Former Muslim Says Islam is Not a Peaceful Religion

Former Muslim Ergun Caner appears on The 700 Club to discuss Islam and give us an inside look at Muslim beliefs


Ergun is the oldest son of a Muslim mwazien. The mwazien is similar to a preacher. In 1982 when he was 16 years old, he attended a revival service in Columbus, Ohio, at the invitation of a high school friend and accepted Christ. Ergun started attending church on Monday, accepted Christ on a Thursday -- and had his first piece of ham at a Youth Afterglow activity days later.

When Ergun attended the mosque the next day, his youth group of Shiite Muslims "beat the tar out of me," he says. Ergun's parents were separated at the time (prior to a divorce), and when his father found out about his salvation, he confronted Ergun. When Ergun refused to repudiate his faith in Christ, his father disowned him -- by facing Mecca and praying a prayer of abandonment because it was embarrassing that his oldest son would accept Christ. Sadly this effectively ended their relationship. Ergun didn't see his father for 17 years, until three days before his dad's death in 1999.

Ergun's Swedish mother met and married a Turkish man . They relocated to the U.S .where the younger brothers were born. Ergun says he was called to preach one year after salvation (he began college at 16), becoming a pastor at age 17 to a small country church in Manchester, Kentucky.

He says it was a mystery to him that God would call him because at the time, Ergun didn't speak English very well and didn't fully understand the Scriptures. He felt that he was all alone because neither his mother, nor his grandmother, were Christians. But he gladly accepted the call, and led his brothers to Christ the same week of his salvation.

Islam Is Not A Peaceful Religion

As the son of a mwazein, Ergun had to learn the hadith (the sayings and traditions of Muhammed, the Prophet of Islam) in the Qur'an. In these teachings, Ergun says the central thesis of Islam does in fact have an essential tenet of militaristic conquest at its heart. The infidel, or unbeliever, must be converted or conquered. If the Muslim dies in such a struggle or declaration of war (jihad), he is promised immediate translation into the highest level of paradise. Therefore, when pressed most Muslims would say that Mohamed Ata is in heaven according to the Qur'anic teaching.

The Qur'an, supposedly from the mouth of Allah, takes a dim view of the non-believer and a strict view of jihad as a warfare against them. In Surah 2:190, Allah says, "Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you. And slay them wherever you catch them." Physical warfare is an absolute necessity so that Allah is honored and worshipped. Jihad is one of the highest calls of life for a Muslim. "Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and those who strive hard and fight in the cause of Allah with their wealth and lives." Surah 4.95

According to the doctrine of jihad there are three waves of jihad. The first wave is the shock -- which was Sept 11.

The second wave is to show a people that they are vulnerable. It has to be public. "Daniel Pearl was killed on videotape," says Ergun. There is no question that group who killed Pearl is a subgroup of the radical Muslim fundamental group, Mujahdeen.

The third wave is to humiliate your enemy, to "cut the legs out from under them." "Thank God President Bush responded as he did," Ergun says. "If he had not, the second wave would have been much, much worse than the first." The Koran teaches that if your enemy is weak -- conquer him. If he is strong -- respect him. That means they keep going until they meet with resistance.

When asked if he believes Osama bin Laden is still alive, Ergun says yes. "He is considered to be a martyr in their faith. If he were dead, they would be hailing him."

Peace With Allah, Not Us

"I must take this opportunity to side with Pat," says Ergun. "He cannot take these hits (from the media and press) alone." Ergun says the word "Islam" means "peace with Allah" not "peace with us." "We are the infidels and therefore the enemy," says Ergun.

He further explains that when a Christian blows up an abortion clinic, he does that in spite of the teachings of Jesus Christ. "Muslims perform jihad because of the teachings of Muhammed," declares Ergun. "Make no mistake, they are at war with us and these are not just radical Muslims."

Osama bin Laden is a Sunni Muslim, not a Shiite, which is considered the more radical of the two. When bin Laden is on television, he is quoting the Qur'an. "It is difficult to take the Qur'an out of context," says Ergun. Even to the casual reader, jihad is more than just an intellectual exercise of struggle, but rather an engagement in battle and struggle and warfare with death as a conclusion for the Muslim blessing.

Muhammad echoed this conclusion in Hadith 4.73 "Muhammed said, "Know that paradise is under the shades of the sword." For the Muslim apologists who redact the terminology to indicate that fighting is perhaps an intellectual debate must read Surah 2:216, "Fighting is prescribed for you, and you dislike it. But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows and you know not." It is impossible to determine that the text means anything but fighting in the traditional sense of combat.

A Muslim is a Muslim by birth, but many are illiterate. Therefore they must take the word of the imam, equivalent to a pastor, as truth. They cannot question the validity of what the imam says.

With reference to the recent Gallup poll, "they hate us," says Ergun. "And they cannot make the distinction between an American and a Christian because of the way they are brought up culturally. When you say a man is a Turk, it is understood that he is Muslim."

Ergun believes that the United States did not finish the job in the Gulf War. He believes that we will not end the war on terrorism without including Saddam Hussein, who is the major fundraiser for Islam. "If we do not go after him, this will never end," he says. "He will continue the jihad."

Incredible Opportunity

But in the midst of this turmoil, Ergun says this is the most incredible opportunity to witness to Muslims. They are beginning to understand their religion. Many do not want to be part of the violence and are coming to Christ. The difference between reaching them and not reaching them depends on the teaching of grace.

"The single most important thing to do is teach on grace," he says. To Muslims, the intimacy of God is so new. Teach them that they don't have to live in fear of the "scales of Allah," which are seen as actual scales (2 Surah 4). For the Muslims who fear the scales that measure their eternal damnation if weighted heavier for evil than good, this is the only true eternal security they have.

Christians should also know that Allah and God are not the same. "No serious or intellectual Muslim would say that Allah has a Son, that He is a Triune, nor that He is personal," Ergun says. Allah is Creator and Judge. Christ's attributes are so totally different. He is loving, kind, gracious, and forgiving. As a Christian, Ergun is offended when he hears people say that God and Allah are the same. Many think getting to God is like getting to Chicago. You can get there by plane, train or auto. It doesn't matter what path you take, as long as you get there. Ergun calls this the "Oprahization" of American culture.

On October 19, 2001, Ergun spoke before the UN at the Subcommittee on Cultural Affairs. As an expert on Islam and one who speaks Arabic, he is being invited to participate in even more high-level projects on this area. There are only 20 former Muslims who are now preachers in America; there are only eight (and Ergun is one of them) who are professors of theology.