I was noticing news reports concerning the rise in violence against Ahmadi Muslims in the news this morning. Evidently, an Islamic scholar, Dr. Aamer Liaqat Hussain, during a television program commemorating the 1974 act by Pakistan’s parliament that declared Ahmadis “non-Muslims,” argued that the murder of Ahmadis is a “religious duty.” This sparked violence and murder, including the shooting of Abdul Manan Siddiqui, an American medical doctor, while he was seeing patients.
The violence spawned by “heresy” on the part of orthodox Muslims stands in stark contrast to how believing, Biblical Christians respond to heresy. Compare and contrast the Ahmadis with, say, Jehovah’s Witnesses. How do we respond to those who deny central aspects of our faith? We surely identify their error. We refuse fellowship with them as well. And we train our people to proclaim the truth to them. We write books, produce pamphlets and tracts, even post YouTube videos refuting their claims. But we do not walk into their homes or offices and shoot them dead on the spot. We do not burn down Kingdom Halls and destroy the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses. But this is exactly what orthodox Islam does when its adherents are excited by the religious rhetoric of their leaders.
It is important to note that as soon as this observation is made, Islamic apologists—rather than condemning the violence against Ahmadis—will instead point to historical events like the Spanish Inquisition. Of course, some of you noted that I specified “Biblical Christians” above, and of course, I reject the Roman system as a Christian system in the first place. But even here the Inquisition did not work like the rampaging fanatics in Pakistan. As wrong and heretical as the inquisitors themselves were, they had rules and guidelines, and what is more (and frankly, what is scary), many of those inquisitor believed they were doing God’s will by “aiding” in the repentance of their victims! All of this goes to show the importance of recognizing that God did not give to the Church the sword, but gave to the Church the Gospel, by which men’s hearts are changed.
So as you see the violence raging yet again in Islamic countries, reflect on how this arises from the religion itself, and how we must be thankful that God has changed our hearts by grace, not because we are better than those rampaging through the streets in Pakistan, screaming out their religious hatred. We are not better than they. They follow a man of war, we follow the Prince of Peace.