Open Doors USA President: Islamic State Expanding Footprint

March 23, 2015 by Janelle P

From Mission Network News

The Islamic State (IS) claimed credit for the deadly museum attack in Tunisia last Thursday. On Friday, IS militants in Yemen’s capital city blew themselves up, killing more than 100 and injuring hundreds more in two Shiite mosques during midday prayers.

The brazen assaults highlight the danger that the violent jihadist Sunni-based movement poses to the stability of the governments in question. Yemen just survived a coup that put Shiite Muslims in power. In Tunisia, it’s a newly emergent democracy in the wake of the Arab Spring. It’s not likely to stop there, says Open Doors USA President /CEO, David Curry: “I believe we’re going to see more events like this because you have large populations of people who are in need of resources; they don’t have jobs. The Islamic State, because they’ve been allowed to grow and prosper, have the money to pay these folks to radicalize.”

The growing footprint of the Islamic State terror group debunks some analysis claiming it’s a regional movement.

“There are some people that have tried to postulate that IS has been ‘contained’ within a certain area of northern Iraq and Syria, but it’s clear from the latest developments from Tunisia–and before that Libya–that this ideology and their system is spreading.”

Curry says IS cells have also been noted as active in Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Nigeria and Egypt. “What they’re doing is essentially adopting any sort of extremist within the countries of origin. So, you could have it metastasizing at a very fast rate; in fact, that’s what’s happening.”

The IS message is this: convert, pay up or die. That hasn’t changed much since it swept through parts of northern Iraq and began a reign of terror last summer. Curry shares the crux of the matter: “I really do think you’re going to see a growth of persecution like we haven’t seen in the past. I think it really does portend for a spiritual battle.”

Yet, with every story of increased persecution, there are stories of people having dreams and visions of Christ. It’s what’s called the paradox of persecution. “The Gospel is growing. More people are coming to know Jesus as their Savior, but they’re also being forced out of their homelands in the Middle East.”

Christians are been targeted by groups like IS for extinction. Yet, a global outcry has yet to be heard. Until it is, Curry says “we need to pray for them. We’ve got to encourage them; sometimes to encourage them to stand in the face of persecution. Other times, we hope they have the opportunity to escape it, but that’s not always the case.”

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Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.

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