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The Alex McFarland Show-92 What Does Islamization in Our World Look Like Today? with guest Dexter Van Zile

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The Truth Network Radio
January 10, 2024 7:00 pm

The Alex McFarland Show-92 What Does Islamization in Our World Look Like Today? with guest Dexter Van Zile

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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January 10, 2024 7:00 pm

Is Islam compatible with America’s Judeo representative public and our constitutional freedoms? On this week's episode of the Alex McFarland Show, guest Dexter Van Zile is joining host Alex McFarland.  Dexter is the editor of the website, the Middle East Forum and has worked in journalism for many years. He is an expert on Christianity, the middle east and anti-semitism. Together they discuss what is going on in the world today in Israel and the United States regarding Islamization.

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Can Islam assimilate with the West?

Is Islam compatible with America's Judeo-Christian Representative Republic and our constitutional freedoms? Hi, Alex McFarland here. We have a very, I think, significant show today, because we're going to talk about Islam and Islamism. And to help us drill down deeply and understand this accurately and thoroughly, I'm very privileged to have a guest. First time we've conversed on air, but Dexter Van Zyl, he is the managing editor of a website Focus on Western Islamism. He's part of the Middle East Forum, and he has worked in journalism for a lot of years. He's been a contributor to the Jerusalem Post, the Boston Globe, and many other sources.

And he is an expert on Christianity, the Middle East, the rise of Islam in the West, and anti-Israel sentiment, anti-Semitism. So we're very privileged to have him on the program today. And Mr. Van Zyl, you came on short notice, and I appreciate that. Thank you, sir, for your time. Oh, thank you so much.

It's wonderful to be here. Well, before we get into the Middle East, Islamization, or at least attempted Islamization of the West, give us a little bit of your background. How did you get into journalism, and specifically this type of journalism? Well, a long time ago, I was covering the commercial fishing industry. I was a freelance journalist, and I was also the chairman of the board of deacons of the local church that I belonged to.

I used to be a congregationalist, and I have ancestors galore who came over on the Mayflower, and so I was one of those rock-ribbed congregationalists. But the church that I grew up in was always criticizing Israel in the United States, but they didn't say anything about the mistreatment of Christians in Muslim-majority environments. So I wrote an article. It was critical of the United Church of Christ's failure to speak about the violence against Christians, unanimous by the jihadist regime in Sudan. And I ended up falling into the attention of some folks in the pro-Israel community that said, hey, can you help us fight against divestment in liberal Protestant churches?

And I said, sure. And I ended up working for an organization called the David Project Center for Jewish Leadership, even though I was a Protestant. And eventually I ended up working for another organization called the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis. And I joked, eventually I converted to Catholicism, but I joked with people, and I said, here I am a former liberal Protestant who's converted to Catholicism, who speaks to evangelicals about the mistreatment of orthodox Christians in the Middle East under Muslim rule. And the evangelical community were the people that I could always go to to talk to about these things and would advocate on behalf of Christians in the Middle East in Muslim-majority environments. And my attitudes towards evangelicals changed substantially over the years, because in the liberal Protestant world I was encouraged to kind of view evangelicals with contempt, fear, and suspicion, like fear and loathing. And these people, essentially they did not want war, they did not want a cataclysm like we had been taught.

And essentially what they wanted was just every, you know, they wanted to advocate for their faith, but they didn't really want, you know, cataclysm. And interestingly enough, during my time at camera, I discovered that the evangelical community were some of the people who actually played the biggest role in the passage of the Abraham Accords, which promoted peace between Israel and Israel. And the United Arab Emirates, and hopefully the rest of the Muslim countries in the region as well. And then what happened was, is that during the course of my work, I started to recognize that the methods used to delegitimize Israel in the West were being used by a coalition of Islamists and far-leftists, who were essentially, they were using these tactics to undermine the United States and the Western civilization in general. And so I shifted over to the Middle East. And became editor of Focus on Western Islamism, and our website is islamism.news. And essentially I have worked a while, past year and a half, almost two years, to essentially educate people about the attempts of Islamist activists in Europe and North America to essentially change the method of, you know, to undermine essentially the mores and the principles that we've used in the past. To govern ourselves, to assail the principles of free speech, to demonize Jews. And these Islamist organizations, many of which have their roots in the Muslim Brotherhood, essentially are trying to use the rights of Western democracies to advance a totalitarian agenda rooted in a fundamentalist reading of the Muslim faith. And I well remember, this was probably 20 years ago, but my dad, one of the ways that he became aware of this battle of world views that we're in, was that in the church that my parents went to, this Presbyterian Church USA, which since the church has pulled out of that hyper-liberal denomination, but they were having speakers on Sunday morning to encourage divestment of any, you know, stocks or investments that benefited Jewish businesses, or Israel specifically.

My dad called me up, because I was in graduate school, but my dad was like, what is this there? The Sunday morning messages are speakers from the PCUSA, very anti-Semitic, demonizing Israel, saying pull your money out, let's defund the nation of Israel. And the reason I bring that up, Dexter, is people need to know that this ideological war and the arm-twisting to try to benefit Palestinians and undercut Jews and Israel, I mean, this is a very real thing, and it's been going on for a while, hasn't it? And I remember one of the Western activists met in Tehran and essentially worked on essentially setting the agenda for the Durban Human Rights Conference of the United Nations that took place in 2001, late August and early September of 2001. And essentially, that was where they designated Israel an apartheid state and called for divestment against it, and essentially made a whole bunch of crazy allegations against them. The United States withdrew from that conference, but essentially, once they made that designation, that was the starting gun for anti-Israel activism.

It had already been going on in Europe, but it was really, they were going to push for it in the United States. But 9-11 basically slowed down the advance of that, and eventually the Presbyterian Church USA was the first to embrace that campaign. And what was happening was that there was a group of Palestinian Christians from the West Bank that were living under Muslim rule that essentially advocated for an Islamist agenda. That's what they were doing, and they did it under the guise of Christian peacemaking. And the interesting thing now is that we see people on the left, outside of the religious community, who advocate for an Islamist agenda in the name of, like, Third World liberation, in the name of liberationism. And this is a very troubling thing. And the Presbyterian Church USA was the first, then, you know, slowly but surely, other churches got involved.

The United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church USA, and to a lesser extent, the Methodists and the Lutherans. But essentially, what happened was that the Protestant establishment essentially turned against Israel, largely at the advice and pressuring of Palestinian Christians who were living... You know, the elites were doing very well, but the Christians living in a Muslim-majority environment in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, they are what we would call Demis, which is derived from the word demo. Well, forgive me. Hold that thought. We've got to take a brief break, and folks, stay tuned. We're going to continue our conversation with Dexter Van Zyl, the focus on Western Islamism. We've got to take a brief break. We'll be back after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.

Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. In recent years, our nation has suffered greatly, and we seem to be on a rapid moral decline. We've rejected God, morality, and we've almost completely lost our sense of patriotism. It's no wonder that many are asking the question, is this the end of America? Hi, Alex McFarland here, and I want to make you aware of my book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. You know, our nation has seen politicians that are corrupted by greed, and they've got a vested interest in power, and many of our elected officials seem to care little about the country that they've been appointed to serve. Read my book, The Assault on America, We Can Stand Up for Our Great Nation and Defend America Before It's Too Late.

It's available everywhere. You can learn more on my own website, which is alexmcfarland.com. Read the book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program.

Alex McFarland here. You know, we're going to resume our conversation with Dexter Van Zyl, talking about Islam. But really, the world is in a battle of viewpoints these days, and no group is more desperately caught in the crosshairs of the battle of worldview than young people. I do want to make everyone aware, we've got seven camps in the summer of 24. Biblical worldview camps. We talk about God and country. And like so many youth ministries, yes, we share the gospel. We talk to young people about Christ and apologetics and the evidence for the Bible. But we talk about America.

And folks, I want to share two things here before we resume our conversation with our guest. If you go to the website equipretreat.org, equipretreat.org, you'll see the page for our summer camps. We're going to be in Montana, New Jersey, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, a lot of great places. Last summer, we had over 1200 kids in our summer camps. 300 plus, over 300, accepted Christ and put their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. But I've got videos of these kids chanting, we are the generation who will restore America. Our ministry is different in that we talk about what does it mean to be a constitutional republic.

And we talk to kids, middle school, high schoolers, they eat it up, they're eager for truth, they really are. So two things. Number one, pray. And make people aware of the camps, equipretreat.org.

Very affordable. But the other thing I would say is we have to raise a lot of money because we raised about $50,000. We have never, in 25 years of Christian summer camp, we have never turned away a young person.

Kids come if they can pay the $400, if they can't pay. But we believe that God wants this generation to hear about Christianity, to appreciate and understand and love the United States of America. And so we've got a lot going on, events, publishing, broadcasting.

You can check it all out at my website, alexmcfarland.com. And we thank you for praying, promoting, standing with us as we try to call this generation to truth. Well, one of the things that has concerned me as I've spoken on more than 200 American university campuses is the way that Western liberals, and I would say very naive American liberals, professors, academics, believe that Islam is a religion of peace, that Islam will peacefully coexist with Israel, with America. I disagree, and I don't say that out of any animus or ill will against Muslim people, but as a worldview, Islam, they desire a worldwide caliphate and the enforcement of Sharia. There was an article on theatlantic.com, not a Christian or even conservative website, that basically said the jihadists are the faithful Muslims, and the nominal Muslims that we hear so much about, that is not normative for Islam. Well, to help us to understand it more thoroughly and accurately, Dexter Van Zyl, he's the managing editor of Focus on Western Islamism.

Thank you for holding through that break and staying with us, sir. As an American, as a freedom-loving American, and as one very knowledgeable about Israel and the Middle East, Dexter, how concerned are you that Americans are endlessly told Islam is a religion of peace, not to worry, the Muslim leaders are acting in good faith, and we'll all peacefully coexist as this happy little global village. Does that spin on Islam concerning you? Well, I think one of the things that bothers me the most is the rampant allegation of Islamophobia that is directed at anybody that raises concern about how Islam is practiced in the modern world. I think it's pretty fair to say that Islam is in dire need of reform, and I have a dream that Muslim intellectuals are going to rework how their faith is practiced in the modern world.

I have a dream that someday that Christians and Jews are going to be able to live in safety in Muslim-majority environments without the threat of being oppressed or decimated, and I have a dream that someday that women will be able to live without fear of oppression in Muslim-majority environments the way they often do in places like Iran and in some parts of communities in the West where Islamists dominate the community. The problem is that we're very far away from that, and the thing is that the allegation of Islamophobia directed at anybody that wants to speak honestly and openly about their concerns with the way that Islam is practiced basically silenced the discourse not only between Muslims and non-Muslims, but also on the part of Muslims themselves. And the way we look at it at the Middle East Forum is that radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution, and it's ultimately up to Muslims themselves to basically moderate their faith.

And the thing is that there are conflicting messages or ideas on how people should interpret their scripture. Essentially, the Islamists, they take a very hard line, and they've been able to essentially marginalize the people who want to update their faith. And so this is a very difficult process for non-Muslims to witness. We think that Islamism is an ideology that came about 100 years ago. Islam is a 1400-year-old religion, and there was a long period of time during which Muslims could reinterpret their scriptures, could reinterpret their faith, but that door of interpretation was closed in about the 11th century.

And essentially, ever since then, it's been very difficult to essentially rework or open the terms of debate. And the Islamists, essentially what they do is that they take elements of their religion to justify political agenda. And this came about largely in result in the early 20th century, because Arab and Muslim nations were failing, and they were losing status in the modern world. And there were people like Hassan al-Banna who said that Islam is a solution. And the thing is that there were actually traditions within traditional Islam that had something like separation between church and state. But the thing is that that was largely lost, and clearly those ideas were discarded by Islamists. And right now, I work with some moderate Muslims who are trying to essentially update how their faith is practiced, but they are not the dominant forces, particularly here in the West, because Islamist organizations have set themselves up as the gatekeepers of the Muslim community in the West. And foolishly enough, Western leaders oftentimes help designate Islamist organizations as the go-to people when it comes time to speak to Muslims. There are moderate Muslims out there that want to change how their faith is practiced, but the problem is that the leaders of Western democracies foolishly help to marginalize them by dealing with groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations. I was going to ask you, and I've met some of the staff of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Do you view that as a viable voice in good faith between Islam and the West? How do you feel about that? Absolutely not.

No, I don't. And the thing is that I have talked to people who are very knowledgeable, and I say, look, there are staffers and supporters and activists who work at CAIR that are okay. But if you look at the organization's leader, Nihat Awad, he is a vicious anti-Israel activist who has previously said that he expresses support for Hamas' agenda over that of the PLO. And this was back in 1994 when the PLO was negotiating with Israel. And just recently, after the October 7 massacre, he essentially praised the attack and said that it was a good thing, which prompted the Biden administration to say that we're not going to deal with Hamas anymore, and they condemned the organization pretty brutally. And when I say not deal with it, they removed CAIR from a campaign to fight anti-Semitism in the United States.

And so this is an outrageous organization that has supported anti-Israel activism since its founding in the 1990s, and promotes hostility towards Israel, and also, unfortunately, has a number of people on the far left that will cooperate with its efforts to portray violence against Israel as some sort of act of liberation, when in fact, clearly, Hamas is a genocidal organization. Let's take a brief break. We're going to come back and talk more. Stay tuned, my special guest, Dexter Van Zyl, Islamism in the West.

It impacts all of our futures. Stay tuned. We're back after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Over the last several decades, it's been my joy to travel the world talking with children, teens, adults, people of all ages about the questions they have related to God, the Bible, Christianity, and how to know Jesus personally.

Hi, Alex McFarland. I want to make you aware of my book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity. You know, we interviewed hundreds of children and parents and families to find out the questions that children and people of all ages are longing to find answers for. In the book, we've got practical, biblical, real-life answers that they have about how to be a Christian in this modern world.

My book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask, you can find it wherever you buy books or at resources.afa.net. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show.

We're back on the program. Alex McFarland here, speaking with Dexter Van Zyl. I've got several questions, especially about the nation of Israel, but before we go any farther, Dexter, any books or websites you would like to point people to to learn more? First of all, you should go to islamism.news, which is our website, and also go to meforum.org. And I'm also right now reading a book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who by the way just converted to Christianity. She's written a book called Pray, P-R-E-Y, which talks about the status of women as a result of Muslim immigration into Europe.

And that's a very good book that I think people should read as well. And she is brilliant, by the way. Have you seen some of her... Ayaan Hirsi, and that's spelled folks, H-I-R-S-I and A-L-I.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Have you watched any of her interviews online, Dexter? Yes, I've seen her.

She's brilliant, isn't she? She is a bona fide intellect, brilliant, brilliant academic, author, speaker, and yes, she was an atheist for some years. A proud atheist. Then she became convinced that there must be a God. She became theistic. Then a Christian.

You're right. I think her coming to faith in Christ is quite significant. Yeah, I think one of the interesting things is that we worship a God, both of us. We're both Christians, and I'm going to speak now as a Christian is that, you know, the funny thing is that people make fun of us because we worship a Trinitarian God. And that ultimately there's a element of uncertainty, like what exactly does that mean?

But it's in that uncertainty that allows God to, you know, he can surprise us every once in a while. And I think that's really, I was very surprised when I saw Ayaan Hirsi Ali, when she converted, I almost fell over. And I think that's one of the reasons why we have to be very careful as Christians when we deal with Muslims because, you know, one, we want to help those who are called to reform their faith, but also we just want to be able to live in peace to the extent that we can and align with them to confront Islamists. And that's what Ayaan has done since, pretty much since she moved to Europe and then eventually to the United States.

I knew Christopher Hitchens, and I remember first hearing her name, you know, 15, 16 years ago because she, you know, was kind of part of this thing loosely called the New Atheism, and she was, you know, a colleague of Hitchens and some of the other atheists. But then she became enamored with Islam, and fortunately, you know, part of what led her to step away from support for Islam and then ultimately she became a Christian was just the way women were treated, that women just are not acknowledged to be fully human almost. But in the previous segment, Dexter, you were talking about Islam reforming itself, which I don't really hold out a lot of hope for that because even if it reformed itself extensively, it's still a false religion that doesn't teach about salvation through Jesus. But here's my question, is it naive perhaps to think that Muslims or Islamism would ever acknowledge Israel's right to their land, Israel's right to exist, Israel's right to self-defense? Is it even conceivable to think that they could reform their views towards Jewish people?

I think one of the things that I have kind of concluded over the years is that oftentimes theology follows political practice. And there are Muslims in the Middle East who have basically said, look, if you look at even our scriptures and if you look at our teachings, essentially we have acknowledged, you know, that the land was given to the Jewish people, and that is essentially their effort, their gambit to argue in favor of peace. I think once people start to recognize in the Middle East that Israel isn't going away, essentially they are going to make the intellectual and theological changes necessary to live in peace with Israel and with Jews, because ultimately they're going to decide that that's really the only way that they're going to be able to move forward and have a future for themselves. That's pretty much what happened with the United Arab Emirates. I think that that same process is probably going on in Saudi Arabia, and right now it's largely just taking place on the part of the elite, but I think over the long haul, you know, I think we saw changes in how Christians regarded Jews over the years. Historically there was an awful lot of animus directed at Jews, sadly as a result of the teachings of the Catholic Church and in some parts of the Protestant world, but what happened was that as time passed, essentially they started to come up, they recognized that they had to kind of change their tone and their attitude, because ultimately it was defaming God himself. If we declare that we worship a God who works in history, and yet we have such a bloody history, then that means that we are defaming God, and I think that that same process could in fact happen on the part of Muslims. And do I think it's going to happen overnight?

No, but I think over the long haul it can. What would you like American citizens and Christians in particular to know about the Middle East and really the times in which we live regarding the Middle East? Well, you know, I've been thinking a lot about, I have a dream that someday that Christians and Muslims will look at the Jewish people and the Jewish state and see it as essentially an example to follow, because ultimately, if anybody had a legitimate cause for grievance against the universe itself, it would be the Jewish people because of the oppression that they've endured over the years. But they haven't embraced that grievance, and instead what they've done is that they've tried to essentially build a just state. Israel treats its own citizens, its adversaries, its minorities, and its dissidents better than any other country in the region. Rather than actually look in envy and hostility towards Israel, I would hope that someday that the Middle East would regard Israel as an example to follow, and I think that's really what we have to hope for. And I think that, I think, is the way to go.

And that's kind of one of my dreams. I don't know if I can help bring it about, but I can at least struggle against the growth of Islamism in the United States, because I don't have any place else to go. Yeah. You know, one thing that's always been a puzzlement to me has been that so many American Jewish people vote Democrat. I mean, just like, you know, and I've got a lot of Jewish friends, and I've talked to them.

So here's my question, Dexter. The events of October 7 and following Hamas terrorism, just unspeakable violence on the part of the Hamas terrorists, and then the inexplicable support for terrorists on the part of American liberals. Do you think this will break the stranglehold that the Democrat Party has had on the Jewish vote? I don't know, but I think, first of all, it has had a terrible effect on Jews living in Israel and a clarifying effect. It's reminded a fair number of people in Israel that indeed, yes, Hamas still isn't interested in destroying the Jewish state, and there's not going to be any prospects for peace until it's defeated. And I think that there actually has been a hardening of support for Israel on the part of American Jews, and the number of Jews who say that being Jewish is very important to their lives, and I don't have the numbers right in front of me, has increased substantially over the past few weeks, largely as a result of the October 7 massacre. It's also had a galvanizing effect, to be fair, on some of the Democrats that may have been soft in their support for Israel because of the atrocities that they've seen, and so possibly there is a chance that it's going to remind American Jews for them to think seriously about who's really on their side. One of the reasons why they oftentimes support the Democratic Party is because Democrats generally run urban environments, and most Jews live in cities, and if there's a problem for their safety and security, they have to be able to talk to those leaders. But I think that the October 7 massacre, I witnessed the debate in the Boston City Council as part of my job related to my work as a journalist, and I saw two staunch Democrats basically get up and express very ardent support for Israel, and part of it was that they knew their history because they had grown up in the shadow of World War II.

I think over the long haul, the phenomenon that you're asking about is probably going to happen, but there's also going to be a certain galvanizing support for Israel in the West, even on the part of liberals that we may have been frustrated by in years past. Well, we're out of time today, but Dexter Van Zyl, I appreciate you very much sharing with us, and folks, this is an issue that is not going to go away in our lifetime. I would also recommend the book The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington.

It's been out for about 20 years, but it's a very, very good book on this subject. Any final thoughts? Please give us your website again if you would, Dexter. Okay, if people want to see our work, they can go to islamism.news and also meforum.org. Thank you very much. God bless you, sir, and your work, and we hope to speak again soon. Folks, thanks for listening.

Again, my own website, alexmcfarland.com, our summer youth camps, equipretreat.org. May God bless you, and as Psalm 122 verse 6 says, pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You may also reach us at Alex McFarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404, or by calling 1-877-Yes-God-1.

That's 1-877-YES-GOD-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of The Alex McFarland Show.

Do you have a desire to deepen your faith, better understand Christian apologetics, or to get a biblical perspective on current events? Well, I've tried to make it simple for you to do just that. On my website, alexmcfarland.com, there's a new section called Ask Alex Online. It's simple, it's clean, and you can read my answers to common questions about God, faith, and the Bible. So visit the website alexmcfarland.com and look for the section that says Ask Alex Online.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-16 03:05:03 / 2024-01-16 03:16:57 / 12

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