I have been editing my great-grandfather’s memoirs. He was born in Cologne, Germany in 1819. When he was about twenty years old, he left home for Algeria, which was being held by the French during that time.
Not too long after he arrived, he was captured by militant Muslims who held him captive for about three years. As I type each horror story he revealed during his capture, I find myself getting angry at they as they laugh while they torture, as they pray after they murder, and realize that they haven’t changed in hundreds of years.
This country’s first war after we became a nation was against them, specifically the Barbary Pirates. They would raid American ships and torture and hold for ransom the crew. If we did not pay huge tributes to them, they also killed whomever they captured. You’ve heard them mentioned in the Marine Hymn: “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli…” Tripoli is, was then also, the home of those Muslim pirates.
Every time I hear our fearless leader praise these barbarians, I get angry all over again. He is painting a false picture of who these people really are. They want to kill us! First they plan to get rid of Israel (the ones they call the little Satan), and then they plan to kill us (the ones they call the big Satan). Doesn’t he get it? Doesn’t he care? How can he lie like that and keep a straight face? They are our ENEMIES!
Then I catch myself. We, as Christians, are required to pray for our enemies. God made them with the same care and love that he made each one of us, but they have been warped by a religion of hatred and vengeance. We must pray for the love of their Creator to shine through the darkness of their religion.
So I wrote this addendum to my great-grandfather’s book.
“We live during a time when militant Muslim atrocities are committed daily.
Christians are being persecuted by them in all parts of the world.
Although my family and I live in the United States, where, until now, we have been immune to various upheavals, the persecution they desire is coming here. Should I be like my great-grandfather and call them cannibals because I cannot think of anything worse to call them? Or, should I, instead, listen to my Lord who commands me to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me?
It hurts to read this, what they did to my great-grandfather, and know who is responsible. To read how he suffered, and how they laughed at him, and know that the same kind of people would treat me and mine the same way makes me angry.
A part of me wants to hurt them in return.
Instead I choose love.
Although Muslim radicals have not changed for centuries, and their evil and hatred is strong, the love of my Lord is stronger.
He gives them rain, no matter how much they hate. He allows their farms and ranches to produce, just like he does ours. He created them in love, and would prefer to love them, just like he loves me.
Instead of wanting revenge, which is the basis of their religion, I pray that they come to know my Lord, who still loves them, and would prefer to choose a better outcome for them, for on their present course they will receive hell, not the paradise they expect.
Lord, rescue them from Satan’s hands. Amen.”
Patricia Renard Scholes