America's invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq has two goals: short term and long term. The short-term goal was to stop the threat of international terrorism. Progress seems to be made in this direction.
But the long-term objective of transforming Muslim societies into peaceful, open, democratic cultures is a much more difficult matter. Christian ministries are increasingly apprehensive over the outcome of religious freedom when these countries are returned to native governments.
The latest red flag went up when the new Afghan constitution was unveiled. It begins by declaring that "Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic." Later, in stating that other religions are free to practice, it adds a disturbing condition. Their practice must be within the limits of the provisions of the law and no law can be contrary to the "sacred religion of Islam."
Some believe that this provision could set the stage for the return of an oppressive, Taliban-like government that might even welcome back terrorist organizations. At best, religious freedom would be next to zero as it is in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Transforming a centuries-old Islamic society into an open, western-style democracy may be a daunting if not impossible task.
In their highly insightful book, Unveiling Islam, Ergun and Emil Caner observe, "For all their rhetoric about tolerance, not one Muslim-controlled government offers comprehensive religious freedom. Even the most open-minded of Muslim countries do not recognize the arguments for such liberty. They never have — and we can only pray that one day they will."
The Caners see one general benefit from the war on terrorism. "Citizens of free countries have been brought back to a realization of what they have." The nation building that is going on in Afghanistan and Iraq is exposing the sharp contrast between the oppression of Islamic regimes and our precious freedoms in western cultures.
Modern times have witnessed oppression by godless governments under communism, but not since the dark ages has the world seen the fruits of religion in control of civil government. September 11, 2001 reminded us that religious freedom was hard won and can only be kept with due diligence.
In the end, however, only the good news that God loves the Muslim can bring lasting peace. There is no love in Islam. Allah is detached and capricious — unloving. Converted Muslims declare that it was the concept of a loving God that drew them to Christ.
Unveiling Islam is written as a manual for witnessing to the Muslim. The Caners were raised in Islam and disowned by their family when they converted to Christ. Their book explains the Muslim worldview and how best to relate the gospel.
Chick Publications also has several gospel tracts for use in witnessing to Muslims. Allah had no Son explains the contrast between Allah and the God of the Bible. The Pilgrimage explains why Jesus is the only way to the real heaven instead of the false paradise of Islam.