Raymond Ibrahim

CBN News Contributor, Middle East and Islam Expert


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Exclusive: Islamists Slaughter American Teacher for His Faith

Why was Ronald Thomas Smith II, an American teaching at Benghazi’s International School, shot to death last Thursday in Libya, even as he “was looking forward to his first Christmas in the United States with his wife and toddler son?"

Most Western media and analysts dismiss the killing as a random act of violence incited by a recent al Qaeda video.

However, by connecting the dots and looking at precedence, it appears that Smith’s Christianity, specifically his talking about it among Muslims, was the motive behind the slaying.

First consider two facts gleaned from the Associated Press report, “American killed in Benghazi remembered as ‘much loved teacher:’” 1) Smith once had plans to attend seminary, a place devoted to preparing Christians to share the Gospel—a crime according to Islamic law (recall the Coptic Christians tortured and killed on the accusation that they were proselytizing in Libya); 2) according to his home church in Texas, “Ronnie’s [Smith’s] greatest desire was for peace and prosperity in Libya and for the people of Libya to have the joy of knowing God through Christ.”

Then there is the fact that Smith was a “much loved teacher”—a phrase that immediately, if not eerily, brings to mind another very similar story of another “much beloved” American teacher who was killed in the Islamic world for talking about Christianity.

On March 1, 2012 in Iraq, Jeremiah Small—described as “beloved teacher and friend" was shot to death by a student, even “as he [Small] bent his head to pray at the start of a morning class. The 33-year-old teacher from Washington State took bullets to the head and chest and died at the scene.” According to students, “Mr. Jeremiah’s hands were still folded in prayer when he fell.” A day before the shooting “a heated discussion” broke out “during which the pupil threatened to kill the teacher because of conflicting religious views.”

As with Smith, Small was described as a very devoted teacher and friend to his students; and as with Smith, the official story as reported by mainstream media, such as the Wall Street Journal, is that the motive for his murder was a “mystery.”

Yet, according to interviews with family and friends, Small “was a devout Christian who frequently praised Christianity and prayed in the classroom, and his friends in Washington said his evangelism is what motivated him to teach in Iraq… but he wasn’t pushy.” Moreover, the father of the student who killed Small, before killing himself, said that Small was trying to convert his son to Christianity and described Christians like the slain American teacher as “more dangerous than al Qaeda."

The fact is, Americans attacked and/or murdered for merely talking—or being suspected of talking—about Christianity is not an uncommon phenomenon in the Islamic world.

Thus, a few days after the killing of Jeremiah Small in Iraq, on March 18, 2012, yet another American teacher, Joel Shrum, 29, living in Yemen with his wife and two children, was shot eight times and killed by gunmen and members of the Supporters of Sharia (which operates a wing in the new Libya created by the U.S). The group later issued a message saying, “This operation comes as a response to the campaign of Christian proselytizing that the West has launched against Muslims,” calling Shrum “one of the biggest American proselytizers.

Lest there is still any doubt concerning the violence that often sparks up when Christians, in this case, Americans, are seen as sharing the Gospel with Muslims, consider the following anecdotes, both from Muslim countries regularly touted for being “moderate”:

In Indonesia, October 2011, after they were accused of proselytizing to Muslims, an American family was attacked by “an enraged mob spurred by a local religious leader;” the Muslim mob set fire to Americans’ property and vehicle: “ Only the intervention of police saved the[ir] lives.”

In Bangladesh, February 2012, three American Christians were injured by broken glass after their car was attacked by another Muslim mob that suspected they were converting Muslims: at least 200 angry locals chased their car, throwing stones at it.

As for the Obama administration’s response to the murder of Smith, it asked the Libyan government to “thoroughly investigate” the killing—a somewhat pointless request, considering the U.S.-supported Libyan government openly arrests Westerners accused of “proselytizing,” threatening them with the death penalty.

And that’s the point: while Western media and their talking heads habitually dismiss such coldblooded murders as “random” and “mysterious,” incited by al Qaeda—that one blame-all “terrorist” organization that everything can be heaped upon—the unspoken fact is that these attacks are products of Islamic teachings; in this case, that challenging the truths of Islam with another set of truths—such as the Gospel—is strictly forbidden, often on pain of death.

Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christiansa section of which deals with Christian proselytism and Islam.

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013 11:14 AM

Comments on this post

# RE: Exclusive: Islamists Slaughter American Teacher for His Faith

Romans 1:20 mentions all people are without excuse (meaning all people in all religions) as "God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made". So, when a religion invites followers to violate conscience (contrary to what is clearly seen), violators will still know, even though they may temporarily be deceived. It is a sad thing to put trust in man over God's invisible qualities and lose your soul.
Left by Down2Up on Dec 13, 2013 12:01 AM

# RE: Exclusive: Islamists Slaughter American Teacher for His Faith

If one carefully pays attention, it’s the American evangelical Christians who are being killed or attacked...not Christians from other part of the world, its American Evangelicals. World sees that especially the Middle Eastern part of the world, along with export of political hegemony, capitalism & porn, America also export the American evangelical version of Christianity. This version often is fast food Christianity or like a genetically modified Christianity, tastes and feels so good but no sap or depth. This 20th century American invention; this evangelical version of Christianity lacks tradition, historicity and cultural awareness .They also lack of respect for other religions, never study about other faiths and their practice in depth. So it’s expected for being challenged or attacked especially in the non Christian world. It’s hard to rectify this decease as there is no authority among such groups, everyone is their own leader.
Left by ajofcanada on Dec 13, 2013 2:06 PM

# RE: Exclusive: Islamists Slaughter American Teacher for His Faith

There is neve a justification for taking someone else's life. What man has the right to decide whether you live or die because of what you say or do?Yes, America is being swept away by material goods, fame and fortune but there are some REAL Christian still in the "haystack". Yes, it is one thing I do agree with American "Christians" do not possess the dept of interrelation-ship with Jesus Christ to be trying to spread the gospel to such a militant group of people,(not all). The good thing though is even in the short comings they know how to forgive! I think not respecting other religions, by the way is not true" is far less horrendous than taking away someone's son, husband, brother, and friend form this world, as an act of a God!It really infuriates me to think that someone really believes that they are justified in taking another man's life because "he got angry". What makes a muslim more valueable or superior than anybody else? We all are flesh and blood and have to go to the droug
Left by Pam on Dec 13, 2013 11:25 PM

# RE: Exclusive: Islamists Slaughter American Teacher for His Faith

Of course he was k!lled for his faith. This is the command from Muhammad and his Allah to their army of Muslims. God warned us. Jesus warned us. Jesus warned us in John 16:2-3 and asked that we remember now; now that the time has come. He asked us to remember in John 16:4.
Left by R. Stetton on Dec 14, 2013 2:55 PM

# RE: Exclusive: Islamists Slaughter American Teacher for His Faith

It's completely false that only American Evangelicals are being slaughtered. Almost daily there's a report of native Christians in the Middle East being killed, including vicious bombings of Catholic churches during Mass. ALL Christians are targets of this insane violence.
Left by terrye on Dec 15, 2013 5:33 PM

# RE: Exclusive: Islamists Slaughter American Teacher for His Faith

Left by terrye on Dec 15, 2013 7:02 PM

# RE: Exclusive: Islamists Slaughter American Teacher for His Faith

Surely we know that the United States does not want to talk about things that are associated with Benghazi. And the United States also does not want to talk about things associated with Islamaphobia. But Health Care Reform and Immigration Reform are welcome topics.
Left by wrhalver on Dec 16, 2013 5:26 AM

# RE: Exclusive: Islamists Slaughter American Teacher for His Faith

Matthew 5:44"but I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, & pray for those who persecute you."
Left by elisha on Dec 21, 2013 2:44 AM