For Americans, the world has changed since the destruction of the twin towers. But for many people in the rest of the world, they can only say, "Join the club." One of the world's leading authorities on religious persecution sees a direct connection between Osama bin Laden's terrorist networks and persecution of Christians in many countries.
Dr. Paul Marshall, a senior fellow at the Center of Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C. says, "In many settings it is radicals within his network who are carrying out persecution."
The most horrendous example of this persecution is in Sudan where 2 million people who call themselves Christians have died at the hands of radical Muslims since 1998. In the Philippines, we read of kidnapping and beheadings; in Ambon, Indonesia, villages are raided, women raped and houses torched; in Taliban Afghanistan aid workers were jailed for "proselytizing."
Even in the so-called moderately Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia, Christians are regularly arrested and tortured.
It is very convenient to focus our blame on one "bad boy." But Marshall points out that bin Laden is only one figurehead
in a worldwide movement whose focus is persecution of Christians.
This movement is not held together by an organizational structure but by a common passion: that Islam must conquer the world for Allah.
Muslims have little political power here. But in places where they have, or are gaining, domination, their enemies are shown no more mercy than the victims in the Trade Center Towers.
For leaders such as bin Laden in this terrorist network, "Christian" has a very broad definition. He sees America, Britain and Europe as Christian and therefore enemies of Allah. Other enemies include any moderate Islamic state such as Egypt and Turkey, that cooperates with the "Christian" nations, and, of course, Jewish Israel.
But Islam is not the only sworn enemy of the gospel. Hindu extremists in India regularly attack Christians and Muslims. For 50 years China has tried to stamp out all forms of religion. Other Asian nations use legal, cultural or religious motivation to restrict religious freedom and the true Bible believers are invariably the victims.
Even in the "free" nations of the western world, Satan is orchestrating subtle attacks. Using evolution as the basic "strong delusion" Europe has marched relentlessly into secular materialism denying their need for a God. The U.S. is rapidly conforming to Europe's pattern.
While Islam sees the West as "Christian," and therefore the enemy, it condemns it as a corrupt culture that needs the law of the Koran to correct its evils. Their diagnosis is accurate but their solution is to impose the horrors of the Taliban.
In regions without severe restrictions on religious freedom such as Latin America, parts of Africa and the old Soviet Union, sin and corruption create so much political and cultural chaos that the Gospel is seriously hindered.
Jesus warned us that there would be much "distress of nations with
perplexity" "wars and rumours of wars" in the last days. The countenances of the world leaders bear more and more the worry described in Luke 21: men's hearts failing them for fear .
But, Jesus said, "See that ye be not troubled. Look up... for your redemption draweth nigh." But while we are "looking up," the great commission still applies. "Ye shall be witnesses unto me"- anywhere we can!