Inside the Mind of a Terrorist
“I can’t do justice in words to the horrors I witnessed, but it will stay with me for the rest of my days,” tweeted British Parliament member Preet Kaur Gill after viewing footage of the atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023. More than 70 members of the Parliament watched the same footage, which showcased the blatant barbarism among terrorists as they celebrated and glorified the massacres of entire families, some of whom were burned alive.
Whether it’s violent acts of rape, murder, beheadings, or other heinous crimes that go beyond human understanding, people who live in Western society have a difficult time understanding the mindset of a terrorist. Many might assume that they are all lunatics who enjoy harming others. But the answer isn’t that simple. In order to comprehend such actions, one has to uncover what truly motivates a terrorist from the inside out.
As an acclaimed professor of Islamic history at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Christian writer Mark Gabriel understands how a terrorist thinks. Having grown up as a devout Muslim in Egypt, Gabriel memorized the Quran at a very young age, eventually becoming an esteemed Islamic scholar and imam. Each week, he preached from the Quran, promoting the idea that Islam is a “religion of peace.” But over time, he became conflicted about his faith. After years of witnessing church bombings, the callous murder of “infidels,” and widespread hatred of Jews and Christians, he began to realize that these terrible acts were actually supported by the holy book he had memorized and revered.
Sharing his doubts with several university superiors, he said: “I can no longer say that the Quran comes directly from heaven or from Allah. This cannot be the revelation of the true God.” For the crime of questioning and betraying Islam, Gabriel was fired, cursed, beaten, whipped, shot, tortured, and eventually rejected by his own family. This once respected man became a target of terrorist jihad, forced to change his name and leave his country. In the midst of these harrowing experiences, however, Gabriel encountered someone who was well worth the heavy price he’d paid: The one called the Way, the Truth, and the Life — Jesus Christ — set him free from the bondage of Islam. After receiving this powerful truth, he made it his mission to teach others about what the Quran really says and how it influences the actions of those who commit jihad and other violent acts.
In the case of Islamic terrorists, Gabriel emphasizes that it’s their religious doctrine that drives them to commit horrendous crimes such as torture, rape, and murder. The word islam means “submission,” and the word Muslim means “one who submits to Allah,” so in fact, when terrorists commit violent acts, they believe they are submitting to their god, Allah.
O you who have believed! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you … (Surah 4:59).
In order to follow Allah, one must know what Allah wants. This knowledge is found in the holy books of Islam, known as the Quran and the hadith. The fundamentals of Islam are embedded within these writings, and followers must live their lives in accordance to their principles.
The origins of the Quran go back to A.D. 610, when the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, claimed that the angel Gabriel spoke to him while he was meditating in a cave near Mecca. He wrote down the words and “revelations” he received, which were given to him over a period of approximately 25 years. Muhammad claimed that the teachings written in the Quran were not from him, but are rather the actual words of Allah. The books of the hadith document the habits, actions, and teachings of Muhammad as recorded by his friends, wives, and those who were close to him. A large portion of the Muslim world believes the Quran and the hadith are authoritative sources in Islam. Furthermore, they say Islam is the “perfect and complete form of religion” and that Muhammad’s message is the “end of the evolutionary process of religion.” The principles and teachings in both have influenced the behavior of the terrorists who are operating around the world today.
It’s important to note that Gabriel stresses that Islam itself, not Muslims on the whole, is behind terrorism. There’s a specific belief system driving it, which is controlled by the father of lies: Satan. Additionally, it’s imperative to understand that Islam is a religion based on works, under which entrance to Paradise (heaven) must be earned. Thus, there is no guarantee of salvation. After death, one awaits the Day of Judgment, in which Allah will weigh a person’s good and bad works. As one source explains: “Every deed will testify for or against the man, and the Hereafter will depend upon his life on earth. The Quran grounds its moral imperatives in this fear of Judgment Day.”
Then as for one whose scales are heavy [with good deeds], he will be in a pleasant life. But for one whose scales are light, his refuge will be an abyss. … It is a Fire, intensely hot (Surah 101:6–9,11).
According to Islam, even if a person does good works his or her entire life, there is still no guarantee of Paradise. Additionally, Muslims can pray to Allah for forgiveness, but they do not know whether their sins will indeed be forgiven. It’s all in Allah’s hands, and what it’s he ultimately decides. However, there is one way to escape judgment altogether, guaranteeing one’s entrance into heaven for eternity. If a person dies while committing jihad, he or she will be instantly transported to Paradise, where a plethora of rewards awaits. In his book Islam and Terrorism, Gabriel writes: “Jihad simply means that Muslims must fight the enemies of Allah until the enemies die or the Muslims die. The word jihad actually means struggle.” In legal terms, based on Surah 8:39, it’s defined as “fighting anybody who stands in the way of spreading Islam. Or fighting anyone who refuses to enter into Islam.”
Surah 4:74 states: So, let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. And he who fights in the cause of Allah and is killed or achieves victory — We will bestow upon him a great reward.
The act of jihad is equated with great honor. In fact, when a person dies while committing jihad, his body is not washed and dressed in clean clothes. Instead, he is placed into his coffin just as he died. In this way, the blood on the body is a witness to Allah, who rewards those who faithfully follow Islam unto death. Many believe that these rewards include 70 virgins who can be used as tools of pleasure by the glorified martyr.
Allah has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide eternally. That is the great attainment (Surah 9:89).
Jihad is enforced by the Quran, and its purpose is to overcome those who do not accept Islam. In Muhammad’s time, jihad was practiced against Jews, Christians, idol worshipers, and anyone who turned away from Islam (Surah 2:217; 4:71–104; 8:24–36, 39–65).
Below are more verses that illustrate the concept of jihad.
They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper (Surah 4:89).
So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds. … And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of Allah — never will He waste their deeds (Surah 47:4).
O you who have believed, fight those adjacent to you of the disbelievers and let them find in you harshness. And know that Allah is with the righteous (Surah 9:123).
Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth to cause corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land, Surah 5:33, The Noble Quran.
Gabriel elaborates, “in the Quran, Christians and Jews are called the ‘People of the Book’ in reference to the scriptures that they follow. At first the Quranic revelations encouraged Muslims to live at peace with Christians. The revelations about Jews, however, were never positive. But, after Muhammad’s move to Medina, the revelations regarding all ‘People of the Book’ became very hostile. The following verse below is considered to be the final revelation from Allah regarding Christians and Jews; therefore, it is understood to override all other revelations.”
And fight them until there is no fitnah and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah. And if they cease — then indeed, Allah is Seeing of what they do (Surah 8:39).
In other words, Gabriel clarifies: “Fight those who reject Islam until all the worship is for Allah alone.” He adds: “The Quran also says that Muslims must not be friends with Christians or Jews.”
Do not take the Jews and Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you — then indeed, he is [one] of them … (Surah 5:51).
The Quran uses strong words to remind Muslims that they must force Jews and Christians to convert, and when they do not, severe punishment is necessary. This punishment includes jihad and those who do not commit jihad are threatened with “hell fire.”
Gabriel emphasizes that he loves the Muslim people, and so does Jesus. His greatest hope is for them to turn to the truth that will set them free.
As Christians, when we read the angelic “revelations” of Muhammad, it’s clear to us that a works-based system that rewards violent, murderous acts toward others is not from God, but is instead a strong, diabolical deception by the false Angel of Light, Lucifer. As a spirit of hate gets unleashed upon the nation of Israel and around the world, we must take our battle to the heavenlies and intercede for the victims who have become a target of Islamic fundamentalism. We must also pray for Muslims who have been led astray by a false gospel that takes them further and further away from the One True God, Jesus Christ.
“Muslims are searching for peace in this world because they are disillusioned by the religious jihad, which leads to bloodshed and hatred,” Gabriel says. “Muslims are longing for a personal relationship with God as their Savior.”
As Christians, we must pray for the protection of our Jewish brethren and those who are persecuted around the world by followers of Islam. Additionally, we can pray that the evil acts committed by jihadists will open the eyes of Muslims around the world, and that they will then, like Gabriel, come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus, please tear down the false gospel of the Quran and the hadith. Expose the hateful teachings of jihad and its dangerous influence on society. Protect the nation of Israel as well as Jews and Christians around the world who are the targets of violence, kidnapping, and murder. May Your rod of iron break the sword of Islam, while converting multitudes to the true gospel of salvation. Amen.
If you are interested in reading Mark Gabriel’s testimony, click this link. He has written many books on Islam: Jesus and Muhammad; Islam and the Jews; Culture Clash; Islam and Terrorism; and Inside the Mind of an Islamic Terrorist.
How are you praying about Islamic terrorism? Share scriptures or prayer strategies below.
Angela Rodriguez is an author, blogger, and home-schooling mom who studies the historical and biblical connections between Israel and the U.S. You can visit her blogs at 67owls.com and 100trumpets.com. She is the author of Psalm 91: Under the Wings of Jesus, and her first children’s book, Hallelujah’s Great Ride, was released in September 2023. Photo Credit: yuriyseleznev/Canva Pro.
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