Rev. Langerak is pastor of Southwest Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Cracks in the Crescent, by Hussein Hajji Wario. Self-published, 2009. ISBN: 978057800155. Paper, 252 pp. ($15.99). Excerpts and purchasing information at http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com. Reviewed by Mark H. Hoeksema.
The ingenious title of this book is descriptive of its content. By “crescent,” the author obviously refers to the symbol of Islam. And his purpose is clearly to expose the ‘cracks’ or defects in this widely practiced and growing religion. This he does with admirable success by means of autobiography, which comprises most of this book. Carefully using the vehicle of his life, he shows the errors and inconsistencies of the Muslim religion.
Hussein Wario is a resident of the United States and member of a Protestant Reformed congregation. But this situation was not always so. As he details in the book, Wario was born into a conservative Muslim family in Kenya more than thirty years ago. Within a tribal context, he was raised in the Muslim faith and culture until about the age of fourteen, when he was converted to Christianity, at which time a formerly devoted, intelligent, and enthusiastic proponent of Islam became a fledgling believer in Jesus Christ.
It is not my purpose to summarize or recapitulate the narrative of Wario’s life, because I could never do justice to its telling. It is a tale of severe hardship and trials of faith such as none of us has ever experienced. The events that befall him are so well-nigh unbelievable, they simply must be read for oneself. What I do wish to make clear, however, is that every event in his life that Wario chooses to record, and every point of explanation he gives, is well-organized and meticulously documented. Although a handful of references may be unclear, this book is on the whole a scholarly and careful work.
What makes Wario’s detailed explanations and documentation necessary is that the saga of his life in the context of Islam and the culture of Kenya is so foreign and unbelievable to the Western mind. He lived a peripatetic, hand-to-mouth life for many years on account of his faith, seeking refuge where he could find it, always standing not on expediency but on principle. His family disowned him, persecuted him, and even tried to poison him. Others, especially at the schools he attended, threatened and physically abused him because of his unwillingness to compromise his faith. He has been the continued target of threats, which have been investigated by the FBI, and even now is unable to visit Kenya and his family for fear of his life.
Yet his testimony is this: “My conversion to Christianity was not of my own. I believe it was the Almighty God who fashioned it in my heart through the work of the Holy Spirit to show me His truth that is found only through Jesus Christ His Son (p. 174).” Indeed, in the context of dealing with unbelievers and fanatical Muslims, the book contains many profound thoughts and insights, as well as thoughtful and clever answers to the calumnies of Islam, due no doubt to the work of the Spirit.
Regrettably, Wario does not detail his journey from his general evangelical position to the Reformed faith and his public confession and membership in the PRCA. This would have been a valuable component of his testimony.
Hardly is this book dull or prosaic. To give but one example, the tale of a stamp on Hussein’s buttocks (see p. 184) is both hilarious and illustrative of the ridiculousness of Islam’s teachings. This incident, one of many, shows the randomness, disorganization, and contradictions of the Quran (see p. 164). Another theme that Wario documents is the Muslim principle of abrogation (see p. 209), which means that later revelations to the prophet Mohammed supercede (and often contradict) previous revelations. This is significant in that later revelations are much more hostile toward the Western world and Christianity than early pronouncements (pp. 131-134), even including admonitions to kill apostates and infidels (p. 150).
Why should you read this book?
First, because great danger is the consequence of this book for the author, and because he has expended considerable effort in detailing the nature and teachings of Islam. We need to hear and understand what he writes, because he speaks both from experience and with authority.
Second, because we as a Western society and as a church know virtually nothing about Islam. This book, a tale of personal knowledge and unbelievable courage, will go a long ways toward dispelling our ignorance. It also details the primitive, arbitrary, and violent nature of Islam, a stated goal of which is the destruction of Christianity and Western Christian culture. We need to know the enemy!
Third, the events of September 11, 2001 constitute the first major and overt confrontation between Christianity and Islam since the crusades of the Middle Ages. These events have changed our lives forever. It therefore behooves us to know as much about Islam, its goals, and its principles as possible. Scripture foretells that eventually there will be one world religion and government. This means there must be an accommodation between Christianity and Islam, which is now unfolding before those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
If nothing else, Wario’s book should make us aware of the huge (irreconcilable) differences between the two religions. Wario makes those differences clear in writing, from his own personal perspective, about Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and even the matter of divorce and remarriage (in the brief Part II of the book). Yes, we can learn also about the nature of marriage from this conflict against Islam.
Fourth, besides being a wake-up call to twenty-first century American Reformed Christians, this tale of Hussein Wario’s life is a testimony to grace. There is no other explanation for it, or for the line of the antithesis that he strictly draws.
People of God, Cracks in the Crescent is not an easy read. Understanding it will require effort and concentration. This is not due to any deficiency on the part of the author, but solely because the entire world of Islam is so foreign to us. But for those who are interested in current events and the rapid development of the end times, this is a “must read.” It is appropriate, both for ourselves and for the cause of the gospel, that we validate Wario’s courage by giving him audience.