Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis is making global headlines today. The 21-year-old Bangladeshi was arrested Wednesday and charged with trying to detonate a half-ton car bomb outside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
He says he was inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born radical cleric who was killed last September. Nafis’s tenuous connection to al Qaeda worries me this morning. He was not an official part of its organization, but says he conducted his attack on its behalf and wanted to do something that would impress its leaders. In other words, al Qaeda no longer needs to recruit terrorists—it can attack Americans just by its influence and motivate people no one would suspect of terrorism. Nafis is a banker’s son from a middle class neighborhood; his father spent all his savings to send him to America and called him “very gentle and devoted to his studies.”
Americans want the “War on Terror” to end. But consider the scope of the threat. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. According to Gallup, 7 percent have been radicalized, which means that 112 million Muslims believe killing Americans is justified. How are we to stop them from attacking us? TSA screens 1.8 million passengers on our nation’s airlines every day. Our borders with Canada and Mexico are over 7,500 miles long. More than 6 million cargo containers enter U.S. seaports each year, of which only 2 percent are physically inspected by Customs. According to NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Nafis’s plot is the 15th against their city since 9/11. Clearly, we cannot prevent “lone wolf” terrorists inspired by al Qaeda from targeting Americans.
But we can remain vigilant in defending ourselves. We can encourage economic progress in the Muslim world to counter the attraction of radicalism among the poor. And Christians can pray for spiritual awakening in the Muslim world. More Muslims have come to Christ in the last 15 years than in the previous 15 centuries, many after seeing visions and dreams of our Lord.
If you would like to join believers who are praying for Muslims to meet Jesus, I recommend that you visit www.30-days.net. And I invite you to join me in praying every day for 100 million Muslims to come to Christ this year.
Jihadists like Quazi Nafis show us that self-sufficiency is naïve. One way God would redeem the threat we face is by reminding us that our security rests ultimately with him. King David proclaimed that “the Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9). Then he added this assurance: “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you” (v. 10).
Have you made your Father the King of your fears and your future today?