The Myth of Islam’s Diversity

One of the big unexamined assumptions of our time is that Islam is a diverse religion which offers as many different flavors of the faith as Baskin-Robbins serves up in ice cream.

Just recently, Nicholas Kristof penned a column for the New York Times titled “The Diversity of Islam,” and a week after that, author Reza Aslan wrote an op-ed for the Times with a similar theme. Aslan, a Muslim, took the diversity argument to unusual lengths, arguing, in effect, that all religions can be interpreted in an infinity of ways:

The abiding nature of scripture rests not so much in its truth claims as it does in its malleability, its ability to be molded and shaped into whatever form a worshipper requires.

This is essentially the post-modernist argument that texts have no meaning in themselves, but that the meaning of any particular text—say the Constitution—must be imposed by the reader. Robert Spencer makes short work of Aslan’s argument in PJ Media:

What Aslan is claiming here is absolutely nihilistic. He’s saying essentially that words have no meaning, that the various scriptures of various religion have no essential content or character, that the religions themselves are meaningless and interchangeable.

Aslan’s analysis doesn’t bear much relation to the way that most people over the centuries have understood religion, but it does play well with readers of the New York Times, and his post-modern views have earned him “guest expert” status on TV news programs. He’s popular with Catholic academics as well, presumably because his views can be fit into the Islam-is-just-like-Catholicism bias prevalent on many Catholic campuses. Either that, or the professors are confusing him with a certain character in The Chronicles of Narnia. In any event, there are at least a couple of Catholic seminaries which use No God but God, Aslan’s whitewash of Islam, as the main text in the Islamic studies course.

Despite its appeal to ivory tower types, the deconstructionist argument is a self-cancelling absurdity. How about the less extreme view that there are simply many varieties of Islam? Proponents of this view don’t say that Islam means whatever you want it to mean, only that there are several shades of it—each with a claim to validity because each is based on the Koran which Muslims believe is the eternal word of God. This line of reasoning preserves the authority of the Koran, but also conveys an appearance of plurality. By adopting this approach, Muslim scholars can have it both ways. The message conveyed to the West is that Islam is—within certain bounds—a multifaceted faith; the message to fellow Muslims who may be engaged in jihad is: “We won’t say that your understanding of Islam is not true and authentic.”

With the advent of ISIS and the outrage it has provoked around the world, this proposition has become less tenable. Under pressure, many Muslim scholars have felt obliged to condemn ISIS, but in doing so they weaken their claim that Islam is diverse. On the one hand, they contend that you can’t say that there is any one true Islam. On the other hand, they claim that ISIS is un-Islamic. But, of course, if you can’t say what Islam is, how can you say that something is un-Islamic? Obviously, Islam has to mean something. And if the Koran, the Hadith, and the example of Muhammad are the measure of authenticity, ISIS has as good a claim as any to represent the true Islam. ISIS leaders can quote chapter and verse from the Koran to justify their actions.

Moreover, all of the atrocities for which they are condemned are backed up by the words and deeds of Muhammad. Or, as Martin Rhonheimer, a theologian at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, puts it, “You will find no arguments within Muslim theology that can be used to condemn Islamic State’s behavior as un-Islamic.” Islamic scholars know that ISIS is not un-Islamic. If they condemn it, it’s because they realize that the West needs to be reassured from time to time that Islam is, in fact, a peaceful religion. Moreover, if it spreads, ISIS poses a grave threat to their own security. Thus, Saudi scholars have no qualms in berating ISIS for its barbarity, even though weekly beheadings in public squares are a fixed feature of Saudi life to which they have given their sanction.

The myth that Islam is diverse owes a lot to the duplicity of Muslim scholars. However, there are other factors that contribute to the myth. Chief among these is a conflation of Muslim and Islam. It’s easy to assume that the normal diversity we find among Muslims in various cultures must be a reflection of diversity in the Islamic faith, but that’s not necessarily the case. The fact that Muslims may practice Islam in different ways in different parts of the world doesn’t mean that there are no agreed-upon Islamic doctrines. In many parts of Africa and Asia, syncretic or folklore versions of Islam have developed over the years as a result of contact with other religions or as an accommodation to local cultures. However, it would be difficult to make the case that these variations are just as authentic as the form of Islam found in Saudi Arabia. And in all likelihood, these folkloreish Muslims will soon find it expedient to conform their beliefs and practices to the Wahhabi/Salafist model that emanates from Arabia and is now sweeping the globe. Ironically, the spread of modern mass communications and the easy availability of texts via the Internet has made it easier for this “primitive” form of Islam to make the case that it represent the authentic, original Islam that can be found in the Koran, the Hadith, the Sira, and the commentaries.

In any event, the fact that some people have found idiosyncratic ways of practicing Islam doesn’t tell us much about authoritative Islamic beliefs. Some Catholics in Africa practice polygamy, some Catholics in the Caribbean are involved in Santeria, a syncretic religion that merges elements of Yoruba and Native American religions with Catholicism. Many Catholics in America disagree with the Church on divorce, birth control, abortion, and same-sex marriage, as well as on doctrines such as original sin and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. But this diversity of beliefs and practices among individual Catholics doesn’t mean that we can’t say what the Catholic Church believes and teaches.

In fact, the Catholic Church has very clear teachings in all these areas. The same is true of Islam. Its major tenets have been carefully codified. Although there are Muslims who are ignorant of the teachings or ignore them or (very rarely) dissent from them, the main beliefs are not in dispute. Islamic scholars may disagree over fine points of doctrine, but there is widespread agreement about the fundamentals. The chief disagreement between the two main divisions of Islam—Sunni and Shia—is not over theology but over politics—over the proper line of succession to Muhammad. Otherwise, as Spencer puts it, Islam is “one of the least diverse entities on the planet.”

Take the matter of sharia law. According to our academic and media elites, there are many different varieties of sharia. But what variety there is is simply a factor of how strictly sharia is enforced in any given country. As Spencer observes:

Whenever Sharia is fully implemented around the world today … it looks largely the same: freedom of speech is restricted, women and non-Muslims are denied basic rights, apostates from Islam are ostracized or even killed, “heretics” and “blasphemers” are hounded by legal authorities and/or lynch mobs.

Far from being a vague, variable set of guidelines—as some Islamic apologists would have us believe—sharia is explicitly set down in great detail in Islamic law manuals such as Reliance of the Traveller, a 1200-page compendium of rulings. How detailed? Take section o 14. 0, “The Penalty for Theft.” The penalty is amputation of the right hand. But that’s just for the first offense. Here is section o 14. 1(f):

If a person steals a second time, his left foot is amputated; if a third time, then his left hand; and if he steals again, then his right foot.

It doesn’t stop there, but goes on to explain in earnest what to do if a first offender is already missing his right hand.

On the one hand, this notion of justice seems absurd to the Western mind; on the other hand—assuming that you still have one left—large numbers of Muslims have no problem with such extreme penalties. For example, the Pew Global Attitudes Survey of Pakistani Public Opinion conducted in 2009 found that 83 percent of Pakistanis favor stoning of adulterers, 80 percent favor whipping thieves or cutting off their hands, and 78 percent favor death for those who leave Islam. A 2011 Pew Survey of Egyptians showed almost identical results. A 2013 Pew Survey asked Muslims in a number of countries whether sharia should be the official law of their countries. In twenty-five of the countries, more than 50 percent of respondents said it should, including 86 percent of Malaysians, 99 percent of Afghanis, 84 percent of Pakistanis, 82 percent of Bangladeshis, 91 percent of Iraqis, 89 percent of Palestinians, 83 percent of Moroccans, and 86 percent of Nigerians.

It’s not just sharia that looks largely the same from country to country. So does the pattern of persecution. As Raymond Ibrahim points out in Crucified Again, the oppression of Christians in Muslim lands has a “distinctly Islamic nature”:

The same exact patterns of persecution are evident from one end of the Islamic world to the other—in lands that do not share the same language, race, or culture—that share only Islam.

The uniformity of beliefs and practices even extends to a uniformity of clothing. As Spencer observes, no matter where they live, converts to Islam tend to “adopt the dress of a seventh-century Arab.” Muslims the world over also tend to favor their sons with the name of a seventh-century Arab prophet. What’s the most common name for baby boys in Marseille? Brussels? Antwerp? Oslo? Amsterdam? Rotterdam? The Hague? Glasgow? England and Wales? The answer in all cases is “Muhammad.” “Muhammad” is also the most common given name in the world. Diversity? Sounds more like extreme mental homogeneity. Once all those Muhammads gain control in Europe—as they seem quite likely to do—the residents of Marseille, Brussels, Antwerp et al should not expect too much in the way of diversity. The way twenty-first century Europe is shaping up, Orwell’s 1984 will look like a multicultural utopia in comparison.

Editor’s note: Pictured above is the public whipping of a man in Indonesia charged under Sharia law with unlawful contact of an unmarried man or woman. (Photo credit: AP.)

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 Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong; and Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Saint Austin Review, Investor’s Business Daily, and First Things. His work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation. For more on his work and writings, visit his website, turningpointproject.com

  • Steve Lee

    I keep telling people, when a Christian does bad things, he/she is a bad Christian. When a Muslim does bad things, he/she is a good Muslim. We all want to be like the founders of our religions. Buddhists want to be more like Buddha, Christians want to be more like Christ and Muslims want to be more like Mohammed, the perfect Muslim. Mohammed ordered the heads of rival chiefs to be chopped off, cut off peoples hands, had women who allegedly committed adultery to be stoned to death (I believe after she gave birth), married his wife Aisha when she was 6 years old but waited till she was 9 years old to have sexual relations with her, had sex slaves, had pet names for his swords/spears, had multiple wives, ordered that those who felt that Islam was perhaps a little too extreme and renounced the religion to be killed etc…….the list goes on. Scared? God, I hope so. ps I still want my bacon and eggs so I speak up. Its haram (forbidden) by the way.

    • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

      I must protest your inaccuracy about the life of Mohammed. You said he married Aisha when she was 6 years old but waited till she was 9 years old to have sexual relations. According to Islamic tradition he waited till she was 9 till he PENETRATED her, I’ll leave you to imagine the rest.

      • Steve Lee

        Lol.

      • Glenn M. Ricketts

        it would be the near occasion of sin.

  • TERRY

    Google ‘Sam Harris Los Angeles Times September 18, 2006’

  • GG

    Thank you for another excellent essay. Well done as usual.

    If I am understanding this issue it seems that the thinking is that Islam is whatever one says it is unless one does not like what an Islamist is doing and then you say that is not Islam.

    If that is the standard then Islam is anything and nothing. Seems nuts.

  • Daniel P

    If Islam is homogeneous and vile, then why are all the Muslim students I have taught — and I have taught many — courteous, respectful, thoughtful, and modest?

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      No offense Daniel, but what do they have to say about the daily reports of bombings, honor killings, beheadings, floggings, stonings, gang rapes, fatwahs and persecutions of Christians and Jews in other parts of the world? I’ve also taught such students, but I think it’s necessary to step outside of the familiar and very untypical circumstances you describe. If I happen to walk through a high crime area without being mugged, I shouldn’t conclude too hastily that everyone else’s claims are imaginary.

      • Daniel P

        I live in Detroit, neighbor to Dearborn, the Muslim capital of the Midwest. Anyone who believes in those things you just listed is being very quiet about it. Do you take their silence as implied support for such practices? Why?

        I teach ethics. If my Muslim students really believed in such barbaric practices, why would they vocally support mainstream Western ethical judgments — except about things like pornography, on the subject of which they have my agreement?

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          Well if there were Catholic pro-life extremists who saw no alternative except to start bombing abortion clinics, I can’t imagine that you or I would be silent about it – I’d feel the duty to condemn such tactics. In any case, I can’t read your students’ minds or discern their motives otherwise. But again, I would not take them or my own students as typical in any case. I also teach non-Muslim students from Africa, India and Asia and have been struck by how often they refer to Islamic believers as fanatics, extremists, etc. I often experience what I call “you Americans” moments from such students, to the effect that we simply “don’t get it” when it comes to Islamic extremism.

          But what about the behavior I described in my previous post – why do you say that it occurs?

          • Daniel P

            There is EXACTLY the same justification for bombing abortion clinics as there is for bombing strategic targets in Syria. In fact, there is more justification, since you are less likely to hit an innocent target in an abortion clinic. If we are to condemn the views of people who think the ends justify the means, we ought to condemn all of them equally.

            I don’t deny that many — perhaps most — Muslims have seriously flawed moral views. But most American secularists, and many American Christians and Jews, have seriously flawed moral views too.

            I think we should separate this from the question of whether the Koran is a bad — and toxic — book. The Koran might be toxic (I haven’t read it, so I don’t know), but that doesn’t mean that all Muslims should be painted with the same brush.

            • MillerJM

              like all those nuns blowing up mosques. or franciscans who hijack planes. or all those legion of mary folks stoning adulterors. please. you operate on a myth.

              • Daniel P

                I think supporting legalized pornography or drugs is just as serious a moral flaw as supporting bombings or stonings. Moreover, I don’t think Christianity would support the notion that stoning adulterers is intrinsically wrong. Quite the contrary: such a method is endorsed by the old covenant, as is the wholescale destruction of cultures antithetical to Judaism.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  Yes, but we left the old covenant behind long, long ago, didn’t we? And those still bound by it haven’t been stoning anyone for at least the last 1,000 years, either.

                  • Daniel P

                    But we acknowledge that the Old Covenant was JUST. We never repudiated it; we internalized it, by having it written on our hearts. The problem with groups who haven’t internalized it is that they haven’t met Jesus. It’s not that they are evil in some sort of special way.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      We acknowledge that it was indeed revealed by the One True God, who then sent His son to redeem us under the “new and eternal covenant.” Apart from that observation, I’m not following what you’re saying here.

                • Paul

                  Legalizing pornography and drugs has nothing to do with our Faith, it’s a secularist agenda.
                  Moreover, you brought up stoning adulterers as an endorsement by the old covenant is completely misplaced. Did Jesus not step in to save a sinful woman from being stoned ?The old covenant which you are speaking of is part of the Mosaic laws. jesus was always at pains to point us back to the beginning which means the 10 Commandments of which one is : Thou shall not kill.

                • tom

                  Catholicism has been feminized and doesn’t stand for much, anymore. As soon as it happened, the pedophile crimes began to explode while the Church lionized characters like Ted Kennedy, Biden and Pelosi.

                • “I think supporting legalized pornography or drugs is just as serious a moral flaw as supporting bombings or stonings.”

                  That is so confused that I fear for the young skulls full of mush that you play any role in develioping.

                  The problem is that pornography is abtract and indefinite and stoning and bombing is not.

                  • St JD George

                    Plus one can eventually be saved, seek forgiveness and repent for their former sins once recognized and accepting Christ as their savior. Try doing that after you’re been blown to bits.

                  • Daniel P

                    Bombs destroy the body. Pornography destroys the soul.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Yes, but you can’t combat bombings by simply pulling the plug – I don’t see the moral equivalence.

                    • Daniel P

                      Huh?

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Sorry if I wasn’t clear – pulling the plug on the computer where most viewers of pornography seek such entertainment.

                    • Daniel P

                      But the moral severity of an action is not determined by the ease with which one puts a stop to that action.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Correct, but that wasn’t my point. The decision or inclination to view pornography involves contingent circumstances where individual choice can be the determining factor. Bombings involve many other actors, variables and consequences that are beyond that more circumscribed moral zone attached to pornography. Both entail great evil, but the decisions of the moral actor strike me as fundamentally different. To equate them I think will confuse many at best.

                    • Daniel P

                      I agree that individual choice is a factor in (many of) those victimized by viewing pornography, whereas individual choice is not usually a factor in a person being blown up. But supporting legalized porn is like supporting the manufacture of bombs. There are no unwilling victims in the *manufacture* of bombs. It would be better if porn — and bombs — did not exist.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      But no one here is supporting legalized porn, Daniel, just trying to keep moral categories as clear as possible. You’re right on both counts, regarding the existence of bombs and porn. But since they do exist and will continue to, we must try to provide moral clarity for confused souls, right?

                    • Daniel P

                      I’m not quite sure what we’re arguing about. Bombs can at least achieve good ends, whereas porn cannot. Porn does not end a life; bombs do. Bombs and porn are different, but both bad.

                      Let’s just leave it there.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      If you like. But I wasn’t aware that we were arguing about anything so much as I was confused by your apparent equation of two largely dissimilar categories.

                    • We’re arguing about your insane and extraneous idea that murder is a lesser crime than pornography. I have it on good authority that Satan was a murderer from the beginning, not a pornographer.

                    • And so do bombs, unless you think the bomber has none.
                      Enough with your syncretic equivocation.

                    • Daniel P

                      “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”

                    • You could try the patience of a Saint and I’m no Saint.
                      Murder kills souls.
                      What is wrong with you?

                • HA

                  Islam, in general, has no problem with pornography (or indeed, sex slavery), as long as it involves “kaffir” women, though admittedly, the verses that endorse sex-slavery must be extrapolated to make them fit. Westerners snicker at Osama bin Laden’s porn stash and the 9/11 hijackers visits to strip clubs, and regard these as hypocrisy, but there is no evidence that any of those men regarded such activities as sinful or haram.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              But Daniel, I said nothing at all about a rationale for bombing abortion clinics, nor did I address the purported moral deficiencies of Muslims. I simply speculated that if there actually were bombings of abortion clinics by Catholic pro-life extremists, they would likely be condemned at this page and others with a similar editorial orientation would attract a swarm of condemnation. Wouldn’t you agree?

              • Daniel P

                Sure. But that’s not the relevant point. The article attacks the notion that Islam is diverse. I know that Islam IS diverse, because I’m surrounded by Muslims who oppose Islamic extremism.

                Mr. Kilpatrick seems to be saying that these people aren’t “really” Muslim. But that involves a sort of strange essentialism about what is and is not a Muslim. It’s much simpler to say that Islam is diverse, rather than defining away all diversity by saying “those people aren’t really Muslim.”

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  How much can one accurately extrapolate though, from the more affluent suburbanites you encounter in your classes? As I said, I have also taught moire than a few students who experienced the unpleasant aspects of jihad directly, and were obliged to flee their homelands – especially Nigeria – as a result. I think that experience is unfortunately much more common than the rather select subset you’re describing ijn Michigan.

                • “I know that Islam IS diverse, because I’m surrounded by Muslims who oppose Islamic extremism.”

                  No, you are surrounded by Muslims who tell you or give outward indication of that opposition; you have no idea what they think or who they support, especially when you aren’t around.

                  They used to call a certain identification with captors “Stockholm Syndrome”. You might be afflicted with a variant: “Dearborn Delusion”.

                  • HA

                    Comment deleted.

                • HA

                  …I’m surrounded by Muslims who oppose Islamic extremism.

                  What, to you, is an acceptable number of devout Muslims who endorse Islamic extremism? One in ten? One in a quarter? Either of those figures would be alarming, and yet would still be compatible with the claim that the vast majority of Muslims (especially those not so devout, which gets us to the heart of the matter) are law abiding and peaceful.

                  One does not need very many suicide bombings or beheadings to make a lasting impression, especially if a sizable chunk of the remaining Muslims and their spokesmen seem more worried about Islamophobia that might arise from such acts than they are about the dismembered bodies.

            • ” The Koran might be toxic (I haven’t read it, so I don’t know), ”

              Yet you feel quite comfortable questioning the judgments of those that have-why is that?

          • MillerJM

            name some catholic pro life extremists. please. you operate on a myth. your argument has no weight. how many abortion clinics have been bombed anyway? then which one of them were catholics? good luck finding some. maybe, maybe you might find a couple from the last 20 years. i cant think of any, but lets just say you do. are you really going to compare 2 out of 2 billion to what is happening in islam? because you’re going to look silly.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              You misread my comment: NONE has been bombed by any pro-life Catholics, as a matter of fact. My suggestion to Daniel was that if that did come to pass wouldn’t you, he and I be up front at this web site condemning it?

          • tom

            Interesting. If Catholic zealots blew up a Nazi extermination camp would you oppose that, too? What’s the difference with respect to 55 million dead babies and tens of millions of mother-victims of this EVIL?

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              Perhaps we should avoid hyperbole or dubious analogies? I’d have to think long and hard about the one, not at all about the other. Let’s try to keep the discussion serious, eh?

              • tom

                “Brave” bloggers fighting the deluge of Islamization with keypads is hardly serious. This is simply a bull session. A moment of silence for the 55,000,000 babies being incinerated in America may be in order, though. No?

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  Seriously, what are you suggesting that we do? I thought it was a useful exchange of views, do you have an alternative in mind? I’ll happily join you in the moment of silence. My pro-life witness, as I’m sure yours does also, certainly extends beyond that.

        • GG

          Their silence is hardly a virtue.

          • tom

            How many Muslim-Americans are in the USMC? That’s telling, as another Islamic law forbids taking arms vs. another Muslim. .

        • JP

          When I lived in Germany, the Turkish minority assimilated so well into the German mainstream that one wouldn’t know they were Turks except for their skin color. I think the same could be said for the generation of Muslims who first emigrated from Pakistan to the UK. Most were thankful to live in prosperous, peaceful nation.

          However, problems seem to occur when Muslims approach critical demographic mass. The older, wiser Muslims want nothing to do with the younger radical Imans in Europe. Yet, that radicalism is exactly what attracts the younger crowd. From news reports around the world, ISIS is staffed with thousands of European and North American young Muslims; they are the ones doing much of the killing.

        • Google “Taquiyya”.

    • GG

      Is this evidence that Islam does not teach violence?

      • Daniel P

        No. It is evidence that Islam is not homogeneous, and that many Muslims are not taught to be violent.

        • Since you never read the Koran (or the Hadith) how to you know what is taught? Maybe some just ignore what they are taught.

      • jacobhalo

        The Koran is full of violence. Quran 9:29 – Fight against Christians and Jews until they pay tribute readily. Quran 4:91 – If the unbelievers do not offer you peace, kill them wherever you find them. Quran 9:7-9 – Do no make treaties with non-Muslims. The are all evil doers. Quran 9:12-14 – Fight the disbelievers. Quran 9:5 – Kill the non-believers wherever you find them. Quran 5:51 – Do no take the Jews and Christians for friends.

    • Proteios

      As a fellow academic, I notice two things in the student population:
      1. you select a subset of all Muslims who are more educated and seeking a worldy education. This is changing as the well dries in china and india of the top students and those countries begin to have offering to make students stay.
      2. The more recent ones are coming with money from mulsim governments. These students are more and more traditional and that is starting to show. With these students comes less of the ideal that they are in a foreign country and need to be respectful. More and more the value is, ‘why are you not accommodating me?’

      these trends are evident and perhaps also associated with a critical mass being reached. The handfuls of students feel a bit self conscious in a foreign land and often behave more consistent with fitting in. As the numbers increase, so do their imposing foreign values and foreign baggage that they come with. We are on the cusp of cost ovverruns in dealing with the inherent plagiarism, deceptive scientific practices and other personal issues that cost time and money from these students. They need alot of hand-holding.

      • Daniel P

        This has not been my experience. I actually prefer the more traditional Muslims, since they — unlike the rest of my students — truly can explain why things like pornography are wrong, and they also have helpful and evocative explanations of why feminism might be a very bad philosophy.

        • I can get the same explanations from the Amish who live next to me, and they don’t marry off their pre-pubsecent daughters ro middle-aged men.

    • St JD George

      I guess you’ve never heard of Taqiyya. Obviously not everyone has the stomach for carnage like their prophet preaches, so those who are more civilized I’m sure find it easier to ignore the passages that call on them to be savages to infidels. The deafening silence in response to their brothers who do hear the call and follow the teachings speaks volumes as well.

    • Charles Shea

      Daniel, I teach theology at a Catholic university and I have also taught many Muslim students. My experience has been the same as yours. I find them to be not only respectful and thoughtful, but also consistent allies to Catholic faith the classroom. I have never once had a Muslim student disparage Catholic faith. In fact, they are nearly always more interested in Christianity than the lukewarm Catholic. Thanks for sharing your experience!

      • tom

        Views from the Ivory Tower are always amusing.

      • “I teach theology at a Catholic university ”

        Thats hardly a declaration of bona fides these days.

    • Steve Lee

      The problem is when the second/third generation delve deeper into the religion, they realize what Mohammed truly was like. They then want to be more like him and follow his example. They become your ISIS fighters who are by comparison with Mohammed, the perfect Muslim. Furthermore, should any one of your exemplary well behaved students decide that perhaps Islam was perhaps a little too extreme for them and choose to turn their backs on the cruelty personified by Mohammed and Islam, THEY WILL BE KILLED. The word is APOSTACY. Almost all Islamic scholars agree that anyone who has a single Muslim parent, and who renounces Islam must be killed. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. If anyone converts to Islam and then later renounces the religion, WILL BE KILLED. This is clearly against the United Nations freedom of religion. In Islam, there is no choice.

    • jacobhalo

      Of course not all Muslims are terrorists, but virtually all terrorists are Muslims. Supposedly, 7% to 10% of Muslims are fundamentalists. That would be 70 million to 100 million people. That number could cause much destruction.

    • If Islam is homogeneous and vile, then why are all the Muslim students I have taught — and I have taught many — courteous, respectful, thoughtful, and modest?

      Because they aren’t in control (yet)?

      I have an idea for you, don’t make judments about ANY religion, philosophy or polity from the public behavior of schoolchildren.

    • HA

      “If Islam is homogeneous and vile, then why are all the Muslim students I have taught…courteous, respectful, thoughtful, and modest?”

      Given that you start off with a straw man argument (are bad-faith rhetorical tactics discussed in your Catholic ethics course?), I’m not sure why I should bother with the rest of your comment, but here goes. Has anyone here claimed that no Muslim is capable of being courteous, and polite, etc., and if so, can you be more specific?

      Also, keep in mind that Soviet-educated elites who similarly chose to take a Catholic ethics course decades ago, and who also seemed polite and urbane and thoughtful and worldly in comparison with their American counterparts, ultimately meant little as to the dangers of Marxism considered as a whole.

      Likewise, university elites who find their fellow academics and students from Latin America to be well-educated, and blessedly free of gang affiliations and social dysfunction that unduly burden our welfare system, are not well situated to understand the impact that illegal immigration has on the nation as a whole.

      If any of that seems a puzzle to you, I suggest you supplement your Catholic ethics expertise with a study of the notion of what representative sample means, and the dangers of extrapolating from anecdotal evidence.

      • Daniel P

        The author is claiming that Islamic diversity is a myth, and that Islam is a vile religion. Thus, the phrase “if Islam is homogeneous and vile…” is NOT a straw man. It is the stated position of the author.

        • HA

          It is indeed a straw man given your cartoonishly extreme definition of homogeneity.

          On the contrary, the author explains what he means by homogeneity thusly: “Whenever Sharia is fully implemented around the world today … it looks largely the same: freedom of speech is restricted, women and non-Muslims are denied…”

          Nowhere does the author make the claim that all Muslims around the world everywhere, regardless of their devotion to sharia, are incapable of courtesy and civility. As such, your students’ behavior is irrelevant. If you cannot understand that distinction, you have no business teaching them or anyone else.

          • Daniel P

            “If you cannot understand that, you have no business teaching them or anyone else.”

            If I have a problem with overstatement, apparently I’m not the only one.

            • HA

              OK, we’ll add ‘evasive nonresponsiveness’ and ‘fond of non sequiturs’ alongside straw man arguments when enumerating what is in you bag of rhetorical tricks. If that ethics gig doesn’t work out for you, I’d stay away from coaching debate teams.

  • What of the Sufi?

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      There aren’t very many of them, and they are usually subject to severe persecution and condemnation as heretics. In Islam, that charge carries some very significant consequences.

      • The very fact that there are heretics worth killing who also claim to be Islamic, shows that there is diversity in Islam, even if the Sunni and Shi’a are trying to wipe them, and each other, out.

        Thus the diversity is not a myth. But it is not good news either, because to those who believe in a single definition of Islam, regardless of flavor, it is their duty to insure that by violence. If we had done the same against our own heretics, per has Europe would still be Christian.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          I’d prefer to call it perhaps “deviation,” not “diversity,” something on the order of Samdeminians or some of the other more obscure sects of Christianity. “Diversity” for me would consist in say, a major challenge from an established school of exegetes to the Isis take on the Qur’an or the Hadith, and so far that hasn’t occurred.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              I’m not sure how you intend this to address the question here. Which of these various theological schools takes major issue with the approach to jihad currently practiced by ISIS, Hezbollah, islamic Jihad, etc., etc? Whatever their variations, I think they are still mostly in the grip of the Ash’ arite theology which has dominated Islamic theologians since the 12th century.

              • Near as I can tell from the fat was issued, the only people who do not have a problem with ISIS specific theology is ISIS. They are not Islamic by the standards of ANY other school.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  Has anyone specifically condemned them? What about the other groups, who’ve in business for far longer?

                  • Loads have condemned ISIS. And I’m not sure what you mean by “In business far longer”, but many other terrorist organizations have condemned ISIS as well:
                    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/09/25/muslims_scholars_open_letter_to_isis_baghdadi_caliphate_s_actions_against.html http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/american-muslim-organizations-condemn-isis-murder-of-journalist-james-foley/0020275 http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2014/08/muslim-leaders-join-in-condemnation-of-isis/
                    Do pay attention to those dates- many of these happened months ago.

                    And before ISIS existed: http://kurzman.unc.edu/islamic-statements-against-terrorism/

                    There was over a decade of Islamics shouting against terrorism. But that doesn’t make for good mass media coverage, so they were not covered.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      By “other groups” I was referring to others who have been engaged in some pretty violent stuff long before the appearance of ISIS. In any case, I don’t think we’re talking simply about ISIS. Many of the floggings, beheadings or death sentences for blasphemy are aided and abetted by governments, as in Pakistan recently. ISIS is only the latest installment of behavior and policies that are of much longer standing. I am personally acquainted with several former Muslims who have felt the need to change their names and remain in hiding – having converted to Christianity, they fear for their lives, and it long pre-dates the controversy over ISIS.

                    • The only thing I was arguing against was the idea that Islam in monolithic. That their values are different than ours- especially the role of man in creation- is not in dispute, and is a huge part of the problem.

                      But there have been many, many, more peaceful sects of Islam despite that.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      I wish I could wholly concur – I do in part. But sadly, I think that the sword has been part of Islam’s methods and expansion from the very outset. ISIS is not inconsistent with that long history of conquest and violence, against both infidels and other Muslims.

                    • I never said it wasn’t; and in fact, most of the more peaceful and tolerant forms of Islam are relatively recent in comparison. ISIS, despite being condemned by many, many Sunni groups, is Sunni through and through in their theology.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      I know you didn’t, and we agree. I guess my point was that, despite the varieties within Islam – “diversity,” if you like – the militant, violent forms of Jihad have been a recurrent, almost constant feature from the beginning, as you also acknowledge here.

                      By the way, it’s been a productive exchange, so thanks for the lively dialogue.

                • Sounds a lot like the defenders of socialism who always complain that every implementation of socialism is inauthentic.

                  • Yep. Including the mutually incompatible Russian and Chinese varieties.

        • MillerJM

          you can hardly call three flavors diversity. if you walked into baskin robbins and they only had 3 flavors, i am sure you wouldnt be going on about what a selection they have. the other problem you have is that just because there are a few doesnt mean they are that different. are you suggesting the diversity in islam is like different colors? i would contend it is more like shades of grey. again, is that really diverse?

        • This is a lame defense of Islam. What they have in common is a denial of the Trinity, and that is tie that binds.

          • Hmm, an interesting thought that. But that is incorrect: The Alawhari do not deny the Trinity, neither do the Druze.

            If there was one attribute of God they all deny, I’d say it was the rationality of God.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              Those sects are rather marginal, though, and are to the larger denominations as Mormonism is to Christianity: problematic at the very least.

              • Once again, my point is that they exist, and therefore we can’t say “all deny the trinity”, because some don’t.

                Though, I suspect that if ISIS has their way, one day all will deny the trinity- even what few Catholics survive under their thumb.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  I don’t disagree. I just think one needs to be careful that the exception doesn’t prove the rule. The two sects that you mention aren’t exactly welcome in Tehran or Riyadh, either.

                  • Which is exactly why they need to be protected and supported, because in this case, if we are not careful, the exception will prove the rule and they will be extinct.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Yes, they need every encouragement, as well as protection.

            • The Koran is very specific about Christ. If these other groups accept the Trinity, they are pseudo-Islamic, much like the LDS are pseudo-Christian

              • More like the way Lutherans and Baptists are pseudo Christian. Or Catholics for that matter, we don’t stone our rebellious children either.

                • Lutherans and Baptists do not disagree with us on the nature of God.

                  Your comment about stoning is extraneous.

                  Is there a full moon animating you and Daniel P?

                  • Stoning rebellious children is in the Bible. Those who ignore Leviticus should not criticize Muslims who ignore Sura 14.

                    Druze and Alwahari agree with us on the Nature of God, and are no less Islam than we are not Christian for ignoring the book of Leviticus.

                    • “Druze and Alwahari agree with us on the Nature of God, and are no less Islam.”

                      No, THIS is Islam. I have no idea what sort of syncretic mess Druze and Alwahari are given these injunctions, nor do I care since they are insignificant in number.

                      “The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was no more than God’s apostle . . . God is but one God. GOD FORBID THAT HE SHOULD HAVE A SON!” (4:171)

                      “Those who say: ‘The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,’ preach a monstrous falsehood, at which the very heavens might crack…” (19:88)

                      “They say: ‘God forbid that He Himself should beget a son!’ ” (19:29-)

                      “They say: ‘Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom . . .’ ” (17:111)

                      “They say: ‘God has begotten a son.’ God forbid! Self-sufficient is He.’ ” (10:68)

                      Apparently the Druze are less Muslim than LDS are Christian.

                    • Do you believe in everything in Leviticus?

                    • I eat Cheeseburgers too; in case you haven’t caught up, I’m Catholic, not Seventh Day Adventist.

                    • In which case, why do you think that the Alwahari and the Druze aren’t Islamic merely because they reject portions of the Koran, when you reject portions of the Bible?

                    • Are you really this confused?

                    • No,you are apparently. You think Catholics are Christian when we don’t believe every little verse taken out of context from the Bible; but somehow the Alwahari aren’t Islamic because they treat the Koran exactly the same.

                      Over 3000 fatwas have been issued against Islamic Terrorists condemning their actions, yet you seem to have read none of them.

                      I agree with Steve Lee below when he writes “when a Christian does bad things, he/she is a bad Christian. When a Muslim does bad things, he/she is a good Muslim”. I would not consider the Alwahari to be good Muslims, and with their view of sin, they’d agree. But they do make better Christians than some of us who generalize.

                    • You don’t seem to understand that we were released from these dictums by the Son of God that Islam denies.

                    • And once again, not all of Islam denies the Son of God.

                      Some do, some don’t, some have no opinion on the matter. Just like any other sola scriptura religion.

                      We believe we were released from these dictums by the Son of God (despite Christ himself claiming the opposite in Matthew 5:17-20, of course- he did not come to abolish the law, but rather to fulfill it).

                      Muslims often believe something worse- they believe that God reveals something different to every human being, every generation. Allah is not sane, is not rational by human standards. An Islamic can’t even count on the sun coming up tomorrow. Which is why I wrote what I did above.

                    • You just can’t seem to understand in your desperate and disordered search for Islamic redemption,that for a Muslim to accept Jesus as God ipso facto makes them some sort heretic. I know the LDS like to call themselves Christian, too- but they aren’t.

                    • All Islamics are heretics, especially to competing Islamic Groups. That is a given.

                    • Objectively.
                      I’m not taking sides in their internecine wars. I’m busy in ours.

                    • And because we do not understand the enemy, we will lose our most likely allies who could have helped. Like the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Yazadi, and the alarwarhi. If ISIS forms a Caliphate, a real one, all bets are off, we could lose Rome itself. So we do not have the luxury of merely ignoring their internecine war, doing so could well be disastrous.

                    • Oh I understand it well. It’s you who seems to think that many pretty colors matter when all the berries are poisonous.

                    • I believe when a Christian ceases to believe Jesus is the son of God, he or she ceases to be Christian.
                      When a Muslim ceases to believe Jesus is merely a Prophet, he cases to be Muslim.
                      There are things that are defining attributes. Dogs bark and cats meow, if they do something else, they are something else.
                      Now the question is: are you in one of those “I gotta have the last word” tantrums, again?
                      Have at it, I’m tired of this nonsense.

                    • The first is true. The second is not, because that isn’t the meaning of what it is to be a muslim.

                    • Nonsense.

                    • Thanks for making it clear that you are that confused.

                    • Once again, you can’t seem to distinguish between the periphery and a fundamental tenet.

                    • To the Alwahari, Jihad is a periphery, not a fundamental tenet. To millions of modernists five pillar Muslims, Jihad is a primitive, discounted doctrine of the Caliphs. And to them, ISIS is not a new Caliphate, it’s an illegitimate government.

                      That the six pillar Muslims hold Jihad as a fundamental tenet is rather recent- about 200 years old. It’s a Muwahiddun tenet. They are the libertarian unitarians of the Islamic world, every man and his Allah for himself.

                      ISIS is actually older- it’s a Caliphate. Jihad to ISIS is organized- centralized- for all of its brutality. ISIS are actually five pillar Muslims, Jihad to them is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. Just as it was for the earliest Caliphates.

                      Not that it matters to those being beheaded to create the new great Caliphate; but I fear ISIS less than I fear al Qaida. If my neighbor is ISIS, he has to travel to the other side of the world to properly join the battle. If my neighbor is al Qaida, any insult could set him off into a very deadly personal jihad.

                    • I don’t reject portions of the Bible, because the BIble is both the new and old law. I don’t reject the Divinity of Christ.

                    • If you accept the divinity of Christ, then you reject “salvation by law” of the Pharisees, which is part of the Old Law.

                    • Yes. That’s why I don’t follow Mosaic law.
                      I realize you are in one of your autistic tantrums, but the point of getting the last word is to make it sensible.

                    • Do you go to Church on Sunday? This is beyond silly.

                    • It is what you are insisting to be Islam. I’m saying the same rules apply for Islam as for Christianity.

                    • No, you are excusing Islam.

                    • Last I checked, it was spare the rod, not spare the stone.

                    • :-). Yes, it was. But they didn’t have many rods available in the desert.

                    • Then use a cactus.

      • Steve Lee

        Nevertheless, the fact is they all kill with religious fervor. That unites them.

        • The Sufi are extreme pacificsts, so no, they do not “all kill”, but Mr Rickets is right, the sects that do not are in danger of extermination from the sects that do.

          • Stephen Schwartz was a convert to Sufism, and he was just as imperious and supercessionist as any Sunni or Shia.

            • Do you have a link to him beheading somebody?

              • No, and I didn’t say I did, so why would ask?

                • You said “he was just as imperious and supercessionist as any Sunni or Shia.”

                  Well, when Sunni and Shia get supercessionist, they start beheading people.

                  • He was. I did battle with that arrogant a** a decade ago. Imperious and supercessionist are attitudes; not synonyms for murder.

                    • When you say “as any Sunni or Shia”, it is. Because for many of them, those attitudes DO result in murder, because that is the duty of Jihad.

                    • Remember Susan Powder? Stop the madness.
                      No, indulging those attitudes is what causes beheadings.

                    • I am pointing out that for Sunni and Shia theology, those attitudes *require* beheadings.

                      But not necessarily for ALL Islamics. Or all Muslims. In other words, my only point in this discussion is to be against absolutism.

                    • “I am pointing out that for Sunni and Shia theology, those attitudes *require* beheadings.”
                      Then Sufis are merely pseudo-Muslim.

                      “In other words, my only point in this discussion is to be against absolutism.”

                      Rather amusing, given your tendency to be absolutist on everything other than Islam.

                    • I’m not absolutist on Christianity either, other than to insist that Catholicism is the best form of it.

                    • You are an absolutist on technology and finance; and to the extent that you think your ideas are orthodox, you are an absolutist on Christianity.

                    • I’m no fundamentalist though. I don’t believe every word of the Bible is necessarily the word of God because I have a personal relationship with The Word of God. Why would Islamics who are *not* in the sects that believe they are people of the book be any different?

                    • Why don’t you ask them, and I suggest you listen to the impassioned Chaldean Catholic who called Father Pacwa today.

                    • I’m well familiar with the Chaldean Catholic story. I’m as against ISIS as you are.

                      I’m just also against being a culturalist when the facts don’t back it up.

                      The fact of the matter is, Druze soldiers have fought against ISIS on the part of Israel.

                      The fact is even al Qaida has objected to the treatment ISIS has given the Chaldean Christians (their views of God are different, al Qaida objects to the existence of the Caliph).

                      I have MET Alwahari who have turned in their own children to the FBI for being too fundamentalist; there’s an Alwahari Mosque not a mile away from my house here in Beaverton, and I’ve talked to the Imam about the Trinity and the role of Mary and the Rosary (yes, the Rosary is used in their daily prayers).

                      So, I just urge you to learn more. And finally, NONE of this should stop us from doing whatever it takes to stop ISIS- because if we don’t, who will?

                    • Maybe you are the one that needs some learning, don’t stop at your personal acquaintances-read the 14 centuries of Mohameddan misery.

                      “I’ve talked to the Imam about the Trinity”
                      It’s sad when somebody’s being recruited and can’t see it.

                    • I was trying to recruit him, so I guess we’re evenly matched. 🙂 He marches with the Knights of Columbus in 40 days for Life.

                      One of his congregants became somewhat famous around here- turned in his radical son to the FBI.

                    • This is still personal acquaintance that does nothing to erase the historic record.

                    • The question raised by the article, is Islam diverse TODAY, not historically.

                      For the first 15 centuries of Christianity, there were only a handful of orthodox denominations. That changed with Martin Luther, today there are 30,000 denominations of Christianity.

                      Why do you find it so hard to believe that the same has happened to Islam? It is, after all, the main complaint of every Islamic terrorist group I’ve ever heard of that it has happened to Islam. It’s the excuse they use to kill everybody else.

                    • Apart from the desperate search among the weeds for some green shoot that will exhonerate Islam, because such a shoot proves there is “diversity”, who cares?
                      Show me anything good that Islam has produced. And by good, I don’t mean a few polite or civil practitioners.

                    • The topic of this article is “the myth of Islam’s diversity”. My only intent is to show that Islam is actually diverse, in theology and discipline, not that it is good.

                      I don’t believe that Protestants are good, so why should I believe Islamics, who share the same chaotic view of scripture as Protestants, are good?

                      On that I have a tendency to agree with Pope Benedict and Emperor Maximilian. All the good in Islam comes from Christianity and Judaism, there is nothing that Islam offers that is unique and good.

                    • It isn’t nearly as “diverse” as you’d like to believe, based on your personal experiences and acquaintance with some insignificant syncretic sects.

                    • But neither is it as monolithic as you’d like to believe with your use of the word “all” above.

                    • Geez, you really can be pachycephalic.

                    • It is, after all, a trait of my mental illness to be so. Both a gift and a curse

                    • It’s not just ISIS, ISIS is just the latest episode.

                    • I’m also against every other terrorist group. But I’d point out, so are wide swaths of the Islamic world.

                    • Islam is a petri dish for terrorism.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          Not Sufi, as far as I can see – they’re very much afraid of BEING killed, though.

      • Who deleted our long discussion? I may have to repost the links I gave disproving this article. It is easy enough to find, with a little digging, muslim and Islamic groups that condemn the violence

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          Theodore, look again, it seems to have returned – it wasn’t there when I came to respond to your post but it is now. As i said earlier, thanks for that very productive exchange, it’s what makes this site worthwhile.

          • Good thing I didn’t have time to repost those links anyway, but I’m glad they didn’t go away. I really should do another Muwahiddun post on my own blog and explain WHY al Qaida is among the organizations that have a fatwa against ISIS. (Hint: it has to do with Wahhabist theology and the role of a Caliph).

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              Yes, it’s interesting to see two exceedingly violent sects go at it, although not surprising at all.

              • Especially, they’re arguably as close together as Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Catholicism- they’re both from Sunni roots (though, I’d argue it is al Qaida that has done the moral equivalent of rejecting the filoque, by tacking on individual jihad to make six pillars instead of five, ISIS is more in keeping with the traditional five pillars because they have a Caliph giving orders)

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  On the face of it, there’s actually not a great deal separating Sunnis and Shia either – the true successor of the Prophet – but they go after each other with ferocity, nevertheless.

                  • There is a bit more to it than that. Like with Christianity and the Jerusalem Church vs the Gentiles, the successor of the Prophet turns into, over the separation of the centuries, some very deep and esoteric theological differences. For that reason, though the Shi’a are easily as violent as the Sunni, the Muwahiddun theology could never have arisen from them, and is in fact opposed to their way of thinking (it’s hard to deny human authority when you have the descendant of the Prophet sitting in Tehran wearing a black turban as the symbol of the centralization of authority- much easier to deny human authority when all you have left of the great Caliphates is a very corrupt, but strong, Royal Family with monopolistic control over Mecca).

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Of course. But at the outset, the difference seemed more political than theological.

                    • So was the fight between James and Paul over circumcision, but over time, the difference deepened.

                      Then Christianity got the biggest boon that the Pagan Romans ever gave them- the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem ended the battle before it got violent- as Christ predicted.

                      The Islamics didn’t have that.

                      The difference now is VERY theological. The Caliphates were unable to keep power, leading to a massive difference in the view of Man’s relationship to Allah. To the Sunni, man is but a dog, to be ordered about. To the Shi’a, a man is a rational being and able to choose to cooperate with Allah (or not) thus the strong punishment for apostasy in Shi’a countries.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      All of which seems to be sufficient to incite them to bomb each other’s mosques regularly. Even so, there is some intermarriage in Iraq, perhaps surprisingly.

                    • It would have happened to Christianity too if the Romans had not wiped out the extended family of Christ.

                      It did eventually happen to Christianity, the history of Europe from 1500-1700 was basically the same process.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Although dynastic rivalries also intermingled with religious animosities in Europe.

                    • Yes, sometimes even among cousins. But at least until Martin Luther, there was actually canon law preventing battles between Thursday and Monday, as well as some pretty strong treatises on the morality of siege warfare.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      But by that time as well modern secular states had begun to emerge, larger, more unified and powerful, and giving short shrift to canonical restrictions.

      • Steve Lee

        Actually, Sufi can certainly be violent and extreme. The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization in no uncertain terms, Hassan al-Banna, was heavily influenced by Sufism as a youth in Mahmudiyya. He attended weekly Hadra and was a member of the al-Hassafiyya Sufi order.

        Ahmad Sirhindi (1564-1624) was a Sufi saint. He was always foaming at the mouth against Akbar’s policy of peace with the Hindus. He proclaimed himself the Mujaddid-i-alf-i-sdni, ‘renovator of the second millennium of Islam’. “Shariat can be fostered through the sword’ was the slogan he raised for his contemporaries.

        Islam and infidelity (kufr) contradict one another. To establish the one means eradicating the other, the coming together of these contradictories being impossible. Therefore, Allah has commanded his
        Prophet to wage war (jihad) against the infidels, and be harsh with them. The glory is Islam consists in the humiliation and degradation of infidels and infidelity. He who honours the infidels, insults
        Islam. Honouring (the infidels) does not mean that they are accorded dignity, and made to sit in high places. It means allowing them to be in our company, to sit with them, and talk to them. They should
        be kept away like dogs. If there is some worldly purpose or work which depends upon them, and cannot be served without their help, they may be contacted while keeping in mind all the time that they are not worthy of respect. The best course according to Islam is that they should not be contacted even for worldly purposes. Allah has proclaimed in his Holy Word (Quran) that they are his and his Prophet’s enemies. And mixing with these enemies of Allah and his Prophet or showing affection for them, is one of the greatest crimes…

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          All true, but can his violent streak be attributed to Sufism, or did he evolve later from say, contact with Salafists?

          • Steve Lee

            Hmmm, good question. However, his knowledge and practice of Sufism certainly did not stop his slide into violence and his embracement of terrorism. It would seem that the two are not as far apart as we would like to think.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              Perhaps it’s akin to the various “peace” movements during the late 1960s. They earnestly preached “nonviolence,” but threw plenty of bombs.

              • Steve Lee

                Or the flu. It usually kills a few but most survive until a particularly viral strain evolves (Spanish flu/bird flu) and then millions are wiped out. Lol. ps Despite all the reasons/excuses put forward by Muslim/”enlightened” western scholars/ politicians etc, I end up going back to the basics. What did Mohammed teach and what example did he show to his followers and the rest of the world? I mean are they saying not to follow his example and not to do the things that he did?

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  An additional problem is the fact that so many”enlightened” types haven’t actually taken so much as a glance at the Qu’ran, the Hadith or any of the canonical sources that ISIS, the Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah regularly cite as justification for their activities. They prefer the comforting self-deception that the “real” Islam is found among those attending Upper Manhattan cocktail parties, mixing with NY TImes writers like Kristof, etc.

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    80% of black American prison converts become Muslims not Christians. It is the religion of criminals founded by a criminal.

    • tom

      Islam filling a vacuum left by the deconstruction of Christianity( by judges, professors and/or Marxists) and the elimination of Western Civilization in Europe and North America. In the absence of having our own children, we need little Mohammeds in our neighborhoods. Feminism hasn’t helped and Islam is well immunized against such destructive zealotry undermining every family..

      • Jimmy

        American Christians are the most heavily armed people on earth.unfortunately they are in no way organized to protect their religion,people or country.They will be subjugated one at a time not enmasse.Christians must become more like Templars and less like Ghandi.

    • Behind bars, it’s not even a religion. It’s a gang that foments resentment and indignity.

  • JGradGus

    Some 126 Muslim scholars posted a letter to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi (ISIS leader) in September calling him a warmonger and criminal. It pointed out 24 specific things ISIS is doing that is forbidden by or contrary to Islam, including killing Christians and forcing people to convert to Islam. They reasons they gave seem to be pretty authoritative. http://lettertobaghdadi.com/pdf/Booklet-English.pdf

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      God bless them. Now let’s see what happens to them.

    • Thomas J. Hennigan

      Its called takiyia, meaning decepttion of “kafurs= (non muslims). It is pefectly “ethical” for muslims to lie to and deceive non muslims when the interests of Islam or jihad are at stake. Don’t believe anything that Islamic apolosgists say for Western consumption. Islam is totally dualistic: there is one way treating other muslims, and another of treating non muslims (mainly killing them or submitting them to a humiliiation poll tax or mafia style protection money).
      Another factor is that it is very likely that Islam has a very shakey historical basis. The Isamic narrative seems to have been cooked up more than 60 years after supposed death of Mahommad in order to give a theological basis to the immense Arabian empire which streched from India to Spain. For more on this see Robert Spencer´s “Did Mahommed exist?”.

      • Nostromo

        I actually think Islam is an evolution of the Arian heresy that got driven out to remote parts, like the desert, only to resurrect at the right time and place.
        Some think the treatment of heresies was a little harsh, but here’s an example of what evil could come out of them if not dealt with harshly.

        • tom

          Well said. there’s no question that Islam is a deadly Christian heresy.

          • TruthWFree

            No question? Muhammad had his own revelations, Satanic in my opinion, and he was influenced by the Christian heresies in Arabia but he was also exposed to the Jews and the Torah. I don’t think one can say Islam was just a Christian heresy because of all of the hate filled violent supposed revelations against Christians and Jews given to Muhammad by the allah god of the Quran. Don’t think the Christian heresies had any basis for violence, certainly not in the Gospels. Most related to whether Jesus was God and man or He was only a man or He was only divine.

        • AnneM040359

          Whose god is the devil under the name of allah.

          • TruthWFree

            That’s my conclusion also.

          • Allah is not the devil, he’s just utterly irrational and crazy.

            • AnneM040359

              Well Allah for certain is NOT the same God as the God of the Holy Bible, PERIOD.

              • That, after ecumenical dialog with the Islamic closest to me, I am certain is quite true. The God of the Bible is faithful and keeps his covenants. Allah does not.

      • TruthWFree

        Agreed. I’d no more trust a Muslim to tell me the truth than I would trust Obama to tell me the truth…but wait, that’s the same thing. 🙂

      • I would point out that the earliest Gospel we have, was written a good 40 years after Christ’s death.

    • Well, then it’s settled. Islam is benign. I’ll just ignore everything else it gives rise to and focus on one letter.

    • It may be persuasive; it’s not “authoritative”, because there is no clear authority in Islam.

    • HA

      They reasons they gave seem to be pretty authoritative.

      Why are your 126 scholars any more authoritative than the thousands of those hailing the new “Caliph”? As we are told so often, one of the advantages of Islam is its lack of earthly priests and mediators. Yes a group of Sunni-sponsored scholars will give a detailed refutation of Shia Islam, and vice versa, and they both may agree that Ismailis are heretics. Is that really relevant?

      Also, consider some of the reasons your link cites. For exmple, “It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat—in any way—Christians” and “It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights”. If you think those are hallmarks of Islam as it is practiced today, you are not paying attention.

  • mollysdad

    This article makes a very powerful case that the presence and activity of a large community of Muslims may be unobjectionable save for the fact that even their otherwise innocent practice of Islam is objectively and unavoidably dangerous to human life and property, to public safety and to national security.

    For all these reasons a legislator would be within his rights to ban and suppress the profession and practice of Islam by means of laws against sedition and blasphemy.

  • Scott W.

    “Under pressure, many Muslim scholars have felt obliged to condemn ISIS, but in doing so they weaken their claim that Islam is diverse. On the one hand, they contend that you can’t say that there is any one true Islam. On the other hand, they claim that ISIS is un-Islamic. But, of course, if you can’t say what Islam is, how can you say that something is un-Islamic? Obviously, Islam has to mean something. And if the Koran, the Hadith, and the example of Muhammad are the measure of authenticity, ISIS has as good a claim as any to represent the true Islam. ISIS leaders can quote chapter and verse from the Koran to justify their actions.”

    ^^That should be tattooed backwards on the forehead of every Islamophile so they can wake up and read it in the mirror every morining.

    • GG

      So true. As I said Islam apparently means whatever one claims it means. It is absurd.

      • tom

        Same with our crazed federal judges. They make it up as they go along.

        • GG

          True, some call them moral idiots.

      • Kind of like “diversity”.

  • St JD George

    When I read your title William I thought you meant it as a joke. The only diversity I was aware of were the different sects, and God help you if you wear the wrong sect colors in the wrong sect neighborhood, or else off with your head.

  • St JD George

    I pray for the souls of the young Christian family, including their unborn child, burned alive in a kiln in Pakistan this week for the crimes of diversity and being Christian.

    • tom

      Yet, the National Cathedral is thrilled that there will be a Muslim service held there. Episcopalians are dopey.

      • St JD George

        The NC has become a political edifice, with the alter of PC.

      • jacobhalo

        Pope John Paul II invited different religions to worship their gods in the St. Francis Cathedral.

  • Paul

    Although I understand what this essay is trying to say, I do wish all Christian countries would unite under one Catholic culture. The crucial difference between Christianity and Islam is while Christianity extols peace & forgiveness, Islam promotes violence.
    That said, we cannot criticise the daily beheadings in Saudi Arabia since we still retain the death penalty in the US. We need to remove capital punishment from the table before we can proceed to champion our Faith.

    • GG

      What? You think capital punishment in the USA is morally equal to sharia law?

      • tom

        Even Aquinas asserts the right of a society to defend itself from evil people. They murder prison guards, too, you know.

    • “We need to remove capital punishment”

      Apart from the obvious and acrid stench of seamless garment theology that permeates this statement, do tell me how mobs or individuals running about indiscriminately killing compares to the infrequent and long and tortuous road, with all of the legal roadnlocks that it entails that arrives at a quick and painless death reserved only for the worst monsters in society.

  • cestusdei

    Islam is consistent when it comes to oppressing others.

  • Nostromo

    When Aslan states “The abiding nature of scripture rests not so much in its truth claims as it does in its malleability, its ability to be molded and shaped into whatever form a worshipper requires”, maybe he’s just paraphrasing Chaucer, that there are many roads to Mecca.

  • Guest

    Islam’s diversity throughout history is tremendous. The contemporary tenor of things within the Islamic world is due in no small part to the collapse of the institutions that had defined Islamic praxis in the Near East throughout the Early Modern period (tariqa sufism, Ottoman jurisprudence, etc) and the rise of other movements and ideas to fill the vacuum. Of course there are particular elements in the Islamic tradition that have been repackaged, creatively, to serve the ends and goals of the extremists. But it is simply idle and ignorant to deny the tremendous diversity of Islam, both in contemporary practice and throughout its long history; in fact such a denial plays into the hands of the various extremist movements. Intellectually, if there is anything that we can do to help the Islamic world get its house in order, it is what Popes JP2, Benedict, and Francis have done: namely, to encourage and seek engagement with reasonable and pragmatic elements in the Islamic world, and identify the other elements for what they are–opportunistic, irrational perversions of a religious tradition.

    As one of the “professors at Catholic colleges” so frequently maligned by Mr Kilpatrick, I studied Islamic history in graduate school, and I have designed and taught my own courses on various aspects of Islamic history and civilization. It’s extremely obnoxious to me that a journalist with an obviously superficial knowledge level feels free to indulge in sweeping condemnations of professors (and prelates) who don’t share his attitudes. He frequently accuses them of “not having the courage” to confront “Islam” for “what it really is.” Maybe we just know a lot more about it than he does!

    • GG

      What is it you know?

      • Guest

        More than one would get from gleaning a few popular polemics.

        • GG

          Such as?

          • Guest

            What do you mean, “such as”? How about “such as the things I mentioned in my original post”? Like the rise of 20th-century scripturalist movements within Islam that fundamentally altered the landscape of religious praxis, or the rise of jurisprudential philosophies that were filling a vacuum created by the collapse of the Ottomans and the discrediting of colonialism? Like that? I teach courses about this stuff. I already mentioned that. What’s your point? Mine is that the “diversity of Islam” is not a myth, it’s a reality that’s glaringly obvious to anyone who’s ever studied it seriously. Obviously journalists who don’t study these things seriously will continue to have an audience as long as there are people on the internet who want to buy what they’re selling. Whatever.

            • Steve Lee

              Still they kill, all Muslims that is. eg the Urghers in China, the Chechens in Russia, ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Abu Sayyad in the Phillipines, riots in Sweden, the attempted killing of Danish cartoonists and blowing up the Danish embassy, terrorism in America and Britain etc, The list goes on and on and on, all in the name of Islam. Oh and by the way when they aren’t killing others, they are killing one another, Sunni vs Shia.

              • Glenn M. Ricketts

                Whatever else changes, that seems to be the constant, unfortunately.

              • GG

                Apparently, our overlords assert that is because of colonialism and poverty.

                Some one ought to inform the Saudi government. Apparently, they missed that lecture.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              What shall we think of all of the stonings, beheadings, death sentences for blasphemy, floggings, mutilations that occur so routinely and are sanctioned by governments, as in Pakistan, to take one example? Are these practices recent developments? Seems to me that they have a much longer history unconnected to colonialism.
              Also, how do you suggest that we conduct an exchange of views in a venue such as this one? It compels us to rely on brief sound bites, so can you do more than simply tout your academic credentials? By all means make a case, but try not to be such an academic stuffed shirt – it makes for a great foil in burlesque comedy, but really won’t convince anyone otherwise, which is presumably what you’d like to do.

              • GG

                His case seems to be that there are Muslims who are polite and do not kill therefore we must believe the Islam is diverse and so the “authentic” Islam is the one practiced by wealthy kids who study at American colleges.

                Are you buying that?

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  There are such Muslims, just not nearly enough of them. As I posted elsewhere in this thread, I’ve also taught many students from Africa and Asia who’ve had to move, because the Muslims they lived with weren’t very good neighbors and wanted to kill them. They’re often bewildered by the dismissive condescension they encounter among many self-consciously “enlightened” types in the US and Western Europe.

                  • GG

                    The astonishing thing to me is that most of us live and work with Muslims in the USA and yet we are able to draw proper distinctions. That our friends and neighbors do not say they want to harm us does not mean that Islam is diverse in its teachings or as an ideology.

                    It may be that those we live with are “bad” Muslims in that they do not follow Islam as it is really taught.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      At least not as its taught in the Madrasas of Pakistan, or the Musllim Brotherhood’s Salafists, or Saudi Wahabists, etc., etc. But hen consider how 20th century totalitarian regimes, especially the Soviet Union often found many “useful idiots” – especially intellectuals – in the West who swallowed everything and everything they heard about Utopia. There are some parallels here, I think.

                • No, I believe in recycling or disposing of trash.

            • GG

              Professa, who is the authentic interpreter of the Koran?

    • As one of the “professors at Catholic colleges” so frequently maligned by Mr Kilpatrick, I studied Islamic history in graduate school, and I have designed and taught my own courses on various aspects of Islamic history and civilization.
      And proud of this distinguished record that you post under “guest”.

      I call, because I think your hand is four jokers.

      • Guest

        Haha. You’re a funny dude.

        • There needs to some comic relief here. Unfortunately, this serious

    • HA

      Again, the homogeneity, such as it is, is restricted to obvious parallels between Sharia states: “Whenever Sharia is fully implemented around the world today … it looks largely the same: freedom of speech is restricted, women and non-Muslims are denied…”

      We all know that Islam is diverse, if for no other reason than the fact that Sunnis frequently murder Shias, and Shias murder Sunnis, and both have been known to murder Ismailis and Ahmadis. Thanks so much for stating the obvious, But despite all that diversity, this murderous unity in approach only solidifies Kilpatrick’s point. (That is true even in the particular case of the Ahmadis, given that they do not advocate Sharia, and are therefore exempt from the above generalization.)

  • The wages of Islam are bitter indeed. Its been this way for 1400 years.

  • War on Terror is a Lie

    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Bin Laden legends ‘made in USA’

    The continuing controversy over which Navy Seal supposedly killed Osama Bin Laden, and the allegedly ISIL-linked killings of two Canadian soldiers, are the latest media stunts designed to prop up the illusion of a “global war on terror” (GWOT) against radical Islam.

    The GWOT master narrative features two master villains. Indeed, it is a legend with two legendary anti-heroes: The villain of Act One, Osama Bin Laden; and the villain of the present Act Two, “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    In folklore and mythology studies, the word “legend” means “fantastic story that may or may not be true.” In espionage, the same word means: “A spy’s claimed background or biography, usually supported by documents and memorized details.” (Source: SpyMuseum.org)

    Among the most fantastic stories of our time are the legends of two larger-than-life terrorists: Osama Bin Laden of al-Qaeda, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of ISIL.

    Both of these amazing individuals have accomplished near-miraculous feats: Bin Laden caused three skyscrapers to disappear at free-fall acceleration into the path of most resistance, while also making America’s air defenses disappear for two hours so he could bomb the Pentagon, the best-defended building on the planet; while Baghdadi and a ragtag bunch of amateur extremists have somehow seized control of a large swathe of oil-rich and geo-strategically important territory against the opposition of the entire world.

    Both accomplishments seem, to say the least, highly improbable.

    The amazing successes of both the 9/11 attacks and “Islamic State” have been amazingly counterproductive (from an anti-imperialist Muslim point of view).

    Though both al-Qaeda and ISIL have claimed to be fighting to liberate Muslims from their imperialist and Zionist enemies, the two terror groups are actually doing tremendous harm to the Muslim cause.

    9/11 allowed Israel to crush Palestine and revive its failing economy with anti-terror start-ups. It also demonized Islam and gave American hawks an excuse to attack, invade, occupy, destabilize, and otherwise harm Muslim countries.

    ISIL is even worse. Baghdadi’s terror group has spent most of its time, energy and money attacking its fellow Muslims, spreading chaos and internecine hatred through the House of Islam. It has also slaughtered countless innocent people and broadcast its atrocities to the world, thereby defaming Islam and Muslims in the eyes of the global public.

    As Mr. Spock of Star Trek would say, the legends of al-Qaeda and ISIL are illogical. They do not compute.

    To understand who or what is really behind these two spectacularly successful and spectacularly counterproductive terror groups, we must begin with a simple question: Who benefits? The answer, of course, is that the beneficiaries of 9/11 and ISIL are the very people al-Qaeda and ISIL claim to be fighting: the Zionists and imperialists.

    Which raises the question: Could the legends of Bin Laden and Baghdadi also be “legends” in the espionage sense, meaning false biographies crafted by an intelligence agency?

    One of the odd commonalities linking Bin Laden’s and Baghdadi’s biographies is that both alleged anti-American fanatics spent a lot of time in the company of the American military. During the 1980s, while fundraising for the Afghan Resistance against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Bin Laden toured US military bases under the code name “Tim Osman” and helped procure Stinger missiles for the Afghan resistance fighters.

    Osama Bin Laden’s close association with Americans linked to military and intelligence agencies continued long after he had issued his famous “death to Americans” proclamation in 1998 – the same year the CIA, through its agent Sgt. Ali Mohamed, bombed US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and blamed the carnage on Bin Laden.

    Whistle-blowing FBI translator Sibel Edmonds says that the US maintained ‘intimate relations’ with Bin Laden
    “all the way through September 11t.” These “intimate relations,” Edmonds explains, consisted of using Bin Laden’s fighters as a proxy terrorist army to attack America’s competitors including Russia and China.

    In July 2001 – at precisely the same time New York Zionist mafia figures Larry Silverstein, Frank Lowy, and Lewis Eisenberg were privatizing and over-insuring the condemned-for-asbestos World Trade Center – Bin Laden was being treated for kidney failure at the American Hospital in Dubai by a US intelligence linked specialist, Dr. Terry Callaway.

    Dubai CIA station chief Larry Mitchell, as well as the head of Saudi intelligence, visited Bin Laden at the hospital.

    On September 11th, 2001, Bin Laden was back in the hospital. This time he was getting dialysis treatment at the Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi, right under the noses of US military advisors.
    Why didn’t the US simply ask its client governments in Dubai and Pakistan to arrest Bin Laden, then the world’s most wanted terrorist, while he was immobilized in the hospital on dialysis? The answer, of course, is that Bin Laden was a protected US intelligence asset.

    Obviously the story of Osama Bin Laden the anti-American terrorist mastermind is a “legend” in both of that word’s meanings: It is a fantastic tale; and it is the concoction of one or more intelligence agencies.

    The story of Bin Laden’s supposed death in May 2011 is as fishy as the story of his life. Even the New York Times admits: “It may never be possible to say exactly who fired the fatal shot or shots, with multiple armed men wearing night-vision goggles moving quickly through the Qaeda leader’s hide-out. No autopsy was performed and no video has emerged of the shooting. The military never released a photograph of Bin Laden after he was killed and said that his body had been buried at sea.”

    Actually, the military said Bin Laden was buried at sea “according to Muslim custom.” Apparently they expect us to believe that Muslims customarily throw their dead into the ocean. That is no less absurd than the notion that they would simply kill an alleged terrorist mastermind, rather than make every effort to capture him alive and interrogate him. The “fish story” of Bin Laden’s assassination is an insult to the world’s intelligence.

    The legend of “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, like that of Osama Bin Laden, is highly suspicious. Like Bin Laden, Baghdadi was a long-term guest of the American military – at a US base in Iraq rather than US bases in America. And as in the case of Bin Laden, the US military has emitted transparently false statements aimed at hiding or minimizing its relationship with Baghdadi, its supposed worst enemy.

    The US says it held Baghdadi in the “terrorist training wing” of Camp Bucca for less than one year. But both American and Iraqi witnesses say it was more than five years. In any case, it would appear that the self-styled caliph was groomed for his future role while in US custody.

    After his release, Baghdadi and his ISIL commanders received further training, as well as weapons and funds, at a secret CIA base in Jordan. The US worked through its regional proxies to create a formidable ISIL army aimed at overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It seems likely that the US and its proxies also provided the intelligence that allowed ISIL to overrun the Iraqi army – which the US had intentionally disarmed – and seize oil-rich parts of Iraq.

    And yet the American people are still being told that Baghdadi is their worst enemy. Like the tale of the “anti-US terrorist mastermind” Bin Laden, the story of the latest bogeyman Baghdadi is a transparently absurd legend.

    If the American people ever discover how badly they have been lied to, and for what purposes their Constitution has been shredded and their economy bankrupted, they are going to be exceedingly irate.

    • GG

      How many Catholic Churches are in Saudi Arabia?

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      Where exactly did you get all of this information?

      • You mean disinformation, right?

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          Yes, thanks.

      • GG

        MSNBC

  • tom

    What’s the difference between Islam and the Borg? Notre Dame just opened a new Islamic Center. The former West has no backbone to offer any resistance to being occupied as each airplane arrives in Rome or Kennedy. Elites on both continents support this massive infiltration. We know Tony Blair, a recent Catholic convert, got rich on these deals but what do the rest get out of it?

  • languedoc

    Pope Francis has just told the suffering African bishops that they must establish congenial “dialogue” with Muslims. I knew that the Pope had moved out of the Apostolic Palace. Now I fear that he may have moved to another planet.

  • jacobum

    Islam’s idea of diversity is the same as Henry Ford’s was to selling his cars…to wit:…”You can have any color you want as long as it is black”

  • Liz

    Does anyone know if these Pew surveys asked only men or were women included in the surveys?

    • Wouldn’t Pew need permission to talk to women?

  • Once again, when Christians become truly dedicated, they build hospitals. When Muslims become truly dedicated, they fill hospitals.

  • Francis
  • Michel Lhombreaud

    I think there is a difference between the dictates of Islam and the practice of its adherents. You can meet fanatic communists and “nice” ones. You can meet “nice” liberals whose pro-human abortion ideals deny the rights of conscience of people who hold different convictions to theirs. You can have self-righteous Catholics whose hearts are as hard as nails when it comes to charity and mercy.

    During the Rwandese genocide, it was not only Tutsis who were targetted. It was also the moderate Hutus who supported human rights and the rule of law. The same applied to the Nazi régime. Yes, the Jews and Romanichels were the scapegoats but millions of Catholics were systematically murdered too, especially priest and religious. There were also members of the intelligensia who included atheists, but these were few and far between as, when it comes to the crunch history has always shown liberals to be the fastest turn jackets on the planet. In fact these become even more fervent than the previous lot of persecutors.

    To return to the points made, yes, in theory Christianity is about Love and Islam is despotic (Montesquieu 1689-1755), but we must not forget that God chose our parents, our culture and our country. Our fellow human beings who are brought up with extreme views need to be enticed towards the truth – in fact, Truth is attractive in itself, but we can get in the way of the light when trying to show the way to those in darkness. St François de Sales said that you’ll attract more flies (souls) with a spoonful of honey than with barrels of vinegar.

    So yes, let us call a spade a spade and point out evil in religions, ideologies and cultural apathy. But let us be careful not to label people along with their beliefs.

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      The question here is to what extent the behavior of ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban or Islamic Jihad – to say nothing of numerous Islamic governments – is consistent with the dictates of the faith or represents a failure to observe it. I’m not sure how most of your other examples fit in here, since the crimes of Nazism or the Rwandan genocide were perpetrated by governments, not any particular religion.

      • Michel Lhombreaud

        Hi Glenn,
        I think you are partly correct when you say my examples are not related to religion per se: The Nazis did adhere to the neo-pagan belief that so-called Aryans were a superior race.
        I used my examples, however, to illustrate that human beings are the same all over when it comes to misdirected idealism. From the Arianism of old to the Chinese communism of today any excuse to systematically persecute whole realms of humanity will sadly continue to plague our planet.
        I agree that Islam is another nasty wound on humanity. Singling it out as the only intransigent force around, though, is pretty naïve. As a Catholic, if I were given the choice of electing either a Muslim or a “pro-choice” liberal, I would not hesitate to vote for the Muslim, specially if s/he practised his/her faith.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          Thanks, but I’m still not sure what your point is. Yes there are many past and present sorry episodes of man’ inhumanity to man, but the topic of this article was specifically Islam – is it an inherently militant faith ultimately incapable of coexistence with others? Or is it, as the NY Times’s Bill Kristof seems to think, “diverse” and actually benign, which those less “enlightened” than he haven’t yet realize?

          • Michel Lhombreaud

            Hi Glenn,
            Yes, you are entirely right. The article deals with Islam, a dangerous man-made religion with its stated (and amply demonstrated) dictate that non Muslims are inferiors who should either be forcefully converted or simply erradicated. Given that this is the bottom line of the so-called prophet’s teaching, only lax adherents or crafty ones will minimize this, but only in unconquered countries, of course.

            Given this, I agree with William Kilpatrick that since Islam has an inbuilt bigotry it seems silly to attempt to classify its followers as diverse when they all chant from the same hymn sheet (so-to-speak). It’s a bit like Georges Orwell’s pigs in Animal Farm who say they’re more equal than others: some Muslims (at least those not in power in non-Muslim lands) are less prejudiced than others.

            This being said, my remarks were trying to address some of the comments which point out that the so-called civilised world is far worse and more intransigeant than Islam. At least Islam has got its scriptures which, although they reveal the frightening prospects they have in store for the “free world”, these are out in the open. When it comes to our societies, the brain-washing is mostly self-inflicted and evil deeds are rose-coloured. We get the leaders we deserve and although Islam is an obvious easy target (which we should still attempt to dialogue with) it has by no means a monopoly over evil.

  • entonces_99

    “Thus, Saudi scholars have no qualms in berating ISIS for its barbarity,
    even though weekly beheadings in public squares are a fixed feature of
    Saudi life to which they have given their sanction.”

    I’m sure that the Saudis would respond that the problem with ISIS is not that they execute people, but that they execute innocent people, people whose only crime is being on the losing side in a civil war.

  • Rachel

    Will Zionist ISIL bomb al-Aqsa?

    It is the perfect World War III scenario.

    A terrorist bombing targets Masjid al-Aqsa (like the 1980 Israeli government bomb plot that almost happened). Worldwide outrage, especially in Muslim countries, leads to retaliatory attacks on Israel and Israeli interests.

    The Israelis insist ISIL was behind the al-Aqsa bombing. They say the bombing illustrates the dangers of “radical Islam.”

    When rockets are fired against Israel from Syria and Lebanon, Israel bombs and invades those countries. But as in the 34-day war of 2006, Israeli troops suffer defeat on the ground, and Israeli cities take ever-bigger hits from Resistance rockets. While Israel calls on the West for help, Russia gives Israel 24 hours to cease all operations in Syria or face “extremely serious consequences” – a euphemism for possible Russian military action in defense of Syria.

    Then, in a televised address that shocks the world, Netanyahu announces that in order to help eradicate the “Islamic menace,” Masjid al-Aqsa will not be rebuilt. In its place, he says, a new Zionist Temple will rise.

    Radical Zionists – including the tens of millions of apocalypse-wishing Christian Zionists in the USA – celebrate wildly in the streets. Pakistan puts its nuclear missiles on high alert and targets Tel Aviv. India, Israel’s ally, raises the alert level on missiles targeting Pakistan. Israel, following its Samson Option doctrine, puts its missiles targeting the capitals of Europe, the Middle East, and North America on hair trigger alert.

    The world stands on the brink.

    Is this scenario plausible? Unfortunately, yes.

    But would Israel really bomb Masjid al-Aqsa? And could they realistically try to blame ISIL?

    Let’s break down those questions one at a time.

    First, we know that powerful right-wing leaders inside Israel conspired to bomb Masjid al-Aqsa in 1980. A former head of the Israeli Mossad told filmmaker Dror Moreh that the Israeli authorities were planning to blow up the support structure of the Dome of the Rock in order to completely destroy the Dome:

    “The planning was well advanced with a special type of semtex being used for the bombs. My reaction on discovering this plot was that this was a most dangerous move, and I told the then government that ‘such an action would have led to total war. It would have been apocalyptic for Israel.’”

    High-level figures in Israel managed to restrain their insane colleagues, and Masjid al-Aqsa was saved. The plotters were never punished.

    But that was back in 1980. Surely today’s Israeli government is not equally crazy?

    No, they are not equally crazy. They are one thousand times crazier.

    Since 1980, Israel has been taken over by the extremist fanatics who plotted to destroy the Dome. They murdered Yitzhak Rabin, a relatively sane Israeli leader. And according to former BBC Mideast correspondent Alan Hart, they swore a blood oath to never withdraw from the West Bank or Occupied Jerusalem…and to kill anyone (like Rabin) who tried.

    Today, if these ultra-Zionist lunatics decide to finish the job they started in 1980, there will be few if any sane Israeli leaders left to stop them.

    But surely Israel could not plausibly blame ISIL?! Why would a self-proclaimed “Islamic radical” group bomb an Islamic monument – and not just any Islamic monument, but the first and still all-time greatest and most sacred and prestigious Islamic architectural achievement?

    It sounds bizarre. But ISIL is not an ordinary “Islamic extremist” group. It is a false flag group, and it is allied with Israel. Is ideology is potentially compatible with an attack on Masjid al-Aqsa.

    ISIL poses as an ultra-extremist Wahhabi-Takfiri group. And extreme Wahhabis and Takfiris love to destroy Islamic monuments. They claim that any Muslim who pays respect to the shrine of a saint, the tomb of a prophet or companion, or any other such holy place is committing the worst possible sin: “shirk” or idolatry. That is their excuse for bulldozing so many of Islam’s spiritual and architectural heritage sites in Mecca and Medina.

    The corrupt Saudi royal family, with their court ulama’ dominated by Wahhabis, has destroyed more than 95% of the sacred heritage sites in Mecca. Fewer than 20 structures remain that date back to the time of the Prophet and companions. The article “Saudi Destruction of Muslim Historical Sites” in The American Muslim magazine states: “Five of the renowned ‘Seven Mosques’ initially built by Prophet Muhammad’s daughter and four of his ‘greatest Companions’: Masjid Abu Bakr, Masjid Salman al-Farsi, Masjid Umar ibn al-Khattab, Masjid Sayyida Fatima bint Rasulillah and Masjid Ali ibn Abi Talib have been demolished.”

    Ziauddin Sardar writes in “The Destruction of Mecca”: “The house of Khadijah, the first wife of the Prophet Muhammad, has been turned into a block of toilets. The Makkah Hilton is built over the house of Abu Bakr, the closest companion of the prophet and the first caliph.”

    If the Saudi rulers hate Islamic monuments that much, is it really a stretch to imagine ISIL, which embraces a much more radical version of the Saudi Wahhabi ideology, blowing up Masjid al-Aqsa? ISIL (paid and encouraged by the Zionists) might even take credit for the deed. They might claim they were trying to prevent Muslims from committing idolatry. In the eyes of extreme Takfiris like ISIL, Muslims who pay respects to sacred monuments like al-Aqsa are idolators and heretics.

    Additionally, the al-Aqsa mosque symbolizes Islamic universalism – which both Zionists and Takfiris hate. It is emblematic of Islam’s embrace of all the prophets – including the Jewish prophets and Jesus, peace upon all of them – and the Islamic dispensation according to which all religions must be protected. It was under that dispensation that Muslims have ruled Jerusalem, for the most part wisely and justly, virtually since the very beginning of the religion of Islam – except for a few bloody, brief Crusader interludes including the current one.

    The Zionists hate Islamic universalism. They espouse a secular nationalism in which the “chosen people” overthrow God and worship a genocidal settler-colonial nation state in His place.

    The ISIL Takfiris also hate Islamic universalism. They think everyone except themselves is an evil unbeliever or heretic. Whereas Muslims want to establish a just society that encompasses all of the beautiful diversity of Godly religious groups, Takfiris just want to cut off everybody else’s head.

    So if the Zionists blow up Masjid al-Aqsa and blame ISIL, they might hope to succeed in convincing the world that the culprit is “Islamic terrorism” – just like they did when they blew up the World Trade Center and blamed al-Qaeda.

    To stop them, we must expose their plans – as well as their past misdeeds. We must expose the Zionists’ history of false-flag terror attacks including the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946, the Lavon Affair of 1954, the USS Liberty attack of 1967, the Entebbe Hijacking of 1976, the Achille Lauro hijacking of 1985, the 1992 and 1994 bombings in Buenos Aires, and countless others. Above all, we must expose the mother of all false flag operations: The neocon-Zionist coup d’état of September 11th, 2001.

  • Jimmy

    Muslims hate dogs,they are unclean,like pork,shit,piss and non muslim people..Of course Afghanis like dogs but only to FIGHT dogs in blood sports. ( 200 lb kangal dogs )

  • Jimmy

    If Washington DC were to disappear,America might become a free country again.DC is the cancer.

  • Jimmy

    Islam’s only power is oil.Without oil they are merely camel herders.

  • Jimmy

    America needs their CHARLES MARTEL.

  • Enrico

    Crisis is the Catholic arm of American Pravda. The satanic elite in America and Israel are at war with Islam because truly Islamic countries oppose the evils of Zionism (they all know Zionist Israelis, not radical Muslims, did 911), oppose pornography and usury and blasphemy and support the family, and stand in the way of Israel’s plan to ethnically cleanse, by genocide if need be, the whole Middle East from the Nile to the Euphrates.

    Stupid Crisis Catholics are on satan’s side. Kilpatrick is an agent of propaganda to defuse the spiritual power of Catholics.

    Read Veterans Today and Culture Wars and Information Clearing House instead.

  • HA

    While Islam is indeed a house divided, its followers adhere to the maxim “enemy of my enemy”. Thus, members of sects that are brutally persecuted by other Muslims (e.g. Ahmadis such as Qasim Rashid and Kashif Chaudhry) are eager disseminators of Islamic propaganda in the Christian West.

  • Roger

    None of you would be against Islam if it weren’t for the fact that the government and media told you that Muslims were behind 911. One wonders why Catholics are so naive as to believe their government and media, especially since we now know beyond any doubt that it lied us into Iraq, with over 1,000,000 Muslims dead, all because of 911. Why would Catholics be so unwilling to accept that 911 was not what we were told it was? The government of the U.S. is not the Magisterium! Catholics have an obligation not to believe lies, especially when it means unjust wars and millions of dead.

  • Sonya Bourachaga

    In Western democracies a considerable segment of politicians and academics systematically try to bury under the rug, the fact that the atrocities committed by Muslim
    radicals, has involved diverse ethnic groups of Muslim fundamentalists, from
    India to Gaza, to Indonesia, to Spain, to England etc… According to Mr. Hal
    Lindsey, an expert who wrote several books on the phenomenon of Islamic radicalism,
    “The cohesive core of Islam that continues to inspire its long history of
    violence is the Koran and the sayings and actions of Muhammad, himself.”

    This assertion from a scholar who studied Islam extensively, undermines seriously
    the arguments of presidents and prime ministers in Western democracies who, for
    a long list of political considerations centering on their own personal
    interests, cling to the myth that “Islam is a religion of peace” and the Koran is “a holy book strictly concerned with the spiritual salvation of individuals who have embraced the principles preached by the prophet Muhammad”.

    Mr. Lindsey’s position is also supported by several Turkish Muslim academics and
    researchers from “The Centre For European Studies” at Istanbul Bilgi
    University, who, at the end of the Pope’s visit to Turkey in 2006, commented to
    the Western press that “the only thing that will change the attitude of
    Turkey’s Muslims toward its Christians, is if we take all of the school text
    books, including the Koran, that teach Muslim kids to hate Christians and burn
    them”.

    If you listen closely to the speeches of Radical Muslim leaders, or analyse the
    background prayers recited during beheading rituals widely available on the
    internet, there is a systematic use of verses from The Koran, the eternal words
    of God/Allah instructing Muslims to implement His will on planet earth.

    “Know that we send down to the unbelievers (Jews and Christians) Devils who incite
    them to evil. Therefore have patience: their days are numbered”. Koran 19:87

    This verse is often chanted during the beheading rituals we often see on radical Islamic
    websites. For the pious Muslim beheading his defenseless hostage, it is an act
    of heroic proportion, because he is slaughtering the Devil incarnated in the
    human form of an Infidel.

    “Satan has gained possession of The People of The Book (Jews and Christians) and
    caused them to forget Allah’s warnings. They are the confederates of Satan;
    Satan’s confederates shall assuredly be lost in hell. The Believers are the
    confederates of Allah (Hizbollah); and Allah’s confederates shall surely
    triumph”. Koran 58:19

    Another verse recited frequently in the background of beheading rituals, to reinforce
    the view that by slaughtering Christians and Jews, a pious Muslim is killing Satan not an innocent captive.

    “We will put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers (Jews and Christians). They
    serve other Gods for whom no sanction has been revealed. Hell shall be their
    home; dismal indeed is the dwelling place of the evil-doers”. Koran 3:149

    A verse often used by Salafist radicals to spread terror and encourage Muslims to
    kill indiscriminately innocent children, women, and seniors attending a wedding
    or using the public transit system. After all Jews and Christians worship Gods
    that have not been sanctioned by the Allah of Islam, and they are all
    classified as evil-doers who shall perish in an earthly hell of Muslim design,
    make, and timing.

    “Do you fear the unbelievers (Jews and Christians)? Surely Allah is more worthy of
    your fear. If you are true believers make war on them; Allah will chastise them
    through you and humble them. He will grant you victory over them and
    heal the spirit of the faithful”. Koran 9:14

    A favorite passage of Hizbollah fighters in Lebanon, who scored with the help of Allah a “Divine Victory” against the mightiest army in The Middle East (IDF 2006). Hassan
    Nasrallah, the supreme leader of The Hizbollah movement in Lebanon exploits
    this passage extensively in his fiery speeches to remind his followers that
    Allah’s will for the believer is very clear; his or her primary religious duty
    should be to wage war on the Jewish State of Israel to liberate Jerusalem,
    destroy Christian unbelievers who sustain the existence of Israel, and thus
    impose on the “Kouffar” Allah’s agenda for the salvation of humanity.

    “Cast into hell every hardened unbeliever, every opponent from the people of the book
    (Jews and Christians), and every doubting transgressor who has set up another
    God besides Allah. Hurl him into the fierce tormenting flames of hell”. Koran
    50:21

    Suicide bombers use this verse (in videos taped prior to their heroic operations) to
    justify the blowing up of their explosive charges on buses and in a variety of
    public places frequented by Jews and Christians. By becoming a “Shahid” (Arabic
    for martyr) and securing a place in Allah’s heavenly kingdom, the suicide
    bomber is hurling his victims (hardened unbelievers) into the fierce tormenting
    flames of hell-the inferno created by the explosion in a confined space.

    Believers, do not make friends with any men other than your own people. They will spare no pains to corrupt you. They desire nothing but your ruin. Their hatred is clear
    from what they say, but more violent is the hatred which their breasts conceal”.
    Koran 3:117

    These verses are used extensively every Friday, in dozens of mosques located in major capitals such as London, Paris, Brussels, Spain, Toronto…to deepen the schism
    between Muslims and non-believers, and insulate them from any arguments that
    may challenge radical Islamist narratives. The time has come to send the clear
    message, to all Salafi Muslim preachers, who abuse the freedom of speech and
    religion Western Democracies extend to their citizens, that they will be
    prosecuted under existing “Hate Laws”, their citizenship will be revoked, and
    they will be deported to their native lands to reinforce the key principle that
    no democracy has any legal or moral obligation to tolerate the intolerable.

    And to all Western apologists who believe that tolerance should remain one of the most distinct characteristics of democracies, I invite them to reflect on the following statement of British novelist Dorothy Sayers:

    “In this world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called indifference, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing,
    enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and
    remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”
    Sergei Bourachaga

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