Every day we read disturbing headlines from around the world: radical factions escalating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from both sides; IS jihadists massacring Christians in Iraq; Islamic terrorists kidnapping school girls in Nigeria; militant Buddhists persecuting Muslims in Myanmar; the government taking down crosses from church buildings in China … and the list goes on.
Since the Arab Spring more than two years ago, the Muslim world continues to make headlines—civil war in Syria, violence and bloodshed in Egypt, continued unrest in Tunisia and Libya, unrelenting insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan even as the U.S. and her allies struggle to pull out. Large populations of displaced refugees now threaten the stability of neighboring countries. As age-old sectarian and tribal hatreds rage across the region, one CNN journalist sadly concluded that there seems little that outsiders can do but wait for the volcano to finish erupting.
On Feb 15, the video titled “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nations of the Cross” went viral. 21 Coptic Christian migrant workers from Egypt were led like sheep along the Mediterranean coast of Libya by masked terrorists. They lined them up along the beach, forced them on their knees, and beheaded them. This was supposedly IS’ revenge for the alleged kidnap and torture by the Coptic Church of two Egyptian Christian women who had converted to Islam, a claim denied by those involved in the story.
In 2013, President Xi Jinping announced China’s ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) plan to connect Asia and Europe with a 21st Century Silk Road by land and sea (One Road) to create an expansive Silk Road Economic Belt (One Belt) involving 65 countries and 4.4 billion people. Instead of inviting foreign investment into China, she now seeks to influence global trade by investing outwards.