For the past thirty days, we have been “contending for the captives” of Islam – both Muslim and non-Muslims. We encouraged each of you to “contend with skill and commitment in opposing whatever is not of faith on behalf of those taken by the spear.”
It is primarily through the spear (violence) that Islam has spread, imprisoning hundreds of millions in its path. The website, Political Islam has compiled a rough estimate of the number of deaths of non-Muslims at the hands of jihadists. The total estimate is that approximately 270 million people (120 million Africans, 60 million Christians, 80 million Hindus, and 10 million Buddhists) have lost their lives to jihadists in the past 1400 years of Islam. Those left behind either became “dhimmis” (paying a high tax for not converting to Islam) or they converted to Islam. “Oddly enough there were not enough Jews killed in jihad to significantly affect the totals,” according Political Islam’s report. There were many Jews killed in jihad, however the numbers are in the thousands, not millions. Many Jews that remained in Arabia became second rate citizens as dhimmis without any political power.
We see the same pattern continuing with the terrorist group, the Islamic State (ISIS) that is currently forcing Christians from their homes in Syria and Iraq. Even as most Christians fled from Mosul, around 25 Christian families were trapped in Mosul with sick or elderly family members. Several of these families were taken to sharia courts where they were given the choice to convert to Islam or die. Five families are reported to have decided to convert to Islam.
There are currently 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. That is about 23% of the world’s population, however there are 2.2 billion Christians which is 32% of the world’s population.
Compare the spread of Islam throughout its history with Christianity. Although there have certainly been atrocities committed in the name of Christianity, these events were not condoned or encouraged by Christian teachings.
The book, The Advancing Kingdom gives some incredible statistics that help us see how Christianity has increased over the past 2,000 years. “At AD 100, 1/360th of the world population was Christian. By AD 1000, 1/220th of the world population was Christian. By 1500, the percentage of Christians rose to 1/69th of the world wide population. By 1900, with a world population of slightly over one billion, Christianity had risen to 1/27th of the population. By 1990, the percentage of Christians rose to 1/7th of the world wide population.” And amazingly, today 1/3 of the world population is Christian!
1 Corinthians 13 tells us that “love never fails” and it is through the love God gives us for others that Christianity has spread. Thank you for showing love to the captives of Islam throughout the past thirty days through your prayers. They are powerful and are making a great difference in lives of people around the world.
Ask God to continue to touch your heart and give you His love for the Muslim people in the nations. We are so blessed to live in freedom without fear of harassment and persecution but we need to be aware of the great needs of those who are still captives and continue to contend on their behalf.
We stand together for their victorious deliverance into God’s kingdom!