Trapped Behind the Veil of Islam/Program 3
Ed. Note: Unless otherwise indicated, footnoted Qur’an quotes are from the Yusef Ali transition, and Hadith quotes are from Bukhari’s Hadith.
|By: Dr. Ergun Caner, Dr. Emir Caner; ©2013|
|God has called believers in Christ to share the Gospel with all nations including Muslim women. How are Muslim women coming to faith in Christ, and how can we help to reach them with the Gospel? This week, we’ll look at the biblical necessity of sharing Christ with Muslim women, and hear stories from those women heroically coming to faith in Christ despite much persecution.|
Today on the John Ankerberg Show: Approximately 700 million Muslim women live under the teachings of Muhammad and sharia law, which covers everything in a woman’s life from the cradle to the grave. What did Muhammad say is the role of women? Why are Islamic women prohibited from even looking directly into a man’s eyes? Why did Muhammad teach that a woman’s mind is deficient in intelligence, and it takes the evidence of two women to equal the witness of just one man? How have Muhammad’s twelve wives affected how Muslim women are to be treated within marriage today? If a woman doesn’t please her husband or is not obedient to him, did Muhammad say a husband could beat his wife? Further, how easy is it for a Muslim man to divorce his wife and take away her children? Why did Muhammad give women only half the inheritance rights that he gave to men? If a Muslim woman decides to convert to Christianity, why is she to be killed for doing so? How does Jesus Christ teach something completely different than Muhammad by teaching women are equal with men?
To answer these questions, my guests today are two former Sunni Muslims who grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where their father built mosques. When they made their decision to leave Islam and convert to Christianity, their father disowned them. Dr. Emir Caner went on to earn his PhD in history from the University of Texas and is now the President of Truett-McConnell College in Georgia. Dr. Ergun Caner received his Doctor of Theology from the University of South Africa and is Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Arlington Baptist College in Arlington, Texas. We invite you to join us for this special edition of the John Ankerberg Show.
- Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We’re talking with two former Muslims who left Islam, converted to Jesus Christ. And they have gone on in their academic careers, gotten their PhDs, and now Dr. Emir Caner is the President of Truett-McConnell College in northeast Georgia; Dr. Ergun Caner is the Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Arlington Baptist College in Arlington, Texas. They’re both professors, bestselling authors. And we’re talking about this thing of Islam and women. But what we want to start off with, why is it even important for people that are listening today to listen to this topic? How many women are we talking about, and what’s influencing their lives?
- Emir Caner: It’s becoming harder and harder in a politically correct culture to hit this because, you know, we don’t want to discuss religion. We want to talk about spirituality, but not faith. Here’s the simple fact, and it’s numbers: there’s supposedly 1.6 billion Muslims. Simple math will tell you that’s 800 million women. Islam is the most aggressive, I hate using the word “evangelical,” but it’s the most aggressive “converting” religion out there. Biologically, they believe they’re going to surpass us, because they have anywhere from three to four to six children, depending on the region, per family, and we have less than two. They believe that you are born a Muslim; that you must be conquered; or converted. If you’re not a believer, you must be conquered or converted. If you’re born into it, you are born into a system that is simply the most works-driven, flesh-induced religion that has ever been created by man. Either learn to deal with it, become irrelevant, or become conquered.
- Ankerberg: I’d also have to say, we’ve got a lot of folks in Europe that are listening, Britain, Germany, France, Spain, other parts of Europe. Islam is advancing. I’ve seen statistics on the French population, and 60 plus percent of the people in France are now starting to get worried about this thing of Islam. They’re talking about cutting back on immigration. They’re talking about, hey, we’ve got to harden up the rules here, because they’re starting to dominate in our society. And they don’t like it. What is actually happening in Europe?
- Emir Caner: In Europe, or as Muslims call it, Eurabia, you have millions of Muslims coming in to France, Great Britain, Netherlands, Germany, and so forth. And you’re starting to see the secularists respond as best as they can, in an atheistic system, really, of thought. The Swiss have banned minarets. The Dutch have attempted sensitivity training seminars for imams coming in particularly from North Africa that come from the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafi Party or others. France is now looking at not only banning burqas in public, public schools, etc., etc., but banning any form of religious insignia—and so the Star of David or the crucifix for Catholics. They’re basically attempting to be an atheistic nation. And so all of their pluralism is moving out the door, and it’s become freedom from religion, not freedom of religion.
- Ankerberg: What about in England?
- Ergun Caner: Well, in England they’ve not only taken over vast portions, you know, of London, but one of the more interesting things that we see is that when Muslims immigrate, they don’t mix. Our people don’t come in and become part of the fabric. You know, people say America is multi-cultural; it’s not. I believe America has a culture, but we’re multi-racial. But the Muslims don’t come to assimilate. They come and then immediately demand that their culture be recognized within somebody else’s culture. You’re basically just an outpost for them. And in England, that’s seen in triumphalism. They buy churches and turn them into mosques. So much so that it has, it actually affected, you know, you understand England is the birth of human rights, the Magna Charta, 1215. And yet in England they have sharia councils, 85 sharia councils. They’ve got five places of deputation where they actually carry out their sharia law. They don’t want English law; they want Muslim law in England. And, of course, they ultimately want England as a Muslim country.
- Ankerberg: And why have the English permitted that?
- Ergun Caner: Sensitivity, political correctness, fear of looking xenophobic, you know, like they’re fearful of strangers. They want to look open-minded. The problem is, you can’t be open-minded on the one hand and believe in truth on the other. At some point open-mindedness has to bow before the issue of right and wrong, black and white, truth and lie. And, sadly, they’ve been quiet for too long.
- Ankerberg: How about Islam here in America? Is it spreading here?
- Emir Caner: Well, it is. Of course, depending on the numbers you believe, the Council on American Islamic Relations wants to say there are seven million plus Muslims in America. The true numbers holds at somewhere around 2.7-3.5 million. Those numbers, ironically, say that less than half of them go to the mosque on a regular basis and worship. However, of the mosques that are being built, 1,200-2,000, depending on the numbers there, 80% of them being built by literalists, by Wahhabis, by Wahhabi money, where they spend literally tens of billions of dollars across the world each year. Because when you set up a mosque, you also set up an educational unit; you set up the private high schools; and you train the younger minds. And so the older a Muslim is, more likely the more moderate they are; the younger they are, more likely the more literal, purist and militant they’ll be.
- Ankerberg: Alright, so we have Islam spreading across the world right now, and we’ve got sharia law that is spreading, and we’ve got women in these societies that are coming under the rules of sharia. And that’s what we’re talking about. And I want to diverge a little bit in terms of women here, and I want to talk about how women have to follow the Five Pillars of Islam. For people that don’t even know what the Five Pillars of Islam are, you need to do these to have a chance of getting into Paradise in Islamic thought, okay. What are the Five Pillars?
- Ergun Caner: The Five Pillars of Islam begin with the thing called the Shahadah, or the Creed. It must be stated and “believed,” out loud: that there’s only one god whose name is Allah and Muhammad is his final prophet, or the final seal of the prophets, or the last prophet. The Shahadah is their confession. After the confession, however, to maintain your “salvation,” or conversion, you have almsgiving, one fortieth of your income, 2.5 percent; praying five times a day; fasting during Ramadan; and the final pillar, which is hajj, making the pilgrimage to where Muhammad, in Mecca, in the Ka’aba, which was supposedly built by Abraham and Ishmael, the great stone. You have to do all five to make it into Paradise.
- Ankerberg: Now, you gave me some figures before on the hajj, in terms of the people that are actually able to visit Mecca, alright. Tell me what those figures are, and why it’s impossible for all Muslims to make that hajj.
- Emir Caner: Well, Mecca, I don’t think Muhammad ever saw the time where three million people plus want to go to the hajj, to this pilgrimage. But that’s what it is today. There’s a literal quota system, that certain countries get certain numbers to go in. Saudi Arabia, being the great place of two of the three holy sites of Islam, get half of that three million. Then they divvy up among nations. But with 1.6 billion Muslims, how do you give anybody a fair shot at Paradise? Because, unless you’re unhealthy, or unless you’re radically poor, you must go to the hajj. If you even assume that the average Muslim lives to be 70 years old—now, in sub-Saharan Africa it’s 40 or less in many places; in Yemen, it’s in the 50’s—but let’s assume they live to be 70, and no one ever duplicates himself out of that one and a half million; well, you have maybe a 100-110 million Muslims who could go to the hajj, out of 1.6 billion. So, according to their own system of thought, only less than 10% of Muslims can go to Paradise, according to their own theology.
- Ergun Caner: And that’s if they do good works. So they could be great Muslims and still not go to Paradise if they didn’t make the trip.
- Ankerberg: Because the women are under the scales as well. What are the scales?
- Ergun Caner: The scales: surah 23:102 and 103, surah 29, verse 9, it’s the works that you must do. You must do more good than bad, think more good than bad, say more good than bad, be intentioned of more good than bad. At the end of your life you have to have more good on the one side of the scales than bad on the other. You have to be 51% righteous, so to speak, to make it into Paradise. The only people who do not live by those scales are the Shahid, the martyrs. If you die as a martyr for Allah, then you are guaranteed. They are the only ones who have eternal security.
- Ankerberg: How are women in Islamic societies, how are they being dominated by men, according to sharia?
- Emir Caner: Sharia demands their obedience, not only to Allah, but to men. They are ruled by marriage, where a man must rule over them and maybe as many as three other women. The man has the right to beat them, whether that means lightly beating them or not putting a bruise on them. The man has right over the children, so that when a boy is seven and a girl is nine, the man has full rights over the children. The man has right over society; so in Saudi Arabia whether you can drive, go to stores. In northern India, with 150 million Muslims, they’re put in seclusion because of the way they interpret literally the Qur’an. That is, they literally run the lives of the women from birth to death.
- Ankerberg: Okay, for a woman that’s in Islam that is underneath all of that, and somewhere she comes and she says, “I just don’t want to live that way. I don’t want to believe that. I’d like to become a Christian.” What are the consequences for her?
- Ergun Caner: In al-Bukhari’s Hadith, 9:57 it says, Muhammad himself says, “if anybody changes his Islamic religion kill him.” It’s a simple statement. You go before the court of sharia law. It’s carried out within 24 hours of the edict. You’re buried up to your waist in your burial cloth; you’re stoned to death as a consequence, or beheaded as a consequence of your conversion. That’s the outright. Your husband can divorce you; you can be disfigured; he can claim that you have converted, if they find out. And so in many countries there’s almost this underground railroad of, if they convert, you have to get them out quickly, because their lives are at stake, literally, like the martyrs of the early days.
- Ankerberg: So we have, say, 36 nations, so-called, and some others that are dabbling with sharia, 36 nations that are under sharia. Is that penalty taking place right now while we’re doing these programs?
- Emir Caner: It is. You could take the most strict country, such as Saudi Arabia, or you can take those 36 countries, and that’s the blasphemy code. It’s Pakistan in section 295C. Now that North Africa has got the Islamic renaissance, in North Africa these countries that were imprisoning people for apostasy, now are considering putting them to death. And so this rise of seventh century Islam is on the cusp, just beginning, and we are watching Bukhari’s Hadith play out, volume 9 and number 57. We are watching in front of our eyes when surah 3, verse 85 says, “If you accept another religion it will never be accepted of you.” We are literally watching women who say, “Well, I don’t want to live underneath it.” But you don’t have a vote. Sharia is not about democracy. Sharia is about obedience
- Ankerberg: We’re going to take a break. When we come back, I want you to tell us some stories about women living in these 36 countries that, in spite of the consequences, have decided to put their life into the hands of Jesus Christ. They’ve trusted Him as their Lord and Savior, and I want you to tell us some of the stories. So stick with us. We’ll be right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking with two former Muslims, Dr. Emir Caner, Dr. Ergun Caner, that have become Christians, gone on to get their PhDs, and are now leading great schools here in our country, and Christian universities. And what I want to ask you right now is, you are in touch with people in the Middle East, people in Muslim countries. And you know of women that have made the hard decision to follow Jesus Christ, knowing that they could be killed if that decision becomes public. I want you to tell some of those stories. First of all, why have Muslim women made that decision?
- Emir Caner: I’ve had the privilege of seeing Muslim women come to Christ from North Africa, from the Middle East, in America. And it’s the greatest honor because you can see someone literally, in front of your eyes, set free. And they have done it because they realized God is their heavenly Father. They realize that John 3:16, “God so loved the world,” them, each and every Muslim in this world at 1.6 billion,” that He gave His only begotten Son.” And I’ve watched them; I’ve watched them sacrifice; I’ve watched some of them lose the relationship with their parents. I’ve seen others go into re-education camps across North Africa. But they do it recognizing Philippians 3:10, that they know “the power of His resurrection,” there’s the joy, “the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death.” And the great joy in life is living a life and knowing that a faith that’s worth living for is a faith that’s worth dying for. And these women are my heroes. They’re the ones without the voice; and yet I get, in some limited capacity, the privilege to stand up for them, speak for them, and to thank God for them.
- Ankerberg: You fellows, you were once upon a time Muslims, and you were brought to this country. Your father built mosques here. And you made the decision to believe in Christ and to follow Him, and it cost you your family. Talk about that for a moment.
- Ergun Caner: I’m the oldest of the three sons. I was supposed to follow in my father’s footsteps. We entered high school in Columbus, Ohio, and I ran into the one thing that Satan himself cannot stop, and that was a sold-out Christian. The only thing that can silence the church is us, is the church itself. Because this young boy came to me, beginning when I was a freshman in high school, and kept inviting me to things and, “I’m a worshiper of a different god. I don’t believe your book. I don’t like anything to do with you people. No!” And for most Christians, sadly, that would stop them. But this boy, Jerry Tackett, starts and keeps coming. And over the course of years, years, he, along with other Christians, would reach into my life, invite me, encourage me, lift me up; did not see me as somebody who was an enemy, saw me as somebody for whom Christ died. And the nature of God and the nature of the people that were reaching me, that was the truth claim comparison, is a profound way to look at it. But the heart change, the fact that they wouldn’t hate me back, that caught my breath, caught my attention. And so, when I finally took his challenge and went to a church, they were nothing like the caricature I expected. And I was confronted with truth and confronted with truth in love.
- Ankerberg: Emir, the reason we’ve done this program is because we love all people. We love Muslims. And the more I learn about Muslim people, the more I realize that I love them; I want them to know Jesus; I want them to know God’s love; and they don’t even have an idea about that. If you’re talking to people that are sitting in Muslim countries right now, watching this TV program, what do you want to say to them about Jesus. And knowing their circumstances; you left; your father disowned you guys, but you weren’t killed; if you’d been overseas and you could have been killed, would you have made the same decision? And these folks, they may be facing that. What do you say to them?
- Emir Caner: It’s a hard question. I know I have no reservations, no regrets, and I would make the decision, because God first loved me. God first spoke to me. God first drew me, and then I chose Him. And that experience that is lifelong and into eternity is something that no fear, that no persecution, can replace. That’s the joy of life. And there are so many Muslims out there; and, like Paul, I wish I could be accursed for them. They are my kinsmen in the flesh. They are why Jesus came and died. They are the world for whom Christ came and sacrificed Himself. And they need to recognize that if they place their faith in Christ; if they repent of their sins and trust Him and trust Him fully and alone as God and Savior, that they’ll not only have new life and new freedom and a new mind, but they’ll have peace, peace that passes understanding, peace that any insurmountable experience that they fear, Jesus will not only get them through, He was in the center of it and paid the price for whatever suffering they would have to go through.
- Ankerberg: You know, guys, one of the things I would like the Christian church here in America to do is to reach out to Muslims. But before they can do that, the fact is, they have got to teach their own people what Islam is, so we can make accurate statement, we can know when we’re being told falsehoods in the news or on the Internet. We need to know what the truth is, what these folks are actually living by. And once our people know that, I loved your story, the guy didn’t give up on you for years. Okay, we’re not talking about just a summer or a couple months here, in terms of talking to people. We’re talking about having a relationship with them, showing them Christ and being patient. What’s the average time that it takes to witness to a Muslim and for them to come to Christ?
- Ergun Caner: Some statistics say that it takes seven years for the average Muslim, from when he first hears the gospel, not knows anything about Christians, but actually hears the gospel, to when he responds. You know, whether it’s Islam or any other world religion, all religions are false, because they’re all based on works. And in Hinduism, you’ve got a billion Hindus around the world, 750 million Buddhists, and 1.6 billion Muslims. And they all have something in common in that they’re all doing works. And you work and you climb and you work and you study and you work and you do everything out of fear and out of obedience.
- What does Christianity offer? Truth that’s measurable and objective and coherent; but it also offers a relationship, a Father, an intimacy. This is all about the nature of the God that you’re talking about. If somebody wants to talk to me about God, I want to know who you’re talking about. The nature of the God of the Bible is, you’re not an untouchable like in Hinduism; or in Islam, you’re a woman who goes through her husband; you’re not one of the people who are the castaways or the castoffs. God, the Creator of the world, the ruler of the galaxies, God loves you intimately, wants to be your Father, wants to inhabit you, loves you, truly loves you. That’s Christianity. I’ve heard people in the name of Christianity hold up signs and say God hates these people. Anybody who teaches that a god hates, that’s not the God of the Bible who says He came to justify the ungodly. That was me; that’s what reached me, a love I could not fathom. I couldn’t comprehend it. That’s what started speaking to a guy who expected you guys to hate me back.
- Ankerberg: What else do you want to say to the Christian church?
- Emir Caner: I think the greatest lesson we could learn is to park ourselves where Muslims are. Whether it means in our neighborhoods, usually we flight ourselves outside those neighborhoods. We don’t go to the countries where Muslims are dominating. And that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to count the costs, go to them, serve them, love them, regardless of what they do back. I got to see a young lady come to Christ. She came up and needed marital counseling. She’d married a Marine, an American, and she reverted back to her Islamic faith after getting married. And I spoke to the husband, and he said, “I want to divorce her.” I spoke to him why it was wrong to divorce, because she didn’t want to leave him. He stayed; he loved her and loved her patiently. A church invested in both of them. She came to faith in Christ. She’s gone across the world sharing the gospel, simply because of a husband that would not give up on her, invested his life in her, and even though she had left the very essential doctrine of Jesus Christ, he wouldn’t give up on her. And that persistence is the key to evangelism of the Muslim. We have got to put ourselves in the heartbeat of Islam across the world, in the 10/40 window, sharing the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t worry about the consequences. We have got to become a first century church again, living in the 21st century.
- Ankerberg: Final word?
- Ergun Caner: To be loved like God loved us. It’s easy to love the lovable; it’s hard to love when they don’t love you back. For the Christians, I wish I could just grab a hold of them and leave one message: preach, teach, reach, or shut up and get out of the way; because we have this moment and it may not last long. Persecution’s getting bigger. These types of things, these type of shows, these type of moments, don’t happen all the time. Do it now or lose an opportunity.
- Ankerberg: Folks, these guys are fearless, and you can see the study that goes into what they’re doing. And, Emir and Ergun, I just want to say I appreciate the books that you’ve written. I appreciate the jobs that you’re doing at your schools. And I appreciate you being willing to come and share this information with our audience here and overseas. And, folks, I would pray that you would pray for them in their work. And I thank you for joining us during these programs.