First off, let me mention that I’m very proud of my friend, Daveed. When I first met him, he was a Muslim and well on his way to being a radical one. Since then, by the power of the resurrected Christ, he’s become a Christian. Praise God! This whole process has given him something of a unique perspective on radical Islam, both domestic and international. You can read all about his experience in My Year Inside Radical Islam. A couple of years ago he also authored a book about how America is not winning the war on terrorism called Bin Laden’s Legacy.
Alright, enough pluggin’ his written work. How about Daveed’s recent work on CNN ? Dig this:
As it comes to the content of that discussion, I admit that I know virtually nothing. Even so, one thing stood out to me that seems quite helpful. Daveed distinguished between “radicalization” and the willingness to engage in violence. These two things are most certainly distinct and need to be understood as such.
Let me illustrate how important this distinction is. I would be (and probably should be) viewed as a radical Christian. I think that Jesus Christ has aims to bring this whole world into submission to himself. Christians are called to take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus and to tear down worldly strongholds that war against Christ. I submit that anyone who takes that seriously will be viewed as a radical. Fine and good. Here’s the rub: I do not think that the Bible tells us to take up offensive arms against the infidel. Christ’s weapons for world domination are not swords and guns, not jet airplanes and IEDs. Jesus will take over this world by Word and Sacrament, by worship, preaching and prayer, by the humble obedience of his Church. These are Christian weapons of warfare.
I am a radical, but I’m not violent. If we lose that clear distinction (relative to Christians, Muslims, or anyone else), then we will inevitably undercut our efforts at stopping violence. In fact, in the name of quelling violence, we’ll likely end up perpetrating violence (physical, economic, political, etc.) against radical but non-violent people. This, of course, will generate MORE violent radicalism not less.
It seems to me that Daveed is knowledgeable and wise. Hopefully his voice will be heard, and that more and more.