Intelligence Failure

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U.S. government officials were caught off guard by the recent rapid rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and its plan to establish a sharia-ruled caliphate state.

Either they weren’t getting enough intelligence from their agents in the field, or else they lacked the framework for processing the information. Since the American Embassy in Baghdad has some 15,000 employees and since we can assume that this includes a sizeable contingent of intelligence gatherers, a problem with the framework is the more likely explanation. The framework is built around the assumption that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the jihad threat is confined to al-Qaeda, which is “on the run.” The idea that jihad is an integral part of Islam—something we can expect to pop up almost anywhere in the Muslim world—doesn’t fit into the theory. Likewise, the framework is not sized to accommodate concepts such as sharia, caliphate, or religious motivation—let alone world conquest for the sake of Allah.

In fact, the CIA, the FBI, and the Pentagon are not even allowed to mention “Islam” and “jihad” in the same breath. Over two years ago, at the behest of Islamic activist groups, counterterrorism training manuals were purged of any “materials that portray Islam as a religion of violence or with a tendency towards violence.”

Like the U.S. government, the Catholic Church has also been caught off guard by the rapid spread of Islamic terrorism and the escalating persecution of Christians. Moreover, Church leaders have been surprised for much the same reason. Like our government, they are relying on an outdated paradigm to analyze what information they have. And, as with government intelligence agencies, the ruling paradigm sets bounds on what they are likely to notice.

The Catholic paradigm for understanding Islam was set in 1965 with the publication of the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate and its two short paragraphs on the “Moslems.” Ironically, Nostra Aetate does not seem to have been intended as any sort of paradigm or template. Rather, it seems to have been meant as only a first step in the direction of improving Christian-Muslim relations. The task of the document was “to consider what men have in common and what draws them to fellowship.” Accordingly, the Council Fathers listed a handful of beliefs and practices that Muslims and Christians share and which might serve as a basis for fellowship.

Unfortunately, in the years that followed, Nostra Aetate’s statement on “the Church’s relationship with the Moslems” came to be looked upon as the Church’s final word on Islam—in effect, all that one needs to know about Islam. The result was that generations of Catholics gained the impression that Islam was a religion not unlike their own—or, to put it another way, not something that one need worry too much about.

The Nostra Aetate paradigm was seized on by both liberal and conservative Catholics—by liberals because it dovetailed with their multicultural agenda; by conservatives because, if Islam was a close cousin of Catholicism, Muslims would make good partners in the culture wars. A number of prominent conservative Catholics began speaking in terms of an “ecumenical jihad” against secularism, with Muslims as “our natural allies.”

The new paradigm was especially popular with Catholic educators. After the shock of 9/11, they needed a way to explain the event to their students and, conveniently, the Catholic paradigm closely coincided with the secular one: Islam was a religion of peace (just like ours) that had been hijacked by a handful of misunderstanders. Courses on Islam sprang up in Catholic colleges across the country and, predictably, the starting point for almost every one was Nostra Aetate.

Catholic educators seem particularly enamored of the “Five Pillars of Islam.” I once administered a “knowledge of Islam” survey to a large group of Catholic university students and, although they knew very little about Islam in general, most of them were vaguely familiar with the five pillars.

What are the five pillars? They are the five primary obligations that each Muslim must fulfill in his or her lifetime:

  • Shahadah or profession of faith is the first pillar.
  • Salah or prayer is the second pillar. Muslims are expected to pray five times daily.
  • Zakat or almsgiving is the third pillar. Zakat is a duty to be charitable.
  • Sawm or fasting during the month of Ramadan is the fourth pillar.
  • Hajj or pilgrimage is the fifth pillar. For those who are able to make the journey, the pilgrimage to Mecca is a once-in-a-lifetime duty.

Why do Catholic educators emphasize the five pillars? Most probably because these five obligations fit nicely into the their-religion-is-just-like-ours paradigm. Catholics are also expected to make a profession of faith (the Creed), pray daily, practice charity, and fast at certain times. Although there is no obligation to go on pilgrimage, many Catholics do; and even those who don’t are perfectly comfortable with the idea. When judged by the criterion of strict religious observance, the Muslims seem more Catholic than the Catholics. As Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft somewhat generously puts it, “Islam has great and deep resources of morality and sanctity that should inspire us and shame us and prod us to admiration and imitation” (Between Allah and Jesus, p. 9).

For Catholics who are intent on finding common ground with Islam, however, the most convenient thing about the five pillars is that they make no mention of jihad, Islamic supremacism, the caliphate, apostasy laws, or any of a dozen other Islamic beliefs and practices that throw a monkey wrench into the common-ground paradigm.

Like the U.S. government, Catholic educators seem to be in jihad denial. Not that jihad is never mentioned, but when it is, many Catholics prefer the kinder, gentler definition of jihad as an inner struggle against temptation. That would make jihad roughly comparable to the Catholic notion of struggling with one’s conscience and, thus, a perfectly legitimate practice. This is more or less the interpretation of jihad that Catholic students are exposed to. For example, the Western civilization text used in one traditional Catholic college informs its readers that jihad means “striving in the way of the Lord to achieve personal betterment.” The author also takes pains to caution the reader that some people “misleadingly interpret” jihad as “holy war.” He is apparently unaware that some of the misguided “some people” include the editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica, along with the editors of the American Heritage Dictionary, various editions of Webster’s Dictionary, the Dictionary of Islam, the Encyclopedia of Islam, and Reliance of the Traveller, the classic manual of Islamic law. Admittedly, some of the newer dictionary editions have added the “spiritual struggle” interpretation as a sop to political correctness. However, to better acquaint yourself with the standard definition, see the activities of ISIS in Iraq, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al-Qaeda in Yemen, and Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines.

Catholic educators are not the only ones to focus on the positive aspects of the Islamic faith. Looking at the bright side of Islam seems to have become a reflexive habit for Catholic prelates, as well. Pope Benedict’s speech at Regensburg in which he made an allusion to Islam’s violent history was a departure from the norm and he quickly distanced himself from the offending statement. As a rule, when he spoke about Islam he stressed things like “mutual esteem” and “bonds of friendship and solidarity.” Pope John Paul II spoke to Muslim audiences on numerous occasions and never failed to stress the common beliefs and shared heritage of the two faiths. Of course, when you are addressing the young Muslims of Morocco or the Islamic leaders of Senegal, what else are you going to say except to emphasize the things you hold in common? It is generally understood that such occasions are not the right time or place for bringing up unpleasant disagreements. However, Pope Francis was under no such constraint when he issued Evangelii Gaudium and stated that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence” (253). This was more than an affirmation of the established paradigm, it was a rather gratuitous extension of it. The pope’s statement was reminiscent of the Department of Justice’s instruction to the FBI to purge its training manuals of “materials that portray Islam as a religion of violence or with a tendency toward violence.”

In his apostolic exhortation, the pope cautioned against making “hateful generalizations about Islam,” but is there also a danger in making overly optimistic generalizations? The paradigm that emerged in the wake of Nostra Aetate blurred the distinctions between Christianity and Islam and encouraged Catholics to project Christian beliefs, values, and hopes onto Islam. The post-conciliar framework, it was hoped, would facilitate the building of bridges to Islam. The pope’s bridge-building attempt, however, may have been a bridge too far—the triumph of framework over fact. Moreover, it came at a time when Islamic violence against Christians was ramping up. Didn’t the pope’s advisors know about the violence? Or, like the Obama administration, did they ignore the unpleasant facts which didn’t fit into the framework?

In military and intelligence gathering circles, the Church’s assessment of the Islamic threat would be regarded as an intelligence failure. For a closer-to-home example of missing the obvious, consider the interfaith dialogue activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The USCCB has been dialoguing with Islamic groups for over two decades—and, apparently, by rules of engagement which prevent them from taking a close look at their dialogue partners.

A perusal of the USCCB website reveals that their main dialogue partner is the ISNA—the Islamic Society of North America. What is the ISNA? Well, for one thing, it’s the very same group that was most instrumental in pressuring the U.S. government to purge counterterrorism materials of any negative reference to Islam. This suggests that a number of topics—such as jihad—may be off-limits for the Catholic dialogue participants. But that’s not all. The supposedly moderate ISNA seems to have links to radical associates and activities. A secret Muslim Brotherhood memorandum obtained by the FBI lists it as part of a network of Muslim Brotherhood organizations or allies in North America. In fact, it is number one on the list, a list which also includes another USCCB dialogue partner—the Islamic Circle of North America. In addition, in 2008 the ISNA was designated as an unindicted co-conspirator in a massive terrorist funding case—the Holy Land Foundation Trial. And there is little evidence of its having cleaned up its act in this regard. Last year, the Canadian Revenue Agency revoked the charitable status of the ISNA Development Foundation on charges that it was using zakat to provide support to terrorist groups.

The USCCB website describes the 2012 national dialogue as follows: “By listening, sharing stories, praying, and enjoying meals together during the National Plenary, Muslim and Catholic leaders answered the call of Nostra Aetate.” The Catholic leaders may have been answering the call of Nostra Aetate, but one is justified in suspecting that ISNA was answering to a different call. The Midwest Dialogue page of the USCCB site directs its readers to “Learn more about our dialogue partner, the Islamic Society of North America” and provides a link to ISNA’s own website. Well, that’s one way to find out about the ISNA. Another way is to check out the website of the Investigative Project on Terrorism and see what it has to say about ISNA. Bishops who would like to “learn more” about the people with whom they have been “sharing stories, praying, and enjoying meals” might profit from a little web browsing.

It’s not surprising, of course, that the bishops might be unaware of the dark side of ISNA. The paradigm which guides them discourages them from looking too deeply into certain matters. Indeed, if you are operating within the paradigm, you only see a small part of a much larger picture. You see those parts of Islam that fit into the common-ground narrative, but you miss many of the salient features—things like violent jihad, the caliphate, and world domination.

It’s time for a new paradigm.

William Kilpatrick

By

William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, including Psychological Seduction; Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong; and Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West. He is also the author of a new book entitled Insecurity. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Saint Austin Review, Investor’s Business Daily, and FrontPage Magazine. His work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation.

  • http://shyanguya.wordpress.com/ @FMShyanguya

    However, Pope Francis was under no such constraint when he issued Evangelii Gaudium and stated that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence” (253).
    .
    Something continues to be amiss …

    • Scott W.

      I’m wondering if some Imam will ask why Pope Francis is trying to play the role of the Martin Luther of Islam.

    • Don Campbell

      I would like to think that if Christians around the world were slaughtering others in terrorist actions explicitly in the name of Jesus Christ, on the scale of what is happening around the world with Islamic jihad, then Christian leaders around the world would uniformly be vocally opposing it and loudly condemning it. And they would be leading millions of Christians in prayer vigils and protests demanding that it be stopped. And they would be preaching and explaining at every turn that such conduct is an abomination to God and explicitly un-Christian. And they would be begging forgiveness from the world for the sins being committed in the name of Christ. And they would be sending aid and missionaries to care for those who had been attacked. In other words, virtually the entire Christian leadership of the world, and millions upon millions of Christians, would not just condemn it quietly but would loudly condemn it and do something about it.
      So…where are all those followers of “authentic Islam” who are opposed to “every form of violence” in the face of the slaughter being carried out in the name of their God and his “Prophet”?

      • http://shyanguya.wordpress.com/ @FMShyanguya

        Point well made @disqus_diM16yWlmR:disqus!

    • TERRY

      “Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence”

      I feel EVER so much better.

      • http://shyanguya.wordpress.com/ @FMShyanguya

        “Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran”
        .
        Why are they so scarce?

  • publiusnj

    Americans and Catholics need to understand the history of the West’s encounter with Islam: how the wars started in 632 AD (earlier if one includes Mohammed’s own wars) and have stopped only when Westerners have occupied the Islamic states. Even then, the war isn’t over until it is over. The most recent example of that (until the rise of ISIS) was Sadam Hussein’s going under cover (and to ground) when he lost in 2003. But for Bush/Petraeus’s successful surge, the US would have lost Iraq 8 years ago, just as Democratic Senate Leader Reid proclaimed we did back then. In 2014, though, Obama is making Reid’s 2006 defeatist rhetoric come true by not standing up to ISIS because he has someone else to blame for the loss of Iraq: the supposedly unworthy al-Maliki. IOW, Obama is more worried about the sound bite on “who lost Iraq?” than he is about the US’s position in the World.

    Sadam’s unending resistance tactic had its inspiration in very similar conduct of Kemal Atturk at the supposed “End of WWI.” Turkey/Ottoman Empire had lost fair and square and reaped its punishment in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres, which would have left Turkey significantly smaller than it is today, and that was accepted by the still existent Ottoman Caliphate. Ataturk, though, would not accept the Treaty and re-started World War One in order to undo the zones of occupation and influence into which Asia Minor had been divided. Well, Ataturk won World War One Redux and the result was the fall of the Caliphate and a new treaty ignominiously accepted by the defeated allies. Yet, because Ataturk was supposedly secular, this shameful story, which shows how short-sighted and more concerned with optics than reality the West can be is rarely told as part of the history of Islam and the West.

    What Obama has done in Iraq–much like the VICTORIOUS ALLIES at the supposed End of WWI–is to make believe that we won, declare victory and walk away. Well, to quote one of Obama’s mentors: “the chickens are coming home to roost.” The only question that remains is whether Obama and the Democrats will pay any political price for their fecklessness. If they don’t, shame on us.

  • Scott W.

    The Nostra Aetate paradigm was seized on by both liberal and conservative Catholics—by liberals because it dovetailed with their multicultural agenda; by conservatives because, if Islam was a close cousin of Catholicism, Muslims would make good partners in the culture wars. A number of prominent conservative Catholics began speaking in terms of an “ecumenical jihad” against secularism, with Muslims as “our natural allies.”

    Thank you! I expect moral equivalency gibberish from liberals, but it is maddening when conservatives come even within a light year of suggesting it would be better to live under Islamic rule (as I’ve heard some do). Liberalism and Islam are apples and oranges, but both poison fruit.

    • Watosh

      Life under Muslims in Iraq was not easy as my wife, a Catholic born and raised in Iraq described to me, however at the same time it is a fact that for well over a thousand years the Chaldean community was able to survive in Iraq before the recent American invasion. Now their existence is in doubt. Also I might mention for the consideration of those interested in the truth, that under Saddam Hussein a Catholic was appointed Iraqi foreign minister and later an Iraqi Deputy Vice President. That was Tariq Aziz. Again this is not to argue life for a Catholic in a Moslem country was pleasant, but it was possible and in any event the Chaldean community was better off, as unpleasant as that may have been, under Saddam Hussein as it is after the American invasion to liberate Iraq and install a “Democracy.” Might this suggest that the Muslims are not the only threat to religious Catholics.

      • Scott W.

        Thanks for your testimony. I should point out that I am not claiming that it is impossible to survive as a Catholic in a Moslem country. Rather, I am reacting to a recent trend among some conservatives that seem to think that one devil is preferable to another.

      • Don Campbell

        Yes, the Chaldeans have suffered greatly in Iraq since Saddam’s fall, but are you suggesting that American troops somehow posed a threat to the Christian community in Iraq? No. It is Muslims who have slaughtered the Christians of Iraq and bombed or burned their churches. The American’s mistake was in believing that Shia and Sunni Muslims have the capacity to act in a civlilized manner toward one another and toward Christians in the absence of a brutal dictator to keep them in line. You see the same thing playing out in Egypt with the Copts. Remove the secular dictator Mubarak, who protected the Christian community, and the Muslims commence killing them and burning down or blowing up their churches. One has to wonder how any rational human being can follow such a religion. Oh, I forgot, it’s because they will behead you or throw you in prison for apostacy.

        • Watosh

          The destabilization of Iraq was a result of the American invasion. It is easy to disclaim American culpability in this, and it makes a good story for Americans to assuage any blame that might come our way, to point out that the Shia and Sunni Moslems are responsible for great many deaths that occurred after we took over, but reliable sources, i.e. not the mainstream Corporate press in bed and imbedded with American forces, report that Americans encouraged these divisions, and stoked the fires of hate between the Shia and the Sunnis. But to accept this is to accept American culpability and this goes against the religion of Americanism that Americans have been thoroughly indoctrinated in from the day we entered kindergarten, and every day after. General Petraeus gained some repute from attacks on American troops by bribing the Sunnis and supping them with weapons to use against the Shiites that we had turned the government of Iraq over to their control. Some now argue and have some good arguments that the aim of our government, particularly a powerful faction in our government, that our real objective was to destroy Iraq as a country, while at the same time providing American oil companies access to the Iraqi oil fields which Saddam Hussein had denied them. Be that as it may, in any event after removing the dictator and his government WE assumed responsibility for maintaining order, and we didn’t. To excuse this by saying that gee, we didn’t realize that the Shia’s and sunnis would go after each other under the conditions that were present, when the old Iraqi government and police and Army were abolished immediately at one dictate by Paul Bremer, is weak. Hey have someone come into Chicago and remove all the poise and public servants and can you imagine what would happen there, in America. And now we ar engaged in encouraging a civil war in Syria, helping terrorists there destroy that country.

          • Don Campbell

            Yes. We destabilized Iraq. We were stupid to believe that they could govern themselves peaceably in the absence of a ruthless, dictatorial iron fist. And we should have stayed to maintain order. Pulling completely out certainly facilitated the mess that exists there now. We should still have 100,000 troops there to try to keep a lid it. So yes we are culpable in that sense. But please don’t make excuses for the sorry bloodthirsty bastards slaughtering each other and innocents at every turn in the name of Allah. That’s not our fault. It is their own fault and that of the evil religion they follow.

            • Don Campbell

              And as for Chicago, it’s almost happening there already. Last weekend 82 people were shot.

            • Watosh

              I am not aware I made an excuse for the Sunni’s and the Shiites. However we had no business in fading Iraq in the first place. According to the rules laid down by an American Supreme court Justice, Justice Jackson, during the Nuremburg trials, the greatest war crime of all is to launch an aggressive war, which is what we did when we invaded Iraq. Of course again we make excuses for ourselves by selling the story that the intelligence was bad. Then we awarded the director of the CIA intelligence a medal shortly after for outstanding service for providing this erroneous intelligence that caused us to invade another country that did not threaten us. but like I say the American religion is that what we do is right, we cannot sin. I find this religion as flawed as the Moslem religion. And again the Moslem religion has yielded bad fruit, but I do not then use that to justify myself, much as the Pharisee gave thanks to God for not being like the sinful publican. You have to remember that during WWI the French and Germans among others slaughtered each other for four years, both invoking God to grant them victory. And did you ever hear what happened to Dresden in the last days of the war when Germany resistance had pretty well collapsed. Again, yes, the Moslem religion is flawed but unfortunately and regretfully, they don’t have a monopoly on “bloodthirsty bastards.”

              • AugustineThomas

                WWI was a result of rising secularism and a naked lust for power.
                Iraq could have changed the tide in the Middle East if America wasn’t full of secularist cowards.

                • Watosh

                  And here I thought that to bring peace to the world we needed to follow Christ.

                  • AugustineThomas

                    Christ brought a sword. If God didn’t want us to fight to protect ourselves, he wouldn’t have allowed tens of millions of Muslims to almost wipe out Christianity in the Crusader Era.

                    • Watosh

                      Well one could argue that anything that has happened in the past God allowed, because if God didn’t allow something it certainly wouldn’t happen, but I would;t read too much into that.

                    • AugustineThomas

                      So the Christian thing to do would have been to allow Christianity to be wiped out?
                      It’s less evil to let your Christian wife and daughters be raped than to kill the Muslims trying to rape them?

                    • Watosh

                      I think you have a point. If we kill all those who might be a threat we will protect our people. The Nazi’s were not going to let Britain and France starve German citizens anymore, as they did after the Armistice in which many Germans starved to death, so they resolved to protect their German people and make sure Britain and France and anyone else would not be able to wipe out the German people. After the Germans tried to wipe out the Jews in Europe, the surviving Jews formed their own nation in Palestine and in order to ensure that the holocaust would never happen to them again, they proceeded to wipe out the indigenous Palestinians in order to protect the survival of Israel. Of course with regard to the Muslims, there have been quite a bit more Muslims who have been killed by the U.S. and many more Muslim women who have been raped by U.S. than U.S. women being raped by Moslems today. Maybe if they could they would, however it seems when one looks at the statistics today Moslems are onto e receiving end for the most part. The irony to this idea that the solutions to kill moslems before they kill us, is that the more U.S. soldiers die to protect our freedom, the less freedom we have. We now have to line up and be searched inside and out before boarding any plane, which we never had to do in the past, if we voice an objection to being manhandles we may be arrested, we may find we are on a no fly list, we have our phone conversations listened to and recorded by the government as well as our email, and if the government wants to it can accuse anyone of us of violating one of the thousands of laws on the books so that our best way is to accept a government plea deal and plead guilty to some minor offense rather than try to defend ourselves in a court battle. But it boils down to it is always possible to find a reason to kill, as it seems so attractive to some. I can remember when the Moslems were quite friendly toward the U.S. in my lifetime. How many Moslem countries have invaded the U.S. in the last hundred years? I guess you never heard of “blowback.” Catholics should not embrace war. This question raised by Augustine Thomas is similar to the silly justification of torture by the hypothetical of getting someone to tell us when a nuclear bomb would go off in a big city to justify the use of torture. Remember the Christian community in Iraq existed under Moslem domination for 1400 years before the current mess that resulted from our invasion of Iraq.

                    • Don Campbell

                      Watosh – The good thing is, you and your ilk are still in the minority in the United states. But the cultural “elites” in academia, the media, and entertainment have been throughly infected with your radical anti-Americanism. Most of them are not quite as radical in their anti-American ideology as you are, but the bad news is, your numbers are growing and there are many in this country who hold essentially the same worldview. I suppose your views represent fulfillment of the “fundamental transformation” of America that we were promised by President Obama – a transformation of pseudo-intellectual “maturity” where we all accept the leftist narrative that America has been the greatest force for evil in the world and we should all be ashamed not only of our country but of all of Western Civilization. Unfortunately, this is the narrative that is being uniformly taught in our high schools and on our college campuses. I sure hope that we can stem the tide, because a nation that loathes itself is doomed.

              • Don Campbell

                Oh, it is so very simple in hindsight, isn’t it? But, you know, Saddam Hussein killed over a million of his own people. And he tried to assassinate the immediate past U.S. President when he was in Kuwait. And he made every pretense of having WMD’s and flouting the terms of the peace treaty that ended the Gulf War, which was caused by his unilateral invasion of a neighboring country. And he gave every indication of his intention to use such WMDs, which in the immediate wake of 9/11 was an unacceptable risk for the U.S. and its allies. Clearly in hindsight he was bluffing, but he was given every opportunity to come clean and comply with the inspections but he refused, so who’s fault is that? And he was harboring and supporting terrorists, including Al Qaeda operatives intent on destruction of our country and our way of life. And of course all the left-wing politicians who now distance from the war voted for it, including Pelosi, Biden, Reid, et. al.
                And please quit with the moral relativizing. Neither WWI or WWII were religious wars – i.e., wars to establish or impose a religion on the other side. They were wars of nationalism and/or ideology. They were not motivated by religion.

                • Watosh

                  You have the wrong facts, but as they are the facts you want to believe, you will not accept the real facts. Your faith has a lot in common with the faith of Moslems. Reason has no place in either of your and their faith. The claim that Saddam Hussein killed “a million” is propaganda, and one that you cannot cite any objective estimate made by serious investigation. Now as a result of the attack on Iran and the ensuing war, the Iraqi deaths may have been very high, exactly how many I can’t say but it is very high. But if this is the basis for your claim that Saddam Hussein killed over a million, then you must also say that the American presidents killed the american soldiers that died in some of the unnecessary wars we have engaged in starting with WWI. Do you? Some, like Pat Buchanan, argue with some merit WWII was unnecessary, but I wouldn’t go that far myself. Viet Nam achieved nothing and was based on a lie. Iraq also was based on a lie, and while Americans lost somewhere over 4,000 soldiers, some estimates are that a million Iraqi’s perished. Now Saddam Hussein gave in to every demand George Bush made up until Bush demanded he leave Iraq in 48 hours. But the unvarnished facts are Saddam Hussein freely allowed the U.N. inspectors to go anywhere to inspect and even offered to allow American soldiers in to inspect. It is a fact that Saddam Hussein did not allow any Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq because they were bitter enemies. This is so well known that the fact you believe Saddam Hussein allowed Al Qaeda in Iraq shows your have closed your mind to the facts, and that you will not even check on these beliefs. Now accusing someone of relative moralizing is a favorite tactic of the propagandists on the right. Now i say all this not to make Saddam look good, he was ruthless, but the truth is the truth. I don’t suppose you know the American CIA provided Saddam with a refuge after the first coup he participated in against Kassem, who showed leanings toward the Soviet Union, failed. When ever someone makes a comparison that doesn’t fit your constructs the tactic is to allege moral relativism, whatever that signifies. Now I don’t know where you are going with the claim that WWI or WWIi were not religious wars, or wars to impose a “religion” on the other side. Strictly speaking this is true for whatever that implies. But for those who look deeper at the meanings of things, the thing is that American has a religious belief in a liberal secular democracy along with unhindered capitalism and that religion was imposed on the countries we conquered, for what ever you don’t want to make of it. We belief the individual should be free to indulge their fancies as long as they are nice and that will assure them of being “in a better place” is the way we put it after their death. This religion has appealed to a good many Americans, and America is the prophet for that religion. Which religion has both Democrat and Republican adherents, and is why most of the congress voted to give George Bush the green light to invade Iraq. Every major U.S. metropolitan newspaper applauded the decision to invade Iraq. Those opposed to this action were called various names and fired if they were journalists. If that doesn’t scare you, you shouldn’t fear any Moslem terrorist, for they, the Moslem terrorists, are a lesser threat to this country.

            • Romulus

              Iraq was never going to be a good outcome, post-Saddam. It was clear to any honest observer that the indigenous Christian communities would pay the price for American hubris, ignorance, incompetence, and mendacity. America is and always has been either uncomprehending or else hostile to apostolic Christianity — as we’ve seen from the Declaration of Independence through till today. Messianic Americanism is a false religion.

        • mollysdad

          Another mistake of the Americans’ was to fail to take reprisals against the enemies of God who slaughtered the Christians of Iraq and bombed or burned their churches, and against all who gave the assailants aid and comfort. If you’re going to conquer and rule over people like these, you have to be prepared to do as the Romans would have done.

  • Bartolomé Cuerda

    We Catholics in Spain have a non-stop first hand experience of what jihad means since 711AD. We have suffered at least 6 full sized invasions (2 of them aborted in our shores). It is interesting to note that the Spanish language has an expression to refer to peace-minded Muslims: “moros de Paz” (moors of peace). Our ancestors seem to have realized that peaceful Muslims were only a part of them, and behave accordingly.

    • AugustineThomas

      We need a modern day Charles the Hammer.

    • bonaventure

      But you’ve replaced the Muslims with the socialists and homosexuals.
      Not sure that that’s better…

  • NE-Catholic

    The Catholic curia in the US and Rome have been ignoring the reality of Muslim abuse, torture and murder of Christians and Catholics for over 25 years. Years ago, when the Muslims were rampaging through Jerusalem and defecating, drinking sacramental wine and dancing on consecrated hosts in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, I got fed-up with the lack of response from the Vatican or our local hierarchy. I sent letters to both pointing out the atrocities and asked for the reason of the soft-pedaling, apologetic and non-response – by both. After exchanging several letters, the answer boiled down to – “if we say or do anything that offends or confronts the Muslim murderer/rapist/arsonists – they will only escalate the atrocities and retaliate on friends, family and co-religionists in the Muslim-dominated world.” In short, we have to pretend nothing is happening and pray for the best. Since then, the Catholic response has been to cozy up closer, ignore fundamental theological heresies (e.g. Jesus is simply a prophet, Mohammed is the representative of God on earth, etc.) and publicly embrace (literally and physically) the lies and hypocrisy of Muslim clerics in these public settings, while the same clerics call for and solicit funds for a continuation and escalation of violent atrocities against Catholics, Christians and Jews.
    Thank you for calling attention to this ridiculous, sorrowful, shameful situation.

    • Robert

      My concern is that how long do we think it will be before this is happening in Rome or here in The United States? There are Religious right now in Iraq who are suffering untold violence and in the Central African Republic 20 people were killed in a raid by Islamic Troops in a Catholic Church where they had taken refuge from the violence; they came in and started firing bullets at everyone. This was in our local paper on page 8 at the bottom in a very small blurb. If they are willing to destroy the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Tomb of Jonah, do we really think the Vatican or any of our Holy Sites in the Middle East or our Churches here are safe, let alone our families and friends. All the while we are trying to get along, they are plotting our destruction and their one world domination.

      Maybe I am misreading all of this and I hope I am, but it seems that they are on the path to destroy all they feel do not fit their model.

    • mollysdad

      The Church’s attitude to islam in playing nice on the basis of what the two religions ostensibly have in common is like Israel smooching with Amalek on the grounds that Abraham and Isaac are their common ancestors.

      In the Bible, the Amalekites were the Nazis of antiquity. Their perfect exterminationist hatred for God and His people made them so fearless of Him that they dared to attack the Israelites only a few weeks after God had terrified the nations by delivering the Israelites from captivity and drowning the Egyptians.

      If the Bishops were to get real and face up to the fact that the Islamists (ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas etc) are existential enemies of the people of God, the spiritual descendants of Amalek, they would have to bear witness that Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is determined to wage a holy war on earth against them for the purpose of blotting out their memory under heaven (Exodus 17).

      The Lord of Hosts commands the nations and their armies to close with these fanatics and to wipe them out (1 Samuel 15).

  • FernieV

    I disagree with the view of regarding all Islam as violent.To start with, there is no unity in Islam. In the south of Nigeria, where I live, Muslims and Christians live together without problem. The governor of Lagos is Muslim and his wife a practicing Catholic. I know of one of his kids who attends a Catholic school. It is a well-known fact in Nigeria that Muslims value Catholic education and many send their children to Catholic schools. No problem there. I do not see this compatible with the overall message of the article. The violence comes from some radicalized groups with no support from the majority of Muslims.
    In Nigeria, and often at the UN, Catholics who try to defend life, marriage, education, etc. find firm support in delegates from Muslim countries in opposing the liberal proposals of US and the West.
    Another story is what can be achieved from the Muslim-Catholic dialog: little or nothing in my opinion. Each one will keep his ideas after a good meal…
    And whether or not the CIA and FBI remove from their manuals “materials that portray Islam as a religion of violence or with a tendency towards violence.” will not change much of what they think…

    • Fred

      That’s an interesting observation, so I guess that means you haven’t personally encountered Boco Haram. One thing that seems to be mostly in common with those who are willing to follow Muhamed teachings to slaughter others in the name of Allah is coming from impoverished backgrounds. Not all mind you, I know some take up arms just to protest against the West, and many are happy to not get their hands dirty but fund the mayhem, or support implicitly but their silence of omission. No doubt as many become more civilized or caught in the trappings of modern society it becomes easier for them to ignore their holy calls to violence. How anybody can tolerate in this day and age indoctrinating children to hate and a desire to eliminate a whole class of people is unthinkable, to me.

      • FernieV

        A few days ago a Boko Haram suicide bomber destroyed an oil installation a short distance from my office… This is the first time it happens in Lagos. But these terrorists are all from the North. I have never heard of a Southern Muslim involved in terrorism. The Boko Haram group appears to have started by Northern politicians as a tool to recover the control of the Federal Government. After some time it seems to have gone out of control.
        In my company I employ Northerners, all Muslim, in the security department, and Southern Muslims and Christians in the other departments. I have never had any religious conflict in the company.
        The Muslim religion taught to these people appears to have no violent content. They do their prayers five times a day, they fast during Ramadan, and lead normal lives. Polygamy is practiced mostly by the lower classes and the rich. The abhorrent practice of female circumcision is practiced by the illiterate Muslims and Christians alike.
        As a summary: I believe the life of Muhammed, Koran and the hadiths do contain a lot of violence, which can be used by fanatics to incite terrorism. But the day to day teachings of the imams seem to overlook it…

    • Don Campbell

      FernieV, here’s the thing. Not all Muslims are violent. Most are not. The problem is that the Koran, Sura & Hadiths, and the example of the “Prophet” Muhammad’s life provide ample support for those Muslims who are violent. And there are many of them. How many times do we have to hear “Allahu Akbar” shouted before the slaughter until we acknowledge that a) these murderers are motivated by their religion, and b) the foundational documents of their religion contain the seeds that support their violence. And it is not just violent non-state actors that expose Islam as evil, repressive and violent. The even greater scandal is sharia law imposed by Islamic governments. Look at the two most “significant” Islamic countries – Iran (for Shia) and Saudi Arabia (for Sunni). Any religion that, in the 21st century, imposes prison or a death sentence for converting to another religion or evangelizing for another religion is an abomination.

    • cestusdei

      Could the governor of Lagos be a practicing Catholic and his wife a practicing Muslim or a convert from Islam? One of the main issues is that Muslims don’t protest the radicals, they quietly go along with them.

      • FernieV

        This is the thing: Muslims like to keep their fellow Muslims in power. This is a fact. But a Catholic Governor of Lagos is also possible: Michael Otedola, a Catholic, was a governor of Lagos a few years ago.

      • FernieV

        I would like Muslims in general to voice out their condemnation of the Muslim terrorist groups. I agree with you on this. In Nigeria it appears that the Northern Muslim elite, which has been attacked by Boko Haram, have started condemning the group. But more needs to be done.

    • la catholic state

      In the South of Nigeria…..Muslims are in the minority. That’s the difference.

  • http://eisbrener.info/blog Michael Eisbrener

    Your willingness to be kind, [U.S. government officials were caught off guard]
    Your willingness to accept the blindspot offered by a clergy practicing the same at the expense of reason and life is satire I hope. Treating people like sheep works as long as there are only sheep. Sheep vote but do not control anything, especially the counting. Holding to the ‘long view’ is deadly in the short run.

  • ForChristAlone

    I wonder whether the Vatican will “get it” when the caliphate takes over Rome. They (and the American Catholic Church) will be caught with their pants down (sorry about the use of this term since it conjures up yet another problem the Church has had to face recently.

    And by the way, we’re not to be accommodating to Islam. We’re called to proclaim Jesus Christ as Savior to them. When we forget our mandate, we will always get ourselves into hot water.

  • Art Deco

    Since the American Embassy in Baghdad has some 15,000 employees

    I think someone misplaced a couple of decimal points here. IIRC, the U.S. State Department has 22,000 employees in toto. I don’t think 2/3 of them are in Iraq.

    • Crisiseditor

      There is an explanation for everything. The embassy employs 15,000 staff; but not everyone is a member of the State Department: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embassy_of_the_United_States,_Baghdad

      • Art Deco

        Not buying. IIRC, the statistics provided by the Appendix to the Budget of the United States Government included foreign nationals employed on site.

        Think about it for a second. The entire central administration of the state government of New York employs about 33,000 people in the state capital. Customs and Border Protection employs 52,000 personnel. The Federal Bureau of Prisons employs 39,000. You’re telling me that one embassy in a country which is less populous than California and has never been affluent employs 15,000 people. You realize that for a country of that dimension, a three-digit staff would be atypical.

        • Crisiseditor

          As of 2012, there were roughly 15,000 personnel at the Iraqi embassy, the largest in the world. This included thousands of private security contractors. The number has since been cut so the Wikipedia entry needs to be updated: http://www.ibtimes.com/reversal-us-will-shrink-massive-iraq-embassy-407032

          • Art Deco

            Sir, you need to apply more skepticism to what you’ve been reading. Again, distributing the overseas staff of the Department of State, USAID, and the CIA according to population, you would ordinary expect fewer than 200 employees in a country of Iraq’s dimensions. There’s hardly a garrison there any more. As for the security contractors, IIRC Blackwater had fewer than 1,000 employees in toto.

            • Crisiseditor

              I know you love to argue but your argument is not with me. I’m simply the messenger. Your complaint is with the US government who determined that Iraq, being a special case, required more than the usual number of personnel. We are not talking about the typical embassy. That should be obvious. Complain to the government that makes the policies and the press that reports the numbers. Don’t complain to me for reporting what I find. (Who ever said that Blackwater was the only contractor? Your numbers are speculation based on what might be expected in some ordinary country of Iraq’s size. I’ve provided sources, you’ve provided guesses. The New York Times just reported that the number is over 5,000; considerably more than your speculation: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/16/world/middleeast/embassy.html) My only objective was to confirm that the author was not pulling the number out of thin air. I’ve accomplished my purpose.

              • Watosh

                It is always refreshing to hear the voice of objective reasoning, many thanks.

  • thebigdog

    Intelligence failures are the rule, not the exception for the Obama Administration.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/06/20/obama-administration-caught-by-surprise/

  • ColdStanding

    The council in question boils down to this: it was suppositional in character. The problem is that every Catholic, until of late, understands that a general council is for declaration of dogmatic truths. Therefore the suppositional, the temporal, the situational, the tactical has been hoisted as the eternal. Mistakes are made. Forgiveness is there because of it.

    I believe that there has to be a place in the Church for such experiments. People, crafting their waxen wings are tempted to take flight. But the results of the experiment need to be assessed. If repeated flights result in repeated crashes, the experiment needs to be brought to a halt by cooler heads. There is no “if” about it. The fathers of the council, egged on by their juniors, supposed and supposed wrongly.

    What needs to be done now is to find some way to pull those that don’t really want to crash back from the brink.

    Those, on the other hand, of evil intent – and they are many – are a different matter.

  • Fred

    Great article again, thanks for sharing your insight. Putting our own country’s ineptitude aside, I also struggle with our church’s response. I accept that there’s plenty I don’t know, but know that what I do know smells to high heaven. I understand the lure of appeasement, however, as Michael states eloquently below “holding the long view is deadly in the short run”, and many innocent Christians are being slaughtered in the name of Allah while we freely discuss the world as it is here in this comfortable forum. We used to say in RCIA that you never convert anybody by beating them over the head with the bible and perfectly reciting verses, however, in turn how are we to respond to violence against us – accept martyrdom as fate without challenge? It’s clear reading the Quran that Muhamed calls for violence and the only peaceful sects are those that have changed their focus to become entrapped with the modern world and earthly things making it easier to forget about those inconvenient passages, or they feel satisfied by either funding others to do the dirty work while keeping their hands clean or bury their head in the sand and remaining silent. Nobody ever talks about how more muslims have been killed at the hands of other muslims than by anyone else, or how they despicably raise their children to hate a whole class of people and pray for their destruction. I don’t have all the answers and pray to God for divine help, but appeasement does not seem to be working – has it ever?

    • AugustineThomas

      “You never convert someone by beating them over the head with the bible.” I think basically all the saints and martyrs violated your rule.
      Nancy Pelosi Catholicism will destroy you.

  • Bob

    It isn’t so much intelligence failures as it is ignoring the information in front of you. During the Battle of the Bulge and the Easter Offensive of 1972, the information was there but the generals “knew” differently. The link refers.
    http://fas.org/irp/agency/army/tradoc/usaic/mipb/1998-1/BAKERfnl.htm
    In this case, the rebels were being “trained” on US weapons and tactics by US “organizations.” It seems yet another case of rushing to do something without knowing who you’re dealing with or not caring who you’re dealing with. Either way, it’s another example of an element of US foreign policy that further showcases its ineptitude.

  • cestusdei

    Obama has managed to lose a war we were winning. Was it on purpose I wonder?

    • http://shyanguya.wordpress.com/ @FMShyanguya

      One of many unaswered questions.
      .
      There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.
      .
      They and their actions won’t be hidden for ever

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Education is the answer. In Europe, we have seen Muslim women in prominent positions openly attacking Islamic fundamentalism, in a way that would be inappropriate for a non-Muslim. Thus, Fadela Amara, when she was Secretary of State for Urban Policies described fundamentalism as something clung to by some women through ignorance and isolation in ghetto communities that will vanish when they are given better opportunities of intellectual enlightenment and of acquiring elementary knowledge in history and the sciences. “For this generation,” she declared, “the crucial issues are laïcité, gender equality and gender desegregation, based upon living together in harmony throughout the world, and not only in France” She hailed the the Jules Ferry laws for making education, at every level free, obligatory and lay.

    Another Muslim woman, Rachida Dati, as Minister of Justice (garde des Sceaux) also defended the ban on the hijab: “the laïcité of state schools is not restricted, in the case of pupils, to respect for their freedom of conscience: it imposes a duty of restraint on pupils in their behaviour, since they find themselves in a place pertaining to the public sphere. Pupils’ freedom of conscience, which is an internal freedom, in no way gives them ‘the right to express and manifest their religious beliefs’ in educational institutions, for that involves external acts which improperly introduce religion into the public domain of the school.”

    Can you imagine educated and successful women like these espousing jihad? Under shari’a law, they would probably be stoned.

    • AugustineThomas

      The truth is only inappropriate to secularists and followers of false religions like Islam.

    • slainte

      MPS cites Dati…”“the laïcité of state schools is not restricted, in the case of pupils, to respect for their freedom of conscience: it imposes a duty of restraint on pupils in their behaviour, since they find themselves in a place pertaining to the public sphere. Pupils’ freedom of conscience, which is an internal freedom, in no way gives them ‘the right to express and manifest their religious beliefs’ in educational institutions, for that involves external acts which improperly introduce religion into the public domain of the school.”…”
      .
      Let’s be very careful here…..As Catholics we may be tempted to embrace Dati’s position because she is directing her ire against the Islamic faith at a time when we find ourselves at odds with Islam.
      .
      But let’s look at how her political position would impact us as Catholics. Would we support Dati’s suggestion that Conscience is merely something we apprehend internally but cannot act upon publicly because to do so would offend a secular and allegedly pluralistic culture (ie., laicite)? Balderdash!
      .
      Would we support Dati’s perversion of our American understanding of Freedom of Religion which permits us to practice our Catholicism not only by worshiping God within the four walls of our Church but also in the public square for an anemic vision of faith held by Dati which would limit our Catholicism to freedom of worship only?
      .
      I reject French Minister of Justice Rachida Dati’s narrow and oppressive view of religious freedom and suggest she reconsider her position. By slamming Islam, she does not win the support of this educated Catholic woman who knows that the limitations she seeks to place on Islam today are the same limitations she will place on Catholicism tomorrow. No deal.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        Slainté

        I am not concerned to defend Dati’s particular theory of laïcité, although it is very much in the French tradition. Rather, I took it as an example of how educated Muslims (and, especially, Muslim women) are embracing democratic values. It is palpably absurd to suggest that she or Amara, (and they happen to be the two most prominent Muslim politicians in France), have any lurking sympathy for an Islamist agenda.

        To take another example, we have the Muslim women’s organization, « Ni Putes Ni Soumises » [Neither Sluts nor Door-mats], founded by Amara, and whose president, Sihem Habchi, in a forceful attack on “multiculturalism,” demanded “No more justifications of our oppression in the name of the right to be different and of respect toward those men who force us to bow our heads.”

        In Dati’s defence, she has no wish to restrict the religious beliefs of individuals, but to exclude their intervention in, or impact on, the relations between private individuals and the public authorities. This means drawing a sharp distinction between the public sphere of the state and its administration (including the public schools) and the private sphere, the framework of civil society and the domain, not only of individuals but of groups and associations (and thus of churches and religious communities). Now, it is the denial of this distinction that defines the Islamist agenda..

        • slainte

          MPS, women are either free and equal to practice their faith within the four walls of the Church, or mosque, and within the public square or not. If they are not, then the promise of Liberty and Equality is a convenient fiction.
          .
          It is in difficult times that the true import of principles are put to the test and realized. Moslem faithful, like Catholic faithful, should not have their rights to freedom of religion limited or suppressed because they choose to worship God and not the state; to embrace religious creeds and not secular democratic values.
          .
          Dati and Amura might wish to remind the French people of two women who realized the fullness of their femininity and “gender equality” by their voluntary embrace of Catholicism, their faithful worship of Our Lord, and their interaction to the death in the public square while living their faith…Saint Joan of Arc and Saint Edith Stein.
          .
          These heroines of Catholic femininity lived the way of the Cross, not the fickle and ever changing promises of “democratic values”,

  • AugustineThomas

    Just give it to us in one sentence: the West, including the Church in the West, is full of drug and sex addicted, ignorant cowards. (I know I’ll probably get blocked for telling the truth, but that won’t change the truth.)

  • profling

    You mean the Five Pillories of Islam.

  • Brendan J. McGuire

    This article is a hodge-podge of irresponsible generalizations, innuendo, and straw-man arguments. I’m particularly bothered by the author’s treatment of Pope Francis. Of course, it merits a full-length rebuttal, which cannot occur in the comment section, but I will simply observe that Islam–and its history–are incredibly complex, and facile treatments like this actually play into the hands of postmodern Islamic radicals. It’s also interesting that the author rips into “Catholic educators” who encourage a sober, careful approach to Islamic history and theology–how dare they complicate the picture!

    The fact of the matter is that Pope Francis knows what he’s talking about about when he distinguishes “authentic Islam”–that is to say, the traditional Islam of tariqa piety and pragmatic jurisprudence–from the postmodern, rootless Islam of the various fundamentalist groups. Don’t treat what the pope is saying in straw-man terms; there is a deep historical truth to it.

    • Guest

      Talk about facile.

    • Br. Bonaventure Rider, fbp

      Dear Professor McGuire. I greatly respect you and have enjoyed many of your lectures as given for the Institute of Catholic Culture. I also enjoyed very much Robert Reilly’s own contribution to the discussion of Islam and his two excellent talks given at the invitation of your friend Deacon Sabatino for the ICC as well. Thank you for all you do for Holy Mother Church.

      I do have to disagree a bit with you here, as I also find our Holy Father’s statements about Islam in EG at odds with the facts. Elsewhere In the same document, Pope Francis admits that on many of the issues that “neither the Pope nor the Church have a monopoly on the interpretation of social realities or the proposal of solutions to contemporary problems.”

      Pope Francis, while Archbishop of Buenos Aires publicly and forcefully criticized Pope Benedict’s Regensburg Lecture when he said “Pope Benedict’s statement don’t reflect my own opinions. These statements will serve to destroy in 20 seconds the careful construction of a relationship with Islam that Pope John Paul II built over the last twenty years” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/9931030/Pope-Francis-run-in-with-Benedict-XVI-over-the-Prophet-Mohammed.html. Therefore the reigning Pope himself set the precedence for being able to publicly disagree with the Pope on the issue of Islam and the Church’s relation to it. Certainly Pope Francis would take great umbrage at St. Francis’ Pope of the 5th Crusade, Pope Innocent III’s statement in Encyclical Quia Maior that “a son of perdition has arisen, Mohammed, a pseudo-prophet, who has seduced many people from the truth by worldly enticements and carnal pleasures,” among many other such statements. I include that not to defend or criticize it, only to illustrate that Popes differ and disagree on their beliefs about Islam, and that is going to naturally result in rejecting the position of one pope if you are going to agree with another. And if you are goint to reject the position of a pope, you best offer refutations. Mr. Fitzpatrick is attempting to do just that.

      But he is not alone. Pope Benedict’s trusted advisor on Islam, the Vatican Islamalogist and fellow Jesuit, Fr. Samir Khalil Samir also took some issue with EG, writing an excellent article that included a lengthy critique of what Pope Francis wrote concerning Islam. Just one point out of several Fr. Samir makes is:

      “Finally, the Pope mentions the violence in Islam. In No. 253 he writes : ‘True Islam and the proper interpretation of the Koran oppose all violence’.

      This phrase is beautiful and expresses a very benevolent attitude on the Pope’s part towards Islam. However, in my humble opinion, it expresses more a wish than a reality. The fact that the majority of Muslims are opposed to violence, may well be true. But to say that ‘the true Islam is against any violence’ does not seem true: there is violence in the Koran. To say then that ‘for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence’ needs a lot of explaning. It is enough to cite Chapters 2, 9 of the Koran.” http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Pope-Francis-and-his-invitation-to-dialogue-with-Islam-29858.html

      One thing lacking from the article I think is reference Pope Benedict’s own criticism of Nostra Aetate, when he wrote that the “weakness of this otherwise extraordinary text has gradually emerged: It speaks of religion solely in a positive way, and it disregards the sick and distorted forms of religion.” http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1204282.htm

      • Guest

        Thank you for such a reasoned response. The points you raise are unassailable.

      • Brendan J. McGuire

        Dear Br. Bonaventure, happy feast day! I appreciate what you’re saying quite a bit. My objection to this article, and others of its ilk, is that they paint in very broad strokes, without any of the background that would be necessary to deal adequately with the issues raised. Take “caliphate” for example. This term is thrown around throughout the article, but the author doesn’t really seem to acquainted with the history of the concept or with the history of the various institutions that have borne the name “caliphate.” He’s holding it up like a trump card for his argument that Muslims are out to conquer the world; meanwhile, for 99% of Muslims the “caliph” in Mosul is about as legit as the pope in Montana would be for us. And he has about as much chance of conquering the world for that matter.

        The political and ideological landscape of Islam is extraordinarily complex today (and has been particularly so since the 19th century). Obviously Boko Haram and the ISIS are part of the landscape today, but we have to situate them (and their various opponents and competitors) in a proper historical and religious context. Not only does this article fail to do that, but the polemical upshot seems to be that educators and churchmen are to blame for encouraging a balanced approach to Islam as opposed to an alarmist one. IMHO the truth is the truth; it sets us free, and when I teach my courses on Islamic history I set out to give my students the whole picture. Five pillars and all. And that’s not jihad “denial” as the author here implies.

        I do appreciate your contributions quite a bit, and I recognize that dealing with Islam has always been a challenge for the Church.

  • la catholic state

    Catholics need to wake up. Muslims in Central Africa Republic make up only 15%, but they now control one third of CAR. What is happening to the Christians in these areas is anybody’s guess. We only hear newsreports of Christian attacks on Muslims….or Muslim attacks on Cathedral compounds.

    It just shows what can happen when a well armed bunch of Islamic thugs decide to take over. They just go ahead and do it. And sadly…..the Christian militia are badly armed and undisciplined. If I could I would arm them. Catholics need seriously to start thinking in these terms.

    Also…..not a peep came from the Church in response to ISIS threat to attack Rome?! Hope the Vatican has full confidence in the Italian army!

  • Joel Everett

    Aside from broad mono-theism – there is very little that Christianity and Islam has in common for the simple reason that Islam is – at it’s very core – anti-Trinitarian and anti-Incarnational. The concept of the Trinity is considered ‘polytheistic’ and thus – shirk – the ultimate sin if you are a Muslim; the idea of God-became-man is seen utter absurdity and blasphemy – the crucified Christ was in appearance only and the resurrection never happened. Yes, there might be a broad understanding as Abraham being the ‘Father’ figure of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but there are vast differences beyond that.

  • bonaventure

    Obama has an Islamist agenda, and since he lost the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, he is trying to resurrect it elsewhere. He sponsored the Islamist rebels in Syria, and ISIS are the result of it. Obama got exactly what he wanted.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    My new paradigm that I’ve been trying to get out is reformation.

    Because while there are indeed five pillar muslims, six pillar muslims also exist- and the Sixth Pillar is Jihad.

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