International (MNN) — With the latest Islamic State “pledge of allegiance” by Chechen rebels, the number of ISIS establishments and affiliates has climbed to 19.
While the black-flag jihadists only have “boots on the ground” in Iraq and Syria, official ISIS expansion includes 17 other nations: Sudan, Philippines, India, Algeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Indonesia, Tunisia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Mali.
Islamic State supporters in Malaysia and Russia claimed their regions for the Caliphate after IntelCenter’s May 2015 report.
“Often, as we turn on the television [and hear these reports], it does look like a sea of bad news,” admits Voice of the Martyrs USA spokesman Todd Nettleton.
“But there is good news, too.”
ISIS expansion = good news?
The under-reported ISIS expansion is definite cause for concern. Those who claim the name of Christ are especially at-risk.
“The more people who’ve pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, then the more people who are violently opposed to the Gospe. They’re violently opposed to the Church,” explains Nettleton.
Hotly pursued to the shores of the Mediterranean, refugees displaced by ISIS in Iraq and Syria are facing new dilemmas in Europe. Host countries surrounding Islamic State territory are running out of food, space, and patience.
And there doesn’t appear to be a shortage of ISIS recruits.
“There is a strand of Islam that says, ‘If there is a caliphate, if you are a Muslim, you are obligated to support that caliphate;’ in many cases, ‘You’re obligated to come and join us,’” Nettleton shares.
“That message is being preached in mosques in Indonesia, and Malaysia, and Chechnya. There are Muslims who are hearing that message; it’s resonating with them, and they’re going. They’re answering that call to come and fight alongside the warriors of the Caliphate–wherever that is.”
It’s a reminder to keep our eyes on the cross and keep praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.
Maybe you’ve been praying for ISIS expansion to stop. Maybe you’ve been faithfully interceding for persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.
First of all, THANK YOU. Secondly, don’t give up!
As ordinary Muslims see ISIS violence and realize the terrorists are living out the words of the Koran, they begin doubting Islam and searching for truth.
“The Islamic State is turning Muslims toward something else. They’re searching for other options, and into that is coming the Gospel message,” shares Nettleton.
“We see Muslims really hungry for Jesus. And so, that’s another piece of good news behind all the bad news of the Islamic State.”
“We pray and ask God for many more Sauls–Sauls in the Islamic State–to come to know Jesus Christ personally and become missionary apostles [like Paul],” Nettleton says.
“There are very practical things we can do, as well.”