The Arab Spring, Syria, and Islam in the Middle East

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One of the most profound things that has happened in the world since the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 has been the different uprisings across the Middle East which have commonly been called the “Arab Spring.”  The implications of it are so profound we will probably be feeling the effects of it for decades.  But one thing that has been sorely lacking in all of the reporting of the events is any kind of analysis that leads to action.  Both sacred and secular leaders are having a hard time understanding what is happening.  Is it good or is it bad?  No one knows.

The confusion is equally distributed.  Christians don’t seem have an answer for what God is doing in the midst of this any more than the President or any so-called expert.  We should be the people who have heard from God and have understanding in this hour, and so often we don’t.  That’s what made the following post by Floyd McClung so incredibly helpful.  Floyd recently visited Syria and has come back with an extremely helpful report you can read here.  I’m going to repost a section of it that deals with the broader context of Arab Spring.  My hope is that it moves you to pray and hear from God about what you are supposed to do next.  Remember, history belongs to those who pray.

4.    I learned on this trip that the Arab Spring began in Indonesia in 1996, not two years ago in Tunisia. The Arab Spring is bigger and has been going on longer than I realized. It began with the fall of Suharto, the world’s longest serving dictator in the world’s largest Muslim country. It was students demonstrating on the streets of Jakarta in massive numbers that forced his resignation.  The “Arab Spring” continues to break out around the Muslim world. The Arab Spring is a spiritual shaking from God. It has shaken Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Malaysia, Somalia, Lebanon, Jordan, Sudan/South Sudan, Iran, and now Syria. It is as significant as the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

5.    The Arab Spring is a spiritual movement and radical terrorism is political response to a spiritual phenomenon. If we see the Middle East through the grid of politics, of what America or the United Nations should or should not do, we will miss what God is up to. We must not think in terms of “radical terrorists” or “extremists” or the “threat to the West…” Much of the Islamic terrorism in the world today is a false-spiritual response to a massive turning of millions of Muslims to Jesus. It is Satan’s way of distracting us, of filling our hearts with fear, anger, and unbelief. We are living in the time of the greatest harvest ever among Muslims coming to faith in Jesus. Of course, Satan is not happy about that – so he is stirring up anger and hatred in the hearts of extremists to act violently, and thus to cause a polarization, a temptation to people in the West to respond in the same spirit. Dont fall for it! This is a moment in history catalyzed by God to create deep hunger and spiritual crisis in the hearts of people in the Muslim world. It represents a historical turning point in the history of Islam. Respond with prayer, love, and faith, not fear, retaliation or suspicion. See and be impressed with what God is up to, not what the enemy is doing.

6.    To be fully understood, the Syrian refugee crisis must be seen in the greater context of the “Arab Spring” and what is happening all over the Muslim world. Though there is a terrible war in Syria with grave injustices on both sides of the conflict, it is happening because God has seen fit to allow the status quo to be unsettled in the Muslim world. Many Muslims are asking why Muslims are killing Muslims? The crisis in Syria is a severe spiritual blow to Islam that represents a split in the heart of Islam, a division between moderate and radical streams of belief. There is a major spiritual conflict/divide taking place within Islam, and this divide represents a unique moment to share the love of Jesus with Muslims.

Please go and read the rest of the article, because it’s incredibly helpful.  How about you? Has God given you any insight into the Arab Spring? Feel free to share in the comment section.

Photo Credit: Arab Spring – After Firday Prayers in Amman by Charles Roffey

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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

2 responses to “The Arab Spring, Syria, and Islam in the Middle East”

  1. bryanh0911 says :

    Maybe there should be a newsgroup just to report the spiritual perspective on world events. Unless something like that already exists?

  2. Peace And Conflict Resolution says :

    There seems to also be a similar but slower, incremental change occurring in Christianity were Emperial Theology (of “believe or die”) is forming a broader, more tolerant acceptance and integration of “ancient — preChristian — meditation techniques” as a hallmark of spiritual growth.

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