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The flu, cellphone cancer, and radical Islam

A nurse prepares a flu vaccine shot at a hospital in Budapest in a file photo. (Credit: Reuters/Karoly Arvai)There's good news and frightening news in today's headlines. Let's start with the good. First, a universal flu vaccine may be on the way. Researchers in Britain and Switzerland have identified an antibody which neutralizes both main groups of influenza A viruses. Since the flu kills 36,000 people every year in the United States, this is significant progress.

Second, mobile phone use apparently doesn't raise the risk of cancer in children and teenagers. Researchers in Switzerland and Scandanavia have determined that regular cellphone users are no more likely to be diagnosed with brain tumors than nonusers. Since my sons are never without their cellphones and can text faster than I can talk, this is good news.

Now to the frightening news. By now you may have heard about the Muslim American Army private who was arrested yesterday near Fort Hood. This is the nation's largest military installation and scene of the 2009 shooting tragedy which left 13 people dead. Authorities in Killeen, Texas have now averted another such attack.

Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo refused to deploy to Afghanistan and later went AWOL. After he bought several items from a local gun shop, a suspicious dealer alerted police. They arrested Abdo and found in his hotel room and backpack enough materials to make two bombs. Abdo then told investigators that he wanted to attack fellow soldiers at the military base.

If only technology could change radical Islam. Militant Muslims are convinced that the West has been attacking Islam since the Crusades and especially by supporting Israel. Since the Qur'an requires Muslims to defend Islam, they think they are defending their faith by attacking us. Because we live in a democracy where citizens elect our leaders and support our military, they view us as complicit in this attack and consider us their enemy.

Surveys indicate that only seven percent of the Muslim world agrees with these convictions, but out of a global Islamic population of 1.6 billion, that's 112 million people who believe that killing Americans is required by their faith. As we saw in Fort Hood yesterday, it only takes one to threaten many.

What difference does faith make in this conflict? I once heard Rick Warren say, "Stop asking God to bless what you're doing, and ask him to help you do what he is blessing." He is blessing today a global spiritual awakening in the Islamic world, as more Muslims than ever before are making Jesus their Lord. And he is blessing those who pray for this movement, who support Muslim background believers, and who pray for this awakening to come to their church and nation.

As Moses was leading two million Hebrews into their future, the Lord promised him, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest" (Exodus 33:14). Today he makes the same promise to you.

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