America's first Muslim fraternity has started on a college campus four miles from my office. Ali Mahmoud, a junior biology and sociology major at the University of Texas, Dallas (UTD), is the founder of Alif Laam Meem. He says, "It started as a joke, almost. The first social Muslim fraternity for undergraduates in the history of America." Now they are hearing from colleges all around the country who are interested in their idea.
Meanwhile, millions of Iranians joined rallies yesterday to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. Marking the occasion, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged that Iran would pursue peaceful atomic research "forever." On Monday, Iran test-fired two new domestically made missiles as a further show of military strength.
As you read these words, Iran is sending warships to the U.S. maritime border, about 14 miles from our coast. The "fleet" is composed of two vessels, a frigate and a supply ship. They pose no military threat and are actually more vulnerable to attack in the open waters of the Atlantic. Their deployment is meant to reassure hardliners in Iran as the regime continues negotiations regarding its nuclear ambitions. However, according to John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the foray does indicate that Iran could use naval vessels in the future to launch ballistic missiles at America.
One more news item: suicide attacks in Syria post an increasing threat to the West, according to a report published this week. Such attacks, staged by al-Qaeda and its rival, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), are now spreading to Lebanon and beyond.
What does it all mean?
First, radical Islam continues to be a global menace. The number of jihadists who would like to perpetrate another 9/11 on American soil is higher than ever. The good news is that Jesus is revealing himself through visions and dreams to Muslims around the world. As our leaders and military remain vigilant, Christians should join them by praying daily for such revelation to Muslim extremists.
Second, the Muslim world constitutes our largest mission field, one that is growing twice as fast as the global population. It is more urgent than ever that Christians share God's love with Muslims abroad and at home. For instance, I am going to begin praying daily for opportunities to engage with Muslims at UTD, and invite you to ask God to open doors for your personal ministry with your Muslim neighbors.
I believe every Christian should have his or her own Acts 1:8 strategy to serve Jesus in Jerusalem (the local community), Judea and Samaria (the larger region) and "the end of the earth." What is yours?
Publication Date: February 12, 2014.