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Iran’s Rejection of International Humanitarian Law

This is the international symbol for civil defence, often used by state and voluntary organisations set up to assist nations in times of emergency and disasters.  It represents people who give their time and risk their lives to help others affected by emergencies, disasters and mass casualty attacks.

Jesus once said to His disciples: ‘`This is my commandment, that you should love one another, just as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than this: that someone should lay down his life on behalf of his friends.  You are my friends, if you practice as many things as I command you.’ [John 15:12-14, MLV].

The brave men and women who volunteer to serve and rescue others, people they may not even know, represent precisely the kind of conduct that Jesus regarded as the heart of His teaching.  

We see this same noble conduct in the actions of the emergency services, doctors and nurses in hospitals and in family members who devote their lives to look after their relatives and in parents who raise their families.  This principle of sacrificial love is what makes any human society, from a family to an inhabited planet, a society worth living among.

You may not believe Jesus is the Son of God but you surely cannot miss the fundamental principle that forms the ethical foundation of international humanitarian law.  Indeed, all humanitarians must live by His words: ‘No one has greater love. . . ‘.

So, I am sure I am not alone in being genuinely shocked at the steady stream of public pronouncements coming out of Iran, threatening to destroy various cities in Israel.

They do not threaten to destroy Israel’s military capability, a justifiable target under international laws of war.  No, they threaten to destroy its civil populations, which is NOT a justifiable target under these rules.

Such pronouncements are not only contrary to international lawful conduct in conflicts, but they are, by the standards of the teaching of Jesus, supposedly a prophet in Islam, completely contrary to them, and therefore fundamentally unethical.

One can only imagine what kind of moral justification Iran uses to justify such genocidal sabre-rattling.  Could it possibly be that the life and practice of Mohammed informs their views?  If so, that would make Mohammed’s deeds fundamentally at odds with the conduct required by Jesus, supposedly his preceding prophet.

It has never been explained to me, nor to anyone else as far as I know, what caused Allah to change his mind so fundamentally on such a fundamental subject. 

Please, if you want to argue that the Biblical text has been corrupted and Jesus never said these words, present the textual evidence from the corpus of Christian manuscripts that show these words were corrupted.  However, you will have a tough job, for in the current corpus of tens of thousands of extant manuscripts, no such corruption has ever been detected.

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, we are left to decide for ourselves whether we are going to permit Jesus to serve as our guide to conduct, or Allah/Mohammed, for it is clear it cannot be both – the two are mutually contrary exclusive. 

In case you see a loophole, that here Jesus is talking only about one’s conduct with friends, therefore it is right to bomb the life out of enemy cities, Jesus also commanded people to ‘Love your enemies, bless those cursing you, do good to those hating you, and pray for those accusing you falsely, and persecuting you’ [Matthew 5:44], I do not think this can be stretched to include nuking Tel Aviv or Haifa, any more than it can including nuking Tehran or Qom.

In the Old Testament in the Book of Daniel, there is the story of Daniel prophesying to Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Babylonians, a dream-interpretation that is a summary of the waves of empire that would sweep across the earth down the ages.  It ends with all the remnants of human empire being swept away, and God establishing His kingdom on earth, represented as a ‘mountain that fills the earth’.

That mountain is Mount Zion, ‘for the law will go out from Zion’.  I like to think that the international symbol of civil defence is inspired by this vision of the Kingdom, a Kingdom in which the fundamental rule of conduct is sacrificial love, thus all peoples will treat all of our fellow men and women as friends.

I pray for Iran: I pray that its leadership will realise in the nick of time that all their hatred should be redirected against wickedness, and love for their fellow man, including the Jews, should be the fundamental principle of conduct.

How Iran would prosper from such a change of direction. The Lord bless you,

Graham Ford
President – Jesus Christ for Muslims


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