FIRST-PERSON: Will we listen to Muslin warnings about Iran?

Baptist Press
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Posted: Jan 13, 2011 5:45 PM
FIRST-PERSON: Will we listen to Muslin warnings about Iran?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--It has often been said that, "It is an ill wind that blows no one some good." The WikiLeaks website's publication of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, while reprehensible, at least had the good effect of revealing to the world that the current rulers of Iran are actively sponsoring terrorism and that Muslim leaders believe Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahs who rule Iran cannot be allowed to build and deploy a nuclear weapon.

The leaked diplomatic cables tell us that Saudi King Abdullah advised U.S. officials to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program, and Jordanian officials have been even more adamant that the mullahs' nuclear program must be stopped. They tell us that Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and Kuwaiti intelligence officials both confirm what the Israelis have been telling the world for years -- that the Iranians are "sponsors of terrorism." The now-famous declaration of Saudi King Abdullah that America must "cut off the head of the snake" tells us everything we need to know about how Ahmadinejad is viewed by his neighbors.

Will Americans who are both reluctant to deal with the Iranian regime and distrustful of those who advocate decisive action heed the warnings of these Muslim leaders?

As one of several Christian leaders who have for years been warning American and foreign leaders about the dangers of Iran developing nuclear weapons capabilities, I am acutely aware that many people do not fully trust such warnings when they come from leaders who are well-known Christians or Jews, whether they be Republicans or Democrats.

Sometimes that's understandable. Yet those who thus far have been skeptical of such messengers should take careful note that the alarms are now emanating not just from the leaders of all these groups, they are coming from leaders of the Muslim world as well.

After these Muslim leaders have warned the world about the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, from whom else must these skeptics now hear? What messenger would be credible enough or convincing enough for those who will deny the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran, after the warnings have come forth from Christian, Jewish, Republican, Democratic and now even Muslim leaders?

The fears of Israel and Iran's fellow Muslim leaders are very real. And we should not discount Iran's zealous dedication to the destruction of America. Respected former CIA officer Reuel Marc Gerecht, now a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, warns that, "What Washington really needs to worry about is the possibility that the Iranian regime, which violently attacks the opposition at home, will similarly attack (what they perceive to be) the far greater evil abroad. Once he has the bomb, inspired by that victory over the West, (Supreme Iranian Leader Ali) Khamenei may much more vigorously push back against the United States."

Gerecht further notes that what has transpired in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Iranians reportedly are now supplying ground-to-air missiles to the Taliban, "is likely just a foretaste of what's to come."

It has been reported that Mark Twain once observed that, "History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes." Have we learned the lessons of Munich and the 1930s? How the world wishes it had stopped Hitler in the Rhineland or when he seized Austria or the Sudetenland before he started a worldwide conflagration that resulted in the deaths of tens and millions of people. Will we stop Ahmadinejad now or will we regret it later?

Richard Land is president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

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