Prior to 9/11, most Americans were barely aware of the religion of Islam.
In the short time since that tragic day, Islam has established its presence in the country with mosques and schools in every sizeable community. The president of the United States has even said that the country was founded on Judeo-Christian-Islamic principles.
One thing the religion has done is divide the country and other nations where there has been widespread immigration from Muslim lands, mostly in the Middle East.
At no time has that division been greater than now.
In France, it was the Charlie Hebdo killings that caused the division, between those on the right of the political spectrum who want an end to Islamization and the immigrants themselves, supported by those on the left who side with them.
In Germany, there is PEGIDA staging weekly demonstrations against the Islamization of Europe. Critical of PEGIDA are the established political parties who bend over backwards to assure Muslims that there is a place for them in their societies.
Now division has come to the United States with the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.
Some would say the division is over Israel. But the divide is also over how best to handle militant Islam.
The gulf between the two became clearer today when the Prime Minister addressed the US Congress in Washington.
The invitation to speak came from the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. The White House made it clear that it was opposed to Netanyahu speaking, claiming it was a breach of protocol so close to the Israel election.
Although most Democrats did listen to the speech, Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House, was very critical almost immediately afterwards, claiming she was “near tears” throughout the speech and “saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States.” She was reportedly visibly agitated while Mr. Netanyahu was speaking.
The subject of the speech was Iran and the imminent deal between western allies with the Iranian regime over its nuclear program. The deadline for this agreement is March 31st. Mr. Netanyahu believes that the impending agreement will make it more likely that Iran will develop nuclear weapons – and soon.
The division is clear – and not just over Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.
The division is between those who see a serious threat from militant Islam and those who are in denial. Iran is not the only threat but it was the focus of the prime minister’s address. Iran with a nuclear weapon could annihilate Israel, a small country and near neighbor. Indeed, Iran has threatened to annihilate “the world’s only Jewish state.”
The prime minister reminded his audience of the story of Esther, the Jewish queen married to a Persian king in the fifth century BC. The Persian king at the time wanted to annihilate the Jews, just as today’s Iranian leadership does. Tomorrow (Wednesday, March 4th) is the Feast of Purim, which commemorates the delivery of the Jews from total disaster.
More recently, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy said: “If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down all over the world.”
Although Iran is not an Arab country and has traditionally been isolated as the only major Shi’ite Islamic nation, today it dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sana’a. Mr. Netanyahu referenced Iran’s support against Sunni Islamic ISIS, claiming that their support against ISIS does not make them a friend of America. It’s a case of “the enemy of your enemy is your enemy!”
“Both ISIS and Iran want to impose a militant Islamic empire,” he warned.
“The greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam and nuclear weapons.” This clearly would change everything in the Middle East and the wider world beyond.
Mr. Netanyahu’s address was impassioned. We have not heard such a powerful speech from a politician in many years. It is particularly impressive when we consider that English is not his first language. Mr. Netanyahu and former British statesman Sir Winston Churchill are the only two world leaders who have addressed Congress on three occasions. Following the speech, Netanyahu was compared on at least two news channels to Churchill, who spent the 1930’s warning of the impending threat from the Nazis, as Netanyahu warns of the increasing threat from militant Islam. If the world had heeded Churchill, the Holocaust would not have happened. If the world listens to Netanyahu, a future holocaust may be averted.
Students of the Bible know that Jerusalem, Israel’s “eternal capital” will be the focus of major conflict in the near future.
The Old Testament prophet Zechariah, writing about events leading up to the Second Coming of the Messiah, prophesied that Jerusalem and Judah (Israel) will be at the center of the final conflict to confront mankind.
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” (Zech 12:2-3.)
Zechariah 14:2 adds: “For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem.”
Centuries later, Jesus Christ, answering a question about the “signs of His Coming,” said: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.”
Mr. Netanyahu was right when he pointed out that “we share a common destiny.” What happens over there will affect us over here – and all countries in between.
The day before he addressed the US Congress, Mr. Netanyahu spoke to AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), one of the most powerful lobby groups in the United States. He said then that, whereas the President of the United States spends every day thinking about America’s security, as Israel’s prime minister, he spends every day thinking of Israel’s survival.
In that one sentence, he encapsulated the difference between the leaders of the two nations. At the present time, militant Islam is a matter of national security to the United States. If Mr. Netanyahu’s warning is not taken seriously, it could soon become a matter of national survival, as it is in Israel.