning to end. Jesus Christ is not the Son of God for the Muslim, he did not die on the cross, nor was he raised to life from the grave. The Trinity is idolatrous polytheism; God is not the believer’s Father, and a kafir (non-Muslim) should be terrorized and killed (Suras 2:216; 4:89; 47:4; 86:15; 8:12; 33:60). In fact, for Islam, everyone is actually a Muslim (Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus), either faithful or rebellious, and all will be brought into the House of Islam by jihad waged in the House of War (non-Islamic states).
That is Islam’s primary purpose, and has been from its inception, to destroy the faith of the Hebrew and the Galilean – to eliminate or subjugate the Jew and Christian. This is not to say that this is the self-conscious goal of all Muslims, some of whom are in my extended family and amongst whom my family worked for 17 years in an Islamic nation. But the ideology of Islam is essentially political, oriented to conquest by force (death or the tax) and its key texts are anti-Semitic and anti-Christian at root.
Islam and Obama’s utopian humanism thus seem like strange bedfellows, yet their bizarre alliance was perfectly manifest in the President’s address in Baltimore. His speech carefully obfuscated the real nature of Islamic ideology to the average American (with its completely different god to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ) and played into the hands of those seeking the Islamization of America. Yet at the same time, believing that reality is socially constructed, Obama and his acolytes think that he is influencing and shaping the Muslim-American mind to believe that ‘his version’ of their beliefs is as viable as what the Sunnis, Shi’a, Ahmadis, Qadiyanis, Wahhabis, Salafis, Sufis, or other Islamic groups say. This, they believe, will lead to Muslims increasingly adopting the progressive’s vision of society. If history as well as numerous opinion polls are anything to go by, the modern left are deceived in this belief – Islam has so far proven resistant to meaningful development and has eventually crushed dissident reform groups internally.
Essentially the strange alliance of humanistic progressivism with Islam is one of mutual exploitation. First, the utopian and elitist left seeks to use Islam and Muslims to demonstrate that Christendom is gone, America and the West are now ‘multicultural’ societies, and that as a result Christianity can no longer be privileged in the public, and increasingly the private, spheres. To accord a special place for Christianity in America (or anywhere in the West), despite our history, they claim, is a form of oppression that must be uprooted. The Western world is now a polytheistic culture and so the state must provide the new source of unity in the context of an inclusive religious policy that brings all under one concept of the divine, shredding the historical claims of the major faiths and leaving only the political elite as the ultimate source of law, truth and right for public life. Coercion then replaces religious persuasion, so that justice and truth are no longer revealed from a transcendent source but emerge from man-enlarged in the state. Islam, for these utopian humanists, is merely a tool – a useful implement with which to batter Christians in justifying their claim that Christ cannot be Lord in society since we coalesce with other cultures. The unique claims of Christ are anathema to both the paganized elites and the Islamic worldview, therefore Islam is used to place a gag on the Christian church.
On the other hand many Muslims see the collapse of the Christian social order in the West under the pressures of secularism and paganism as a golden opportunity for the rise and domination of Islam over the infidel. Exploiting the historic political privileges, hospitality and equality before the law afforded by a Christian heritage that are unknown in the Islamic world, Muslims take advantage of the arrogant presumption of Western political elites who have ‘secularized’ the public space, and by means of al-hijra (Islamic doctrine of immigration) migrate en-masse into the historic Christian states (House of War). There they have large families and, for a season, in terms of the doctrine of taqiyya (sacred deception), happily play the role assigned to them as one group among many in a multicultural society, seeking only toleration.
But as soon as their numbers are sufficient, as Rotterdam, Leeds, Bradford, or any number of other cities in Europe quickly discover, Sharia law and the House of Islam steadily takes over and it has no place or use for dissent. Before you know it, sharia courts are created (as in the U.K), honor killings are common and Islamic society is being gradually established in numerous areas. Halal meat becomes the only meat available and Islamic finance, banking and investment progressively swallows the economic system. Much of this has already been implemented in the United Kingdom. From the Islamic perspective, Obama’s mosque speeches have the President of the USA dutifully assuming a position of dhimmitude.
Though these two worldviews have nefariously taken advantage of each other for their own ends, at root they share a common enemy, the God of the Bible, and so are happy to use one another for their own purposes – the destruction of Christianity, the final fulfillment of Hebrew faith. Islam with its Nestorian and Arian roots was, as far as the reformer Martin Luther was concerned, ‘the scourge of God’ and God’s instrument of punishment for the sins of Christendom. And there is perhaps much to be learned from his analysis of Islam as a tool of God to judge faithless Christian peoples.
President Obama’s Baltimore speech then typifies the manner in which our humanistic politicians have pursued their utopian end, utilizing and favoring Islam as a tool, not out of love for Muslims, but in resentment against and hatred of the gospel. It involves them in what is reminiscent of Orwellian double-speak, insisting that what Muslims say they believe and assert as the basis for their action is not in fact what they believe at all. In spite of all the facts, the elites’ own interpretation of Islam is repeated ad nauseum, for since ‘religion’ has long been exiled by secularism to private places, it must be the case that the rapes, killings, beheadings and suicide attacks done in the name of Islam have nothing to do with the religion of Islam or actual practicing Muslims! The impressionable and ill-equipped public are then expected to accept and repeat this manipulative mumbo-jumbo.
The Christian individual and church must stand up and resist the facile deception of our cultural elite as well as the project of Islamization. Historic Christian freedoms not used will soon be lost. Both of these totalitarian ideologies have to be confronted with truth and with the gospel. It requires courage, faith, hope and love. Deception must be uncovered, falsity exposed, kindness and truth expressed, and Christ-like love made manifest. We do not yet live in the House of Islam, nor in the dystopian world of pagan religious egalitarianism. If we wish that to remain true, Christians will have to break our silence.
Only the gospel can bring hope and life and we should cultivate good relationships with Muslims wherever we can, with our eyes wide open to the complexity of Islamic dealings with those they deem infidels. Sidney H. Griffith has written, “All of the Christian communities who lived within the world of Islam in the early Islamic period strove to cultivate good relations with Muslims at the same time that both in Arabic and in their own languages they clearly marked the difference between the two creeds.” If even those living under Islamic rule were careful and courageous enough to clearly distinguish our creeds, then whatever President Obama may say, we must make clear the absolute divide between the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, and the Islamic teachings about god. This being is not the same God, for the claimed revelation of Islam reveals an unknown God, not the covenant God of Scripture, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The only salvation for men of every tribe and creed is found in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12), and if we fail to make this known, we do not love but hate our neighbor and we will be accountable for our disdain for our fellow men in the grip of false religion.
 For an accurate analysis of the significance of the mosque in Islam, see Belteshazzar & Abednego, The Mosque and its Role in Society, (London: Pilcrow Press, 2006).
 See, Bill Warner, Sharia Law for Non-Muslims (USA: Center for Study of Political Islam, 2010), 3.
 See, James R. White, What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an (Bethany: Minnesota, 2013), 105-143.
 Sidney H. Griffith, The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque: Christians and Muslims in the World of Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), 175.