If we look to the past one hundred years, we see that the last big Islamic empire was the Ottoman Empire, now the Republic of Turkey. The Ottoman Empire was the reigning super power for four hundred years and controlled the whole Middle East. The other super powers of India, Indonesia and Africa were broken apart with some Sultanates having only very limited authority. Today we have nothing but the broken parts of previous empires.
The colonial powers of England, France, Russia and others came and divided this Muslim super power, the Muslim empires, into so-called national states. Actually, the Islamic Empires were not divided according to language and culture into national states but became protectorates. This colonial period did not last long. In spite of the fact that the colonial powers developed the Muslim countries, there was no real establishment of the Christian faith or Christian power in the majority of the Islamic areas. Through the two World Wars, in 1948 and finally in 1962, these Muslim nation-states rejected the Western powers and became independent.
In the last fifty years, four main streams developed as a result of the establishment of these new Muslim nation-states. First an Islamic socialism developed, next an Islamic fundamentalism, an Islamic materialism and finally an Islamic syncretism.
The creation of the State of Israel, a stumbling block to the Islamic countries, was responsible for the expansion of Islam. Israel was founded in 1948 not as a religious state as many would think, but as a Zionistic, socialistic state. Ninety percent of the whole country belonged to the state not to individuals. At the time, only three percent of Israel belonged to Jewish individuals and seven percent to non-Jews and non-Israelis. They developed their own form of socialistic Zionism. This was called the Kibbutzim and the Moshavim.
Kibbutzim are units where people live and work together without private property. They do not get a salary or have their own money. They live together with income from one source. This is the practice of Zionistic Communism. In Israel 275 such communities still exist today.
In addition to this is the Moshavim. This is a mixture where people live together and work together but everyone has his own capital, his own income, and his own property. It is a kind of socialistic movement. Israel was started not as a religious state but ninety percent of the people were socialistic minded.
As an equivalent to this development, you will find Islamic socialism, which was introduced by Jamal abdu l-Nasser, the president of Egypt. He said, “We have to unite all the forces of our countries. We have to train all our students. We have to unite all monies in order to overcome the state of Israel.” Therefore he confiscated all the land from the landowners and all the rich people lost their property. The idea was that the country should become rich and developed and the poor people should learn to read and write. This idea was very quickly adopted by many Muslim states like Algeria, North Yemen, Iraq, Syria and others. So Islamic socialism, actually it was not Islamic, but socialism with Islamic furnishings, was the movement in the Muslim countries for a time. These countries became military states and were organized by military dictators. Instead of socialism, the governments were ruled by military power as is still found today in Nigeria, parts of Tanzania and in some other countries.
This movement of organized socialism controlled by the military of the country gave rise to Islam. However, the Muslim fundamentalists did not agree to it. The Muslim Brotherhood (the first organized Islamic fundamentalist group) fought against Islamic socialism. Jamal abdu l-Nasser understood that it was not possible that the two main streams of fundamentalism and socialism exist beside one another. He hung all the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and gave a speech to the others, because he understood that Islamic fundamentalism would not tolerate any other form of Islam than an Islamic state ruled by Shari'a (Islamic law). They wanted to have a theocratic system, so he became very radical in his Islamic socialism. It is similar to this in Syria and in Iraq where many in the Muslim Brotherhood were sentenced to death or imprisoned and where battles were fought in order to overcome Islamic fundamentalism.
Islamic fundamentalism existed long before 1948. It started with Jamal al-Din Al-Afgani in Egypt who died in the late 1800s. It was developed by Professor Muhammad Abdu at the al-Azhar University and it had been finally organized by Hassan al-Banna (1906-1949), founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) became comparable to him as the thinker and the philosopher of the Muslim Brotherhood. So Islamic fundamentalism is about one hundred years old, but it dwindled and was suppressed by foreigners, colonial powers or by Islamic socialism.
When Jamal abdu l-Nasser was at the height of his power, he started to attack Israel verbally and the result was the Six-Day War on June 5, 1967. The Six-Day War brought a turning point for all Islamic culture and in the understanding of Islam. The Sinai, Jerusalem and the West Bank had been lost to Israel and the Muslims started to ask themselves why small Israel was able to overcome Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq combined? How could two million overcome two hundred million in one week? It was right for them to ask, thinking something must have been wrong with them, not with Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood said, “Yes, this was the rage of Allah. He punished you because you have hindered fundamentalism. If you had prayed more, if you had fasted more, and spent more of your money, if you were real Muslims, Allah would have given you victory.”
So, the reformation of Islam started with the Six-Day War. And at the same time, they said, “Allah has punished you, because the leaders of Muslim fundamentalism were hanged. We must have an Islamic revival." After this war a whole new way of thinking started in the Islamic countries.
I remember getting a letter in those days from Bahrain. A young Muslim wrote and said, “I don’t know who I am. Am I a Muslim, am I a Christian or am I a Communist? Whom shall I follow? Shall I follow Christ or Muhammad or Mao?" And then he signed it “The Puzzled One.”
In those days many Muslims lost their faith in themselves and they searched for new horizons. They started to seek answers from the voice of America, the voice of Moscow, the voice of China, and the voice of England. They wanted new horizons and this was the chance for Christian missions in one sense but also the chance for Islamic fundamentalism.
So the Islamic fundamentalists taught the following:
Ã‚Â· You must live according to Islam.
Ã‚Â· You must form an Islamic state because Islam cannot exist as a religion; it must exist as a state in order to introduce the shari’a.
A big movement started this way in the Islamic world. The high point of this movement was the Yom Kippur War. The Yom Kippur War lasted from October 6th to the 25th, 1973. During this time, there was a sharp increase in the price of oil and the wealth of Muslim countries began to grow at an incredible rate. Since that time we have the Islamic reformation appearing openly on all five continents. Oil money helped the Muslims to make their fundamentalist ideas become reality and to develop three different areas:
1. The defense of the Muslim countries against any kind of non-Islamic influence, whether Communist or Christian.
2. A spiritual reformation of Islam developed saying that Muslims should become better Muslims. In the mid-70s Muslims started a long reformation in which they would not only look outside, but look inside themselves. Seventy percent of Muslims do not know what is written in the Qur’an. The fundamentalists wish every Muslim would live as a true Muslim. They fight for it; they do their level best.
3. A world mission of Islam has been established in all five continents. Most Christians do not realize it, but Islam is growing fast, faster than we would like or than we realize. Because of sheer birthrate the Muslim population continues to double. In 1900, there were about 200 million Muslims; a century later there are over 1.2 billion followers of the Islamic faith. If Jesus does not come soon, they may double in another twenty-seven years.
The leading figure of this Islamic fundamentalism became Ayatollah Khomeini. Ayatollah Khomeini was the most honest Muslim I ever met, because he tried to create the kingdom of Allah in this world. He used all means, including speeches, power and tricks to accomplish this. When he is described as an extremist and as a fanatic Muslim, it must be by people who have not read the Qur’an. He merely tried to do what the Qur’an says. He became the spiritual leader of fundamentalism, though he was a Shiite and was not accepted by the Sunnites. But his agenda helped the Sunnites also in all their 50 different fundamentalist organizations so they took him as an influential spiritual leader for the development of Islamic fundamentalism.
It is very interesting that fundamentalism not only happened in the Muslim countries, but also in Israel. In Israel, while Jews were coming from Europe and Russia, Jews were also coming from Muslim states: Morocco, Iraq, Yemen and others. These Jews from the Muslim countries, from the Arabic countries, were nearly equal in number to the Jews from the Anglo-American and Russian countries. They wanted the political majority and they introduced Menachem Begin as their leader and later on others. The mood in Israel changed from a socialist-minded country to a fundamentalist-minded country. This is an essential point, the Kibbutzim and the Mushavim were no longer the leading powers and the back bone of the State of Israel but a new movement started whose purpose was to occupy the freed lands of Judah, Samaria and Gaza. What did they do? They built new towns and new villages on the tops of the mountains and strategically took the whole country into their hands. They built one hundred seventy villages and developed seventeen into towns inside of the Muslim countries that they took control of. Begin gave an oath and said, “As long as I am president of the country, not a hand span will be given away because it is the promised country.” Previously Israel had not built itself on the promises of the Old Testament. They said, “No, we will build our state on the promises of the United Nations”. But when Begin came, he changed the thinking of the country. He said “No, we will build on the promises of the Old Testament and the Lord has said, ‘This will be your Holy Land’, and we will inhabit it.”
And so an Israeli fundamentalism took place. It brought on the war in Lebanon as well as other developments. It caused a big clash between Khomeini and Israel through the Hamas organization that sprang up. The arguing and fighting about this is going on today.
Islamic fundamentalism was actually fighting against Israeli fundamentalism. At that time Khomeini started a verbal war against Saddam Hussein. Khomeini said, “Saddam Hussein is a devil, though he is a Muslim, he is not a real Muslim, because he does not allow that the shari’a to be introduced into Iraq. Therefore we have to fight against him.”
He did not go to war with Iraq immediately, but he started a big propaganda campaign over radio and television and he asked the Shiites in Iraq to start a revolution to overcome Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein was not ready to accept this. He had thousands and ten-thousands of Shiites hung, killed and tortured in order to continue his liberal socialist regime. As a result he finally said, “We will attack the system of Khomeini." He started a war against Iran, but did not succeed. Iran was supported by Syria and by some East German officers who helped overcome the army of Saddam Hussein. Then shortly before the armies of Saddam Hussein were conquered, Saddam Hussein used his secret weapon – gas. In the big areas of southern Iraq hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed by gas and put into the swamps of southern Iraq.
This war between the two Muslim countries - Khomeini’s fundamentalist minded Iran and the socialistic minded military government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq brought the third main stream of Islam. They understood that a war would not be won by socialism or by fundamentalism but only by modern weapons. They started to believe more in modern weapons than in socialism or fundamentalism. This war was a shock because the fundamentalists had been happy with Khomeini and the socialists and the oil countries had helped Saddam Hussein. When Iran defeated Saddam Hussein, the fundamentalists applauded, but when Saddam Hussein gassed the whole army of Khomeini, the liberal powers rejoiced. Then they all started to wonder how they could acquire newer, better weapons.
When Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Republican Guard started to conquer Kuwait and tried to seize all their oil, they were conquered in one hundred hours by American and coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm. Then suddenly these people learned that a modern war can only be won by the most modern and sophisticated weapons. You may remember that the American forces used rockets that could be sent from twenty miles away and hit the target. Two to five minutes later, a second rocket was sent and entered the hole which the first rocket made. All the old weapons in the Muslim countries had little value compared to the new technologically advanced weapons.
Since the war between Khomeini and Saddam Hussein and Desert Storm, a run started in the Muslim countries to buy the most sophisticated weapons available. They tried to acquire atomic weapons, bacteriologic weapons and different chemical weapons such as gas.
Muslim states today are building up a stockpile of modern weapons greater than that of all Europe and many other countries. For example, Saudi Arabia bought twelve Sidewinder rockets from China with nuclear warheads for twelve billion dollars. Since that time, the Muslims in China have been given the right to establish themselves, to build mosques and to build Qur’anic Schools. The establishment of Islam is behind this run for modern weapons. Syria has atomic weapons from Russia and Gadhaffi tried to build the atomic bomb as Pakistan is trying to do so. Today we have a materialistic run for the most sophisticated weapons. This became a nightmare, especially after the Soviet Union broke apart. Why? Six new Muslim countries appeared: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. Half of all Russian factories producing atomic and bacteriologic weapons were located in Kazakhstan. Therefore, the Muslim states started to buy atomic bombs as quickly as possible. At least two atomic bombs have been sold and nobody knows who owns them. When the United States interfered and ordered a stop to the purchase and development of atomic bombs, the Muslim countries started to hire scientifically trained people from these states. They took salaries ten times or one hundred times higher than their former wage so they could start to build atomic weapons in the Muslim countries. The latest development is that they have smuggled atomic material in order to build bombs from these former Russian states. As a result, today in the Muslim countries there is a run for the most sophisticated modern weapons. This run for weapons is one of the most terrible things we see when we speak about Islamic countries.
Israel is also involved in the development of sophisticated weapons. They have started from the very beginning in the Sinai Desert at an atomic factory. In the English newspapers about weaponry it is reported that Israel has at least two hundred atomic bombs and has developed the neutron bomb and is producing other weapons. One third of their weaponry is sold abroad in order to profit financially. Israel is building up a force that equals the combination of all Muslim countries in their development. It is no longer religion only, it is no longer fundamentalism or socialism only, but it is building up the power of countries and their armies whatever the cost.
In Israel the whole socialist system has collapsed. In Israel today there are twenty thousand millionaires, one half percent of the population owns ninety-five percent of the capital of the whole country. Within fifty years the Zionistic ideal has collapsed. What had been socialism, that all should be equal, what had been communism in a Biblical Old Testament sense, is only an idea now. Today you have a pure capitalism without any socialistic roots. As a result, Israel is producing heavy weapons and the Muslim countries are also producing heavy weapons. The next war will not be a simple war like the Six Days War or like Yom Kippur War or Dessert Storm. The next war is something that everybody fears because all kinds of weapons are ready on both sides.
This leads us now to the fourth development. The majority of the nations’ leaders in politics and religion say we have to find a solution; we have to make peace – we cannot risk a new war. They say that it would destroy all our countries. Therefore, they say, "let us unite, whatever the cost; let us make peace, whatever the cost." So, we have a syncretistic movement starting in and around Israel.
There have been meetings in Beirut of all the church leaders: the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church, Orthodox Churches and of the Muslims from the Sunnites, the Shiites and the Druses. They said, "we have to make peace whatever the cost, the state of Palestine must be created and we all believe in one God." So, the idea of a monotheism that does not exist is now used. They say we all believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The idea that we are all believers in the same God is now introduced. The Freemasons heavily sponsor this idea. Leaders of the Freemasons are found today in the Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Churches and with the Sunnites and the Shiites and even in Israel. You may not be aware that Rabin was a leading Freemason and that the Freemasons claim that peace must be made even if the different religions have to level their doctrine.
In Europe there are quite a lot of leaders of the different churches who say, let us put the stumbling blocks of our religion behind us so that we can unite with others. We have to find a common denominator between the religions in order that peace in the world will be granted. They say, we will have no peace in the world without peace between the religions. This is one of the big movements found today. Politically they say Israel has to give land in order to get peace. This movement is moving ahead.
Even Pope John Paul II made a plan for the year 2000, to build a Cathedral or place of worship at the foot of Mount Sinai, where all religions can bow down and worship the one God together. If you study the development of the Catholic Church, you will see that in the Second Vatican Council, they opened themselves up to the different religions by saying, whatever is found in the different religions not contradicting the Catholic faith should be accepted by the Christians because the Christians alone do not have the truth. And in Canberra the Protestant World Council of Churches adopted it and added that they should especially open themselves to the influence of Islam because Islam has a sound faith and believes in the real God.
So today in politics and in churches there is a movement that is trying to unite the religions, trying to bring them closer together. This is found in Islam and in Israel, in liberal Christian areas as in the Druses and in other religions.
At the moment in Israel, the fundamentalists have won the majority. A small majority Aulisa Nethanjahu could gain power. The Muslims are now uniting against fundamentalist Israel because the mood which we have seen in Rabin and in Perez about making peace for giving land is at the moment stopped and so the liberal Muslims see that their syncretistic movement is wavering. Therefore they are now starting to build up an opposing power and at the moment war is very close and some of them have already said that they will fight against Israel.
To summarize, since the creation of the state of Israel, there has been an Islamic socialism, an Islamic fundamentalism, an Islamic materialism (looking for the most modern weapons) and finally, a syncretism which tries to unite all into one world religion.