Coptic Christians are anxiously watching a theological and political battle between Muslim parties expected to win 60% of parliament seats. The struggle will define an emerging political Islam.
Fears and worries murmur like prayers beneath the hammered crosses of the Church of the Virgin Mary.
“The whole country will collapse,” says Shenouda Nasri.
“I’m trying to get my family out,” says Samir Ramsis.
“This is the Islamists’ time,” says George Saied.
A caretaker sweeps the stones, a woman slips into a pew. But these days Egypt’s minority Coptic Christians are finding little serenity. Islamist political candidates, including puritanical Salafis, are dominating parliamentary elections. Sectarianism is intensifying and the patriotic veneer that unified Egyptians in overthrowing longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak is threatened by ultraconservative Muslim clerics whose divisive voices had been suppressed by the state for decades.
“Our goal is to achieve an Islamic caliphate with Islamic sharia rules,” Mohamed Zoghbi, a hard-line Salafi preacher, said this year on TV. “If Egypt becomes a caliphate, then the Middle East and Arab countries will follow our path. All Muslim youth should strive and die to build this caliphate even over their own bodies.”
Copts are now anxiously watching a theological and political battle sharpen between Muslim parties that are expected to win at least 60% of parliamentary seats after the final round of elections in January. The struggle between the Salafis and the more moderate and popular Muslim Brotherhood will define an emerging political Islam and how deeply religion will be ingrained in public life.
That unresolved question is one of the most contentious in Islam. It has been energized as uprisings across the region have upended despots, leaving fertile ground for untested political voices that would have been unimaginable just months ago. It is a seminal moment for an Arab world that appears, at least for now, determined to reinvent failed secular governments through what clerics regard as the purifying prism of Islam.
“The Islamists have been unleashed,” says Nasri, a pharmacist hoping to follow the lead of tens of thousands of Copts who have left Egypt this year. “You’re talking about no rights for women. No rights for Coptic Christians. They’ll make us more of a minority. It’ll be like living centuries ago.”
Below, and article I have written for you to understand the difference between the Kingdom of Allah, the Caliphate, or Khilafa , and the Kingdom of God.
Khilafa or Kingdom?
Islam presents one of the greatest challenges to the Christian church in Britain today. Not only that, but the rising tide of Muslim influence in social, economic and demographic terms, threatens soon to engulf British society itself.
The government is morally, politically and spiritually powerless to stop the Islamisation of Britain. Publicly, politicians seem intent on appeasing Islam. Privately, they are wringing their hands in despair. The failed policies of immigration, multiculturalism and political correctness, together with an apparent abhorrence of the traditional Christian values our nation was built on, have opened the door to an invasion of a radical ideology intent on turning Britain into a fully-blown Islamic state, a khilafa. Just as the last century saw the death of the British Empire, some senior politicians believe we are witnessing the death of the British nation in this one.
Only the church, the Bible-believing community, can turn back the tide. But for this to happen Christians must stand up, speak out and become the bold disciples of Christ we have been called to be. Kensington Temple is taking this challenge seriously, and the cell vision is at the heart of our strategy.
Without such a purpose-driven approach, of active Christians propagating their Christian faith, there will be nothing to stop the Islamic take-over. Make no mistake about it – that is their agenda. It may already be too late. Now is not the time to play around with spiritual things – we are at war.
But what kind of war? Is it the war of the jihadists who resort to violence and bloodshed in the name of their religion? Or is it the spiritual warfare that the Apostle Paul refers to in Ephesians 6:12?
- For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
The battle is clearly spiritual because the kingdom we belong to is also spiritual. Jesus made the nature of his kingdom absolutely clear when he said to Pilate while under arrest to the Romans:
- “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” John 18:36
Jesus began his ministry with the bold statement:
- “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15
He announced that fact after hundreds of years of preparation by the prophets. God had finally come to fulfil the promise of the kingdom. But it was some time before his disciples began to understand the true nature of the kingdom Jesus came to bring. They were expecting an earthly, geographical kingdom centred on the nation of Israel. They were anxious to throw off the yoke of Rome and to go back to the days of King David and enjoy the theocratic rule of God in which the laws of Moses were the laws of the land. But Jesus did not set about establishing that sort of kingdom. And his disciples were confused.
Jesus revealed the true rule of God, and never sought to establish an earthly political kingdom.
Even John the Baptist became troubled when he was imprisoned, thinking to himself, “What has happened? The Messiah has come, but why am I in prison?” Jesus was doing some preaching, but where was the political power that Israel expected? Where was the military action required to throw off the yoke of Rome? So John began to have doubts along those lines, and sent a message to Jesus asking, “Are you really the Messiah, or do we have to wait for someone else?” It appears that John the Baptist had a wrong understanding of the kingdom of God.
But in Britain today, the greatest example of this wrong idea of the kingdom of God does not come from false Jewish Messianic ideals. It comes from the Islamic misunderstanding of the kingdom, the khilafa. We need to see the difference between the genuine kingdom of God and its counterfeit. How can Islam claim to represent the kingdom of God, when it rejects Jesus Christ as the son of God, Saviour and only true God and King? How can they claim to represent God when the Bible makes it clear that God has set his Son on the throne of the kingdom?
We totally reject the charge of Islamophobia – which is often just a word used to put off people from being critical of Islam while Muslims remain free to criticise anyone they choose.
I believe we in Britain are being faced with a prophetic choice – either we submit to the kingdom of God, or we will have to surrender to the rules of Sharia, which ultimately means the Islamic khilafa. We need to be aware that Britain is heading towards becoming a full-blown Muslim nation. When you take into account immigration, birth rates and conversions to Islam it is only a matter of time, if the current trends continue, before Britain will be ug nder the dominant influence of Islam. It is already taking place – some say it is already too late.
Recent press reports bear this out. The Daily Mail on 5th May asked the question, will one day Britain be Muslim? The articles referred to disproportionate birth rates, welfarism, political correctness and the lack of will to fight Islamic extremism to show that this question about Britain’s future is a real one. Senior political figures are privately saying that Islam has so infiltrated our nation that, within a few decades, we will be an Islamic nation, and that they are powerless to stop it. They are turning to the church and asking what can we do. The answer is that we can do something. We can pray and we can act. But we must do it now.
The kingdom of God will prevail, thank God! And that kingdom is infinitely preferable to any human, man made substitute – whether political or religious. These statements are not aimed against any individual, people or race. The issue is not about any particular race or individuals who may be caught up in false religion. We love Muslims and, as can be seen by our multiracial congregation, we are not racists. We simply reserve the right to preach the gospel and to witness to Christ without fear or favour. We totally reject the charge of Islamophobia – which is often just a word used to put off people from being critical of Islam while Muslims remain free to criticise anyone they choose.
In contrast to the true kingdom of God, the Isalmic khilafa is identified as a visible, political and geographical state.
Radical Muslims have an agenda to introduce the khilafa in Britain. And this agenda is Europe-wide. Any territory that has once belonged to Islam must be regained and returned to Islam and, as parts of Europe have in the past come under the influence and rulership of Islam, this determines the Islamist agenda for Europe as well. In fact, the ultimate goal is for world domination for the sake of Islam.
But the kingdom of Christ is not identified as a visible kingdom. It is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It extends through the preaching of the gospel, not through bombs and bullets. It has everything to do with life in the Spirit and nothing with following earthly kings or rulers, though the Bible teaches that earthly rulers are to be respected. We need to receive the kingdom afresh and to surrender our life daily to the Spirit of God. That is the nature of the kingdom of God that we have.
In contrast, the Islamic khilafa merges the sacred with the secular – there is no distinction. “Our religion is for all of life”, Muslims proudly assert. The Christian faith is also for all of life, but our faith cannot be propagated through force, coercion or political might. We call people to repent and to surrender to Christ, whereas Islamists wish to impose and establish by political power and force it upon the willing and unwilling alike.
Jesus taught us to function as salt and light in society, which means that our faith affects everything that we do, but not by way of mandatory rules and regulations.
We want to be led by Jesus everyday of our lives but we cannot impose this upon the unwilling. Each person must surrender their heart to Jesus of their own free choice.
Acting as salt and light is about influencing our society by positively engaging with it. We are not of the world, but we are in the world. We must be active and influence such vital areas such as politics and the media. We must speak prophetically to the State. We must call our political leaders to account and press them to uphold righteous laws and to take moral responsibility. But there is no way that we can establish the rule of God over Britain, or to compel people to surrender to the kingdom of God. Our job, above all, is to preach and to prophesy, to witness and influence others in order to bring them to Christ.
But, this cuts both ways – and Christian teaching is very clear on this point. We cannot dictate to the State, but neither can the State dictate to us. Our present Government, for ten years, has increasingly been doing that. We have had to fight them outside the Houses of Parliament; we have had to lobby; we have had to do everything we can to stop the Government from breaking into territory that belongs to the church of Jesus Christ. We succeeded in the incitement to religious hatred matter which would have meant an end to freedom of speech in Britain. We seem to have failed in other matters, but we must continue to stand against any influence upon the church that tells us what we must believe and how we may practice our faith – even if this puts us at odds with political correctness!
If the Bible is true, then Islam is a false religion.
The Qur’an denies every cardinal and distinctive Christian truth from the Trinity to the divinity of Christ, from the rule of God to the atonement. By any account, the Islam of the Qur’an is an oppressive religion. Moderate Muslims, and there are many of them, simply cannot withstand the strength and vocal force of the radicals who insist on every verse in the Qura’n being applied today, including the teaching on violent jihad, the sword and bloodshed. But greater blood has been shed for us – the blood of Jesus shed for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. Truth is more powerful than error: there is only one God and Jesus Christ is his Son. That is the truth which we must stand up and proclaim and which will ultimately prevail.