International (MNN) — Ramadan ends tomorrow, but the impact of the holy month will be felt for some time. While moderate Muslims have sought a greater understanding of their god during this time, extremist groups have used the month as an excuse to increase their attacks.
Much of the violence has been at the hands of lone actors claiming allegiance with the Islamic State. Two of the most recent attacks — one in Brussels and another in the United States — failed to take any lives.
But other attacks have been much louder, and the loss of life much greater. On June 3rd, seven lives were taken on London Bridge after three men drove into a crowd and began stabbing people. Just a few days later, 22 people were killed and 43 injured in a coordinated attack in Iran. On the same day, Boko Haram ran an attack that killed 17. Then there was the suicide bombing in Iraq that took 30 lives. And just last week in Somalia, al-Shabaab heightened their violence in a restaurant hostage situation which took the lives of at least 31 people. There have been more attacks, and even the destruction of historical landmarks.
But as the holy month ends, what do we do with this information? We spoke with Tom Doyle of e3 Partners to get a word of wisdom on how Christians can react.
“For good-hearted Muslims around the world, Ramadan is an observant month,” he says. “They postpone their eating and eat after the sun goes down so it’s time of prayer and observance.”
Last year, Doyle and his wife were invited to share the evening meal with a Muslim couple in Jerusalem– friends who they had been sharing the Gospel with. Doyle says violence was absolutely the last thing on their minds. And that’s typical — for moderate Muslims, this period of observance has nothing to do with the violent attacks we’ve witnessed. In fact, in Egypt, Christians and Muslims have taken a stance against Ramadan violence by sharing meals together.
But, Doyle says, “For the radicals, for the jihadists, really Ramadan has become the month of jihad where we just see horrific things happening throughout the world and throughout the Muslim world.”
Many Christians have taken this month as an opportunity to spend time in focused prayer for Muslims all over the world, even those who hold extreme views. The prayer is that while they seek revelation from Allah, that the One True God would reveal Himself to them. And, as Doyle explains, that has happened in the past.
On Wednesday night, Ramadan observers celebrated the Night of Destiny, or Laylat Al Qadr. Doyle says this is the night when Muslims pray for visions and dreams.
“The amazing thing is, this is a time where Jesus often answers those prayers and comes to Muslims in dreams and this is the night we hear about the most from Muslims who have become believers as to when they had an experience with Jesus coming to them in a dream.”
It may be easy to pray for moderate Muslims to find Christ, but what about those who murder and destroy in the name of Islam? Doyle says, “Let’s keep praying, despite the terrorism. For some, it’s the month of jihad, and for others, they’re reaching out to God and Jesus is really responding to their prayers and coming to them.”
If you’d like to hear some of these stories of transformation, consider getting Tom Doyle’s newest book, “Standing in the Fire”. Click here for more information.