Fictional ISIS and the True Threat

The “Islamic State” is, in crucial ways, a fiction rather than a reality. A state has borders, a central government, and a bureaucratic structure. None of this is true of ISIS, although some have spoken of ISIS as a proto-state. What we have in fact is an armed, slash-and-burn military force, seeking control over ever expanding territory.

The fictional “Islamic State” permits the West to ignore the deeper threat posed by Islam to Western institutions. Islam is the antithesis of Europe. Tolerating the intolerant has time and again had disastrous consequences. The recent destruction of a Russian airliner and the attacks in Paris are only two examples.

For insight into Islam, undistorted by current controversies, a good place to start is Ignaz Goldziher’s Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law. The book has an interesting history. Invited in 1906 to deliver a series of lectures in the United States, Goldziher wrote them in German, but for reasons of health and his inability to secure a reliable English translation, he never made the trans-Atlantic voyage to deliver them. A German edition appeared in 1910, but a satisfactory English translation was not available until 1981 (from Princeton University Press).

The great Anglo-American scholar of Islam Bernard Lewis provided the introduction. Goldziher, Lewis says, was a Hungarian Jew by birth, and by virtue of interest and linguistic ability became a respected “orientalist,” as Middle Eastern scholars were called in the Vienna of his day. In Lewis’ judgment, as a guide to Muslim faith, law, doctrines, and devotions, Goldziher was much better placed than Christians to study Islam and to understand Muslims. To know rabbinic law and to submit to rules makes it easier to understand the Holy Law of Islam and those who obey it. The French philosopher Remi Brague, a great living scholar in his own right, similarly praises Goldziher as perhaps the greatest student Islam ever had.

The word “Islam,” Goldziher reminds his reader, means “submission.” The word expresses first and foremost dependency on an unbounded Omnipotence to which man must submit and resign his will. Submission is the dominant principle inherent in all manifestations of Islam, in its ideas, forms, ethics, and worship, and it is, of course, demanded of conquered peoples. Adherence to Islam not only means an act of actual or theoretical submission to a political system but also requires the acceptance of certain articles of faith. Therein lies a difficulty.

The Prophet was not a theologian. Islamic theology was necessarily the work of subsequent generations. Islam does not have the doctrinal uniformity of a church. Its history and inner dynamics, Goldziher shows, are characterized by the assimilation of foreign elements. He speaks of Islam’s dogmatic development under the influence of Hellenic thought, its indebtedness to Persian political ideas, and the contribution of Neo-Platonism and Hinduism to Islamic mysticism. Differences between Sunni and Shia stem from external influences.

Remi Brague, who holds the title of Professor of Arabic Medieval Philosophy at the University of Paris (and winner of the 2012 Ratzinger Prize), has produced an equally illuminating volume entitled The Legend of the Middle Ages: Philosophical Explorations of Medieval Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

triumph_taq copy

Addressing the genesis of European culture, Brague reminds his readers that Europe borrowed, first from the Greco-Roman world, then from an Arabic culture, and finally from Byzantium. Brague points out that for Christians revealed truth is the all-important bond. Muslim and Jewish revelations, which are presented as laws, do not pose the same problem as Christian revelation.

Reconciling religion and philosophy is an epistemological problem in Christianity, but in Islam and Judaism reconciling religion and revelation is a political problem. Furthermore, unlike Islam and Judaism, Christianity includes the Magisterium of the Church, with authority in the intellectual domain.

To illustrate the difference between Christianity and Islam, Brague draws upon the work of Ibn Khaldun, a fourteenth-century Muslim scholar. According to Khaldun the Muslim community has the religious duty to convert all non-Muslims to Islam either by persuasion or by force.

Other religious groups do not have a universal mission, says Khaldun, and holy war is not a religious duty for them, save for defensive purposes. The person in charge of religious affairs in other religious groups is not concerned with power politics. Royal authority outside of Islam comes to those who have it by accident, or in some other way that has little to do with religion, and they are under the religious obligation to gain power over other nations. According to Khaldun, holy war exists only within Islam and is imposed upon its leaders by sharia law.

Theological warrant aside, Brague asks how Islam’s greatest philosophers view jihad. He puts the question to three Aristotelians – al Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes. All three permit the waging of holy war against those who refuse Islam – al Farabi and Averroes against Christians, Avicenna against the pagans of his native Persia.

Al Farabi, who lived in the lands where the enemy was the Byzantine Empire, drew up a list of seven justifications for war, including the right to conduct war in order to acquire something the state desires, but is in the possession of another; and the right to wage holy war to force people to accept what is better for them if they do not recognize it spontaneously.

Averroes, writing in the western part of the Islamic empire, approved without reservation the slaughter of dissidents, calling for the elimination of people whose continued existence might harm the state. Avicenna similarly condones conquest and readily grants leaders the right to annihilate those called to truth, but who reject it.

Western leaders fighting ISIS generally fail to acknowledge the genuine motivation of those committed to jihad. Whether from cowardice or woeful ignorance, they (at Europe’s peril) continue to speak of “the far reaches of ISIS,” without confronting the real threat.

Jude P. Dougherty

Jude P. Dougherty

Jude P. Dougherty, emeritus Dean of the School of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America, is the author, most recently, of Briefly Considered (St. Augustine’s Press, November 2015).

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    I challenge your sweeping perception of the Islamic philosophers you label as intolerant. That is not exactly what the best historians on Islamic philosophy such as Etienne Gilson or Ben Ami Scharfstein have to say. Saint Thomas Aquinas agreed with Ibn Rushd [Averroes] that the so-called necessary reasons for intolerance are merely dialectical probabilities. Ibn Rushd believed in the separation of philosophy and religion which commentators agree pointed to modern secularism such as the Arabic Bathist Party of Saddam Hussein that was tolerant of Christianity including Catholicism who held prominent positions. Etienne Gilson’s commentaries on Ibn Rushd appear at least on tolerance diametrically opposed to your view Dr. Dougherty. Gilson said Rushd convinced Aquinas that nothing should enter the texture of metaphysical knowledge save only rational and necessary demonstration. Jewish historian Ben Ami Scharfstein adds “Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Maimonides are very special instances of tolerance that stems from the conclusion that their scriptures should be understood philosophically rather than literally (A Comparative History of World Philosophy, p.326). Quoting a line from Ibn Rushd and providing wholesale condemnation is neither good history nor good philosophy. Ibn Rushd born in Cordoba was exiled to Morocco precisely because of his views that were contrary to those of fundamentalists. Cordoba had a population of Jewish, Christian, and Muslims that lived in peace. You dismiss with aplomb perhaps the last appeal to reasonable change within Islam.

    • Fr Kloster

      With all due respect, I don’t think it matters one whit where possible peaceful exceptions existed between Christians and Muslims down through history. We must look at the whole picture rather than exceptions. The Muslims were expelled from Spain for a reason. The Muslims were driven back at Buda and Vienna for a reason. Please riddle me this; do you think the next bombing will happen in Spain or France? That was a rhetorical question with a very easy answer.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        Whenever I see a response beginning “With all due respect” I expect your kind of answer. So your response to Islam Fr Kloster is bullets, bombs, rockets, hatred, and death.

        • Alicia

          We must defend ourselves because they have declared war against us to conquer all non-muslims and impose Islam on the world. Discussions of Muslim philosophers, and writers are interesting, but they are no consolation to the mothers and fathers, going through the corpses at the morgue in Paris, to find their children.
          Yes, with bullets, rockets and whatever it takes to defeat them, but without revenge, vengeance, and hate.
          We must also pray everyday for their conversion, so that God opens their hearts and minds to the beauty of the gospels and the true religion. I do everyday.

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            Believe me Alicia I am not omitting prayer which is a vitally important part of my life. Moral conversion of Islam should not rely entirely on faith to the exclusion of reason.

        • John II

          You didn’t answer Fr. Kloster’s “rhetorical question.” In fact, your response is merely smug and snarky.

          Here are two semi-rhetorical questions. (1) Where does your sudden outburst of moral smugness come from? (2) Why do you feel the need to write “Ph.D.” after your name?

        • Fr Kloster

          I was trying to be civil and respectful, Father. You may be as dismissive as you please. I will remain civil with you.

          I don’t advocate any of the words you typed. I advocate defending ourselves and being realistic about evaluating obvious dangers. G.K. Chesterton was correct. Islam has risen again and is a very serious threat. When a Muslim is very devout, he wants to eliminate other religions or at least make them second class citizens. When a Catholic is devout, he wants to evangelize. That’s a marked difference.

          I was in a long somewhat heated debate with a World War II general’s wife who is still as feisty as ever. She took your position. She would never answer my simple questions either. Islam is a political animal and as such can never be reconciled with a Christian based civilization. Moderate Islam is not the Islam of the Quran. Look at how almost completely Christianity has disappeared from the Middle East and Northern Africa. That is not the fruit of a peaceful co-existence.

          • Howard Kainz

            There are moderate verses in the early parts of the Quran, from Mecca, where Muhammad was trying to establish his religion with not much success; in the later parts we find the Sword Verses, inciting to conversion by force. In Islamic tradition, earlier verses can be “abrogated” by later verses, when circumstances change. Bahis Sedq in his excellent book, The Quran Speaks, writes: “the conciliatory verses are meant to guide the believers in circumstances where they are weak and unable to assert themselves (as when they are a minority) but the moment they gain ascendance, they must seek direction from the Sword Verses.”

        • givelifeachance2

          That is a rash judgment – not all who believe Islam is a threat think the remedy is bullets. But it helps to know the relative risk of execution or martyrdom, so as to be Ready.

          You seem to be suggesting that one buries head in sand because you don’t like what seems to you would be the obvious response to a proven threat from Islam. But perhaps that is not the only response. I would compare it to those who say prolifers must be dangerous because they hate abortion, and the obvious response to taking a life is to take another one. But prolifers have not been given enough credit for tolerating the cognitive dissonance that results from watching babies shredded and burned and not being able to do anything about it. After 40 odd years of watching miserable incrementalist political feints, we know abortion seems here to stay. All we can do, besides prayer, is ask our priests to have the guts to preach against it. As for Islamic terror, those in the know should have the guts to inform others.

          • MSDOTT

            My apologies, givelifeachance2. I did not read your response before I responded to Fr. Morello above. In reading your response above regarding abortion, …I, as a prolifer, would NEVER, EVER condone violence toward abortionists. So, why do I would EVEN consider a remedy of voilence with respect to Islam?
            Just quickly, and off the top of my head, it does seem to me that the root causes of abortion are not similar to that of Islam, even though the ‘shoots’ may be similar. I’ll have to think about this more. Perhaps, it is as Jesus said, that some evils can only be overcome with prayer and fasting.

        • MSDOTT

          Fr. Morello, I do not know much about Islam, but I continue to be disturbed about what initially seemed to me to be ‘extremist Islamists’. Increasingly, I’m asking myself the question: What is/are the foundational ‘pillars’ of Islam? In thinking about the question, my thinking morphed into the concept of roots and shoots (shoots as in botany, not as in violence).

          Mr. Dougherty writes ” According to Khaldun the Muslim community has the religious duty to convert all non-Muslims to Islam either by persuasion or by force.” If this religious duty is indeed a ” true root”, then what you propose i.e. “We need to examine current Islam and the many who are freer and far more open to adaptation to life in the West ” does not seem to be a “logical” shoot of this root. What I mean is, if “current Islam” deviates from the true root, which seems to be the religious duty to convert all by force, then “current Islam” is not a true/logical shoot. And therefore, by examining current Islam, we would not be examining the appropriate “shoot”.

          Furthermore, I ask, “can a Muslim be a true Muslim without adhering to his religious duty -i.e in conversion by force?” This question refers to your suggestion that we examine ” the many who are freer and far more open to adaptation to life in the West”. If adhering to a religious duty of conversion by force is a true tenet of the Islam religion, what is the logical consequence for non-Muslims, IF or WHEN these “many who are more open to adaptation” – ‘get religion’? After all, it appears to be a religion that seems to be impervious to reason – and whose adherents convert non-believers by force – or kill them.

          To me the key questions to be answered regarding Islam are: is a basic tenet of Islam the conversion of non-Muslims by force? Is it a threat to the physical safety of non-adherents? Yes, or No?.

          I don’t necessarily equate bullets, bombs, rockets with hatred. With death, yes, because usually bullets, bombs, rockets do lead to death. Bullets, bombs and rockets can also be a necessary response in self-defense to physical violence. If the answer to the questions in the preceding paragraph is ‘Yes’, then it seems to me, self defense is a must with respect to Islam.

          However, further questions also arise if the answers to the key questions posed above are Yes: That is, can or must we also act – without hatred, but with implacable resolve – to contain Islam? If so, how do we act towards a religion which does not seem to respect reason? If we do not act, what are the consequences to us?

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            Insofar as ISIS a decisive military response and annihilation of those murderers is justified if we are prepared also for likely long term military presence. When I refer to reason and Islam first and specifically it is to the many moderates in America and abroad. Most of them have adapted to our moral standards and have abandoned the radical tenets of Islam. But many are being drawn by propaganda from ISIS and the like to their cause. We should and must counter that by providing educational programs in conjunction with Islamic scholars and there are many who oppose ISIS and the imposition of Sharia law. If we do not and remain mentally locked into the belief that opposition is the only response to someone being a Muslim we will simply be reinforcing ISIS propaganda. Ibn Rushd [Averroes] realized Islam could not be reconciled with reason so he separated a reasonable accommodation to life in the world from his religion. Many Muslims do precisely that if only tacitly. We must reinforce that and not succumb to ignorant prejudice and exacerbate the dilemma alienating and radicalizing by our intransigence of the close to 2 billion Muslims on this planet.

        • Ernest Miller

          I always wonder what Jesus would have to say about Islam.

          • kathleen

            Didn’t Jesus say I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, whoever comes to the Father must come through Me. If we believe that, then we must also believe that Islam is a false religion and Mohammed is a false prophet. We must pray for the conversion of unbelievers. The Rosary is the weapon we must use. Padre Pio said it often, and the late, great St. John Paul II said it too. Let’s follow their advice.

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            Jesus I believe would leave many decisions within the purview of our faith and reason such as a just war. ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Shabab terror groups are justifyable targets of just war. On the other hand He would want us to treat moderate Muslims with respect and compassion, reasonable discourse and certainly pray for their conversion.

    • Howard Kainz

      A major problem with Islam is Muslim scholars’ wholesale rejection of the compatibility of faith and reason during the middle ages. Aquinas castigated Averroes in “De Unitate Intellectus” for holding that one could hold one position by faith and the contradictory by reason. Robert Reilly’s book, The Closing of the
      Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis, goes into the history of conflicts between Mu’tazilites and Ash’arites,
      Averroes and Al-Ghazali, etc., and documents the anti-rational victories of the
      Ash’arites, affecting Sunni Islam and modern legal and theological currents in
      Islam.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        Ibn Rushd really had no choice to avoid death as a heretic. Ibn Rushd never said however that Christians should be slaughtered. He seemed to believe in a Caliphate enlightened by reason as was his experience born at Cordoba among Jews and Christians. The same Howard was true for Aristotle who did not believe in the gods but in God. Remember Socrates. We need to examine current Islam and the many who are freer and far more open to adaptation to life in the West. Yes there is division among Muslim scholars today and it need not be argued which side Christians should be on. Do we really have a viable choice apart from unending conflict as some commentators suggest since they offer no alternative? Muslims made in God’s image are also men with an intellect like you and I.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        To reply directly to your question on faith and reason unquestionably the thrust of Aquinas’ philosophy was to establish the compatibility of reason with the Christian faith whereas Ibn Rushd could not do the same given the clear contradictions to reason in Islam. Rushd realizing that argued that reasoned inquiry and practice could be differentiated from the Koran which is why he was exiled. That would be heretical for us also and ironically is the problem in the Church today, that is the distancing of rational approaches to practice from the written word.

  • Michael Dowd

    Thank you for alerting us to Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law. I just ordered the book. We all need to know more about Islam and it’s dangers.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Precisely because it has no central authority, there is an astonishing variety of interpretations within Islam.

    The great Persian Sufi mystic, Bayazid Bastami (804-874), known as “one of the six bright stars in the firmament of the Prophet,” was asked, “how does Islam view other religions?”

    “All are vehicles and a path to God’s Divine Presence,” he replied.

    As a Sufi, he taught the unity of God means that He alone is being and that the self and the created world are illusions. This he regarded as the root of all religions, so all provide a path to enlightenment.

    His shrine in Chittagong is still an important place of pilgrimage.

    To take another example, in 1926 some Islamic scholars in Turkey justified the abolition of sharia law and its replacement with the Swiss Civil Code, the German Commercial Code and the Italian Penal Code on the grounds that the Quran is “a record of spiritual experience and not a source of juridical norms.”

    It really does appear to be a question of “tot homines quot sententiae,” with as many variations as there are scholars.

    • Howard Kainz

      Sufis are a minuscule minority in Islam, and are considered heretics by mainstream Muslims.

  • Jon S.

    Regardless of who is right about Averroes (Gilson or Brague, Dr. Dougherty or Fr. Morello), where in Islam today is there the working out of the right relationship between Faith and Reason, as, for example, called for by Pope Benedict in his Regensburg Address? Can Islam ever be a “Religion of Peace” unless it is the kind of “Religion of Reason” articulated by Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, St. Thomas Aquinas, Blessed John Newman, G. K. Chesterton, and the contributors to this website? To the extent that Islam welcomes Reason, is it because of Islamic Faith or in spite of Islamic Faith?

    • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

      I would have to agree it would be in spite of it. We need to look at once hostile strident Ottoman Turkey and the secular state of Kemal Attaturk. Since Islam is roughly one quarter of the world’s populace and many Muslim scholars from Turkey and elsewhere who I met in Rome teaching Islamic studies and studying our own faith my belief is that this contemporary movement toward reason should be encouraged.

  • Five pillar Muslims do still exist, but they are distinctly NOT Islamic.

    That is, they do not submit to the duty to Jihad, though they follow the other five pillars.

  • bernie

    I am strongly persuaded that the problem with Islam can be more immediately expressed than our philosophical/theological discussions might tend to make us think. To believe, as a Moslem does, in a God who transcends good and evil is to believe in a fiction, one that is not too far removed from a volcano for a south seas islander. The Greco/Judeo/Christian peoples posit free will, and comprehend the natural law command to do good and avoid evil. When we transgress, we generally try to heal with kindness and good will. Afterall, we believe in a God who is our Father and who is Goodness and Love by nature. (I readily grant that the perception of good and evil in The West has deteriorated gravely, especially in the wealthier and materialistic countries. What that might portend for the future in terms of governmental required ‘submission’ is not yet determined and goes beyond this post.)

    At my Church in Wheaton, MD we have more ethnic groups, races, colors, sizes and nationalities than the most mixed-up, proverbial NYC subway car. Intermarried, inter-racial, inter-nationalities, inter-everything, and we all love each other with sincerity and intensity. We are all Catholics who have long gotten beyond all the divisions. There is one exception to the mix – there are no former Moslem personalities of any sort. An anecdote may explain it all.

    In Paris, returning from a canonization, I tried to chat with a well-dressed individual who was
    waiting for his plane as was I. I spoke of the Holy Father and God who is our Father. He immediately and brusquely stood up and walked away, saying over his shoulder with disdain as he went, “I have no God but Adam. The trouble with most men is they have not learned who their master is.” Believe me, he was not speaking of the Master of the Gospel. It was then of course, that I realized he was a Moslem.

    For me, ISIS is no different than the hordes who slashed and burned their way across N. Africa 1500 years ago. They left behind a brow-beaten and submissive population that is with us today, and who submit to being a training ground for fools who kill themselves, having been trained to do evil and avoid good.

  • Jon S.

    And has it not been a mistake for Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis to say that Catholics and Muslims worship the same God?

    • bernie

      I don’t care who says it, a claim to belief in a God does not mean the same God. Regardless of a claim of Abrahamic descent,(something that is not true), Catholics worship the one true God, a God of Love and Goodness, For my money, Moslems worship someone at the other end of the spectrum

    • Dave Fladlien

      We do worship the same God; we just don’t have the same opinion of what He is like.

    • Wardog00

      Pope St. John Paul II strikes the balance beautifully, concisely, and without compromise between acknowledging what Muslims get right, and challenging where they go
      wrong, in his excellent book, Crossing the Threshhold of Hope.
      After pointing out that the Church has a “high regard for Muslims who
      worship one God, living and subsistent, merciful and omnipotent, the
      Creator of heaven and earth,” he then observes after reflecting on Islam
      and the Koran:

      Whoever knows the Old and New Testaments, and then reads the Koran, clearly sees
      the process by which it completely reduces Divine Revelation. It is
      impossible not to note the movement away from what God said about
      Himself, first in the Old Testament through the Prophets, and then
      finally in the New Testament through His Son. In Islam all the richness
      of God’s self-revelation, which constitutes the heritage of the Old and
      New Testaments, has definitely been set aside. Some of the most
      beautiful names in the human language are given to the God of the Koran,
      but He is ultimately a God outside of the World, a God who is only
      Majesty, never Emmanuel, God-with-us. Islam is not a religion of
      redemption. There is no room for the Cross and the Resurrection(p. 92).

      St. John Paul first acknowledges the
      truth that Muslims get it right when they profess faith in one God.
      Then, and only then, does he point out they have it as wrong as wrong
      can be when it comes to what God has revealed to us in Scripture about
      who he is, and, I would add, what he asks of his people by way of his
      commandments.

    • Nomasidiotas

      I know I am joining this conversation late, but was just sent the link to this article. My understanding is that Muslims worship Allah and that Christians worship YHWH. They are not the same deity at all. Allah claims three daughters and, adamantly, no son, and YHWH is a triune God, and has one Son, Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God With Us. Allah is remote and removed, our God is intimate and deeply concerned with his creation.

  • JaneSeymour

    The true Islam is represented by IS. They behave just as Mohammad did when he introduced Islam to his tribe in Arabia. They forced people to either convert to it or they were slaughtered. His successors did exactly the same in counties around Arabia and thus they made those nations Muslims. They didn’t convert to Islam from heart or conviction, but by power of sword. It was the same story wherever Islam was introduced. It was by invading, killing, forcing people economically and other aggressive actions which they spread their religion.
    It is either self deception or ignorance to call Islam a peaceful religion. Sure, many Muslims around the world are decent and peaceful people, but not their religion. That is why these moderate Muslims have conflict with those who are traditional Muslims.
    We in the West should see the danger of radical Islam as a serious treat. You can’t destroy it by bombs, but by introducing the Christianity to Muslims. I am afraid that our ultra secular culture is not helping much in this matter. It gives Muslims the impression that Christianity has no sexual morals.

    • John Whaley

      I think it is ok to say ‘radical Islam’ though it is redundant. Islam is Islam, a religion that approves suicide bombings. Your opening sentence says it all.

    • Guest

      Additionally, those who attempt to “reform” Islam into something non-violent are not Islamic, they are forming something new rather than reforming something to be the same thing it was previously.

  • Eleanor Marie

    ‘Abba or Allah’ by Scott Hahn is an excellent resource. (It’s a CD)

  • Mary C-J

    The easiest way to think of Islam, is to think of Mohammed. Mohammed was essentially a thug. His followers were also thugs – hence the rob, rape and conquer mentality. The “religious” aspect of this satanic farce was to placate the masses to condone these actions. Islam would not exist but for the apostasy death penalty. Notice that the newly converted are in reality thugs of their own kind to begin with. Yes there are peaceful Moslems, but are they peaceful because they have to be, because of a minority status or the fear of their own? If Islam separates them from the “infidel” then where is the societal trust that one has in a community. We are now faced with ever mounting lies of all kinds – government, media, even science. The only bonds that communities have are in natural law / trust. All is eroded. I do not think that Islam can change itself. I fear that Europe is very close to being gone. If the caliphate succeeds, the Vatican will surely be leveled, or burned to the ground. Every aspect of Western Civilization will have to be eradicated, because it’s foundation is Catholic, then Christian. Islam will not allow any trace of another religion, period. So yes, we will pray, and there will be bloodshed. In this as in any evil, good cannot coexist.

  • grump

    “Israel” is as much as a fictional state as ISIS, thanks to the Brits, who “declared” it, colluding with the Zionists who all but stole the land from the Arabs.

    • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

      Please don’t tell this to an Israeli if you visit Israel. Grump who did the original stealing.

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    It is as if people who are absolutely convinced require more convincing. Excessive overkill I thought had limits. We are all convinced Islam is a defective religion whose tenets are unacceptable. If some of us have proven that point in spades what rational Christian advice do you have?

    • bernie

      “Christian advice”? A rational Western government, with primary responsibility for the safety of its citizens, should not consciously invite into its midst 10 to 50 thousand people from a civilization which has proven for over a thousand years that it will not assimilate or accept the abiding law of their prospective host. “Christian advice” does not suggest opening one’s arms to people who consciously reject a country’s founding concepts. I cannot conceive how a Moslem can honestly recite the American Oath of Allegiance, even accepting the fact that Moslems have served in the Armed Forces. Religion and
      government for Moslems are inseparable. “Christian advice” should be to reject such refugees and/or send them home, while at the same time treating them humanely, as far as their own conduct makes that possible.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        Let me clarify to what I responded earlier that I disagree but respect your opinion. I disagree that there is no room for promoting rational change within Islam as I amply write on in previous posts here. I am not sure we should allow the Muslim refugees into the US considering the danger of ISIS infiltrators. I also believe it was a great mistake to allow through liberal thinking the great volume of Muslims to enter Europe. That is changing Europe from a spiritually declining center of Christianity to a secular v Islamic entity that Islam is likely to dominate. Because we are faced with this dilemma there and to a lesser degree in our own country we do not have a better option than to foster rational change as I explained previously. The other option would be continuous radicalization, conflict, mass deportations. That is the gist of my rational Christian advice.

        • bernie

          Thanks Father. We must note however that rationality, as a way of
          approaching Moslems, has been a failure for well over 1,000 years.
          The White Fathers can give sufficient testimony. If there is ever
          to be any change in the utter stalemate between our two perceptions
          of the human person and a proper concept of God, I suspect it will
          come in only one of three ways. 1) Continued utter rejection of
          their bizarre concept of civilization, which may ultimately drive them
          out of their incomprehensible and unsuccessful isolation and into a
          world of respect for free will; 2) A Moslem population growth that
          simply overwhelms the collapsing West; 3) A standoff until the Last
          Day when they will play a role in God’s Judgement of the world.

          For me, this whole discussion seems to be tightly connected to
          demographics and the Last Things. Pardon me then for a little more
          speculation. I hope TCT will not be put off by this additional exchange.

          I moan inside and pray intensely as I think of the great challenges
          that seem to be facing my fairly numerous progeny with a high degree
          of certainty, beginning in their lifetimes and throughout their
          “Journeys of Faith”. Overall world population began a descent in 1968 which has not been reversed. Unless girls who are just now beginning to be born decide to reverse the trend, for some spiritual and presently unacceptable reason, the world will lose many billions of people into the foreseeable future. Chaos may be the rule of human life. Speculation about the situation is difficult to conjure, let alone accept. I do not manufacture my own numbers. Check the UN’s stats. The UN is no lover of anything but the word “sustainability” (a favorite term for some time now of even the Vatican). The UN is certainly anti-people and attempts to interpret its numbers to support their perspective. According to them, the world population will pleasantly level off somewhere before 2100, but their prediction is pure speculation. They give no reason to think this way other than crossed fingers. Others, I think are far more realistic and foresee a much, much graver condition for the whole world, but I do
          not want to cross that bar.

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            It is interesting you mentioned White Fathers who started in Algeria but had to leave hostile Islamic territory. My first trip to Africa was as a layman teaching at Mchinji Malawi at a seminary built by the then White Fathers now Missionaries of Africa. I almost died of malaria and it was there I decided on the priesthood impressed by the dedication of the missionaries. I am with you Bernie on what you say and the dire prospects for our world. I sense within we are on the threshold of end times although I hope my sense of the direction of things will somehow change. As a priest I cannot at least not yet surrender the virtue of hope regarding a turn toward the better. I do not with any confidence foresee that however particularly with this pontiff. But know that I have affinity with your views and that you have my support and prayers.

  • rocco santa guida

    have you heard of Ahmadiyya Islam? My impression is that they are persecuted by wahabiists because they have chosen to be loyal to the country of their residence, renounced jihad by the sword and , as they put it, , Ahmad writes:[hide]Part of a series on Islam

    The task for which God has appointed me is that I should remove the malaise that afflicts the relationship between God and His creatures and restore the relationship of love and sincerity between them. Through the proclamation of truth and by putting an end to religious conflicts, I should bring about peace and manifest the Divine verities that have become hidden from the eyes of the world. I am called upon to demonstrate spirituality which lies buried under egoistic darkness. It is for me to demonstrate by practice, and not by words alone, the Divine powers which penetrate into a human being and are manifested through prayer or attention. Above all, it is my task to re-establish in people’s hearts the eternal plant of the pure and shining Unity of God which is free from every impurity of polytheism, and which has now completely disappeared. All this will be accomplished, not through my power, but through the power of the Almighty God, Who is the God of heaven and earth.[23]

  • Guest

    This is a phenomenal article, and it is precisely why many wonder what the heck the bishops are thinking by supporting Muslim invaders/refugees?

    • Tiago Rodrigues

      They are thinking that they are children of God, benighted though they may be, and that their Master requires them to feed them and clothe them, visit them in the hospital and in prison, and receive them when they come from a foreign land. Check Matthew 25:31-46.

      You may think it counterproductive, *and it may well be*, but should His shepherds discard His doctrine on account of convenience or inconvenience? The path of Christ is a thorny one, and often martyrdom lies at the end of it; but they (and us) should endeavour to follow this Path to its end, whichever it may be…

  • Leif Kristiansen

    This article contains a great error. It states:

    “Other religious groups do not have a universal mission, says Khaldun, and holy war is not a religious duty for them, save for defensive purposes. The person in charge of religious affairs in other religious groups is not concerned with power politics. Royal authority outside of Islam comes to those who have it by accident, or in some other way that has little to do with religion, and they are under the religious obligation to gain power over other nations. According to Khaldun, holy war exists only within Islam and is imposed upon its leaders by sharia law.”

    The critical part being:

    “Royal authority outside of Islam comes to those who have it by accident, or in some other way that has little to do with religion, and they are under the religious obligation to gain power over other nations.”

    This is obviously wrong. It can be corrected by inserting a “not because”. The sentence then becomes:

    “Royal authority outside of Islam comes to those who have it by accident, or in some other way that has little to do with religion, and [not because] they are under the religious obligation to gain power over other nations.”

    Ibn Khaldun writes in his Muqaddimah:

    “The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty to them, save only for purposes of defense. It has thus come about that the person in charge of religious affairs in (other religious groups) is not concerned with power politics at all. (Among them,) royal authority comes to those who have it, by accident and in some way that has nothing to do with religion. It comes to them as the necessary result of group feeling, which by its very nature seeks to obtain royal authority, as we have mentioned before, and not because they are under obligation to gain power over other nations, as is the case with Islam.”

    • John

      “…they are under the religious obligation to gain power over other nations.”

      is the same as

      “…It comes to them as the necessary result of group feeling, which by its
      very nature seeks to obtain royal authority, as we have mentioned
      before, and not because they are under obligation to gain power over
      other nations, as is the case with Islam.”

      and is the opposite of

      “Royal authority outside of Islam comes to those who have it by
      accident, or in some other way that has little to do with religion, and
      [not because] they are under the religious obligation to gain power over
      other nations.”

      i.e. if this is the explication of “the great error” you have cited, then there is no “great error.”

      (In the passage that you quote, the antecedent of the last “they” is unclear because (inside) and “outside” Islam are both in play [‘redundancy’ is the aid of clarity and in the aid of clarity redundancy should not be avoided], and the last “only” is debatable.

      John of Pasadena

  • Omnia Vincit Veritas

    Jude Dougherty is spot on in his analysis of the underlying problem that too many people in the West refuse to acknowledge and confront intellectually. Islam qua Islam is the problem, and it must be resisted via objective historical knowledge and the use of reason to illustrate the basic irrationality that permeates all of Islam.