The BBC has reported that Israeli air force jets have bombed the Islamic University in the Gaza Strip, a significant cultural symbol for Hamas, reports Dan Wooding, founder of ASSIST Ministries.
Warplanes also struck Hamas government offices as air raids aimed at forcing Palestinian militants to halt rocket fire into southern Israel continued.
Palestinian medics say nearly 300 people have been killed in the air raids that began on Saturday.
Israel has threatened to launch a ground assault and is now calling up 6,500 army reservists.
Witnesses in Gaza said they saw six separate air strikes on the Islamic University, hitting a laboratory building, just after midnight.
The university is a centre of support for Hamas – the Islamist militant group which controls the Gaza Strip. Many of its top officials graduated from there.
A BBC journalist in Gaza said the university authorities had evacuated the campus a few days ago as they had been expecting a strike.
Some years ago, I accompanied Brother Andrew, the Dutch-born best-selling author of God’s Smuggler, into Gaza City and it was then that he revealed that he lectured on “Biblical Christianity” at the Islamic University there.
“I was invited to teach on ‘Biblical Christianity’ to the students there,” he said. “When all they were assembled, they were told that I would speak to them about the Bible and some of them tried to leave the lecture hall, but the Hamas leaders blocked their way and they had to sit through my lecture.
“I was also allowed to bring Arabic New Testaments and hand them out to the students.”
Brother Andrew once told the Hamas leaders, “I can’t change the situation you face here in Gaza. I can’t solve the problems you have with your enemies. But I can offer you the One who is called the Prince of Peace. You cannot have real peace without Jesus. And you cannot experience Him without forgiveness. He offers to forgive us of all our sins. But we cannot receive that forgiveness if we don’t ask for it. The Bible calls this repentance and confession of sin. If you want it, then Jesus forgives. He forgave me and made me a new person. Now I’m not afraid to die because my sins are forgiven and I have everlasting life.”
Brother Andrew, who is also the founder of Open Doors, the international organization supporting persecuted Christians, is convinced that the number of Muslims involved in suicide bombings will increase in the coming years. Andrew has visited Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian areas regularly since the early 1980’s, encouraging the Christians and speaking with radical Muslims about the Gospel. He describes the militant Muslims as deeply depressed.
“They are facing insurmountable problems: they will never be able to defeat Israel and the United States militarily, and their faith makes it very difficult for them to enter Paradise,” he says. “Muslims know that they can only be saved by good works, but they also know that they do more evil deeds than good. Many Muslims are convinced that they will end in Hell when they die.” They also have to admit that Allah does not answer their prayers. The Koran also shows them no way to be saved. Together, that leads many radical Muslims to choose death in Jihad, the holy war, because that is the only direct way to Paradise. “They see no reason to live, so choose the only reason to die,” he said, addressing the 900 attendees of the Open Doors Day in Niedernhausen, Germany, on November 26th, 2005, the 50th anniversary of Open Doors Germany.
Hamas, Hezbollah, PLO: immense interest in the Gospel
“Unless we Christians go to the Muslims and tell them that they do not have to die because Jesus died for their sins too, the dramatic situation in the Near East, Iraq and Afghanistan will not change,” he said, reminding Christians of their responsibility. In many encounters with leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah and the PLO, he regularly senses a great interest in the message of Christianity. “I have given thousands of Bibles to radical Muslims, and no-one has ever refused. I have also often spoken with them about Jesus who died for the sins of the world, and nobody has killed me for it.”
Be an example, don’t discuss
Andrew called on Christians to show more courage and mercy towards Muslims, who are desperately seeking meaning in life. Many Christians have resigned in the face of the Muslim challenge. “Muslims do not believe, as we do, that Jesus is the son of God, and that he poured out his blood on the cross for the sins of the world. But that is exactly the answer we must give them in their situation.” Christians should seek contact with Muslims, and tell them the Good News in love. “We will never win the encounter with Islam through discussions or sermons. We have to go and show them how Jesus can change people.”
Report from the Christian Telegraph
We either learn to coexist or die. I hope education, awareness, open minds, and dialog will lead to the former.