Tagged: Christianity

Islam’s rise and the West’s denial

(CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT) — William Kilpatrick on what the spread of militant Islam means for the future of the West.

November 20, 2012

William Kilpatrick is an author and lecturer who taught for many years at Boston College and whose articles on Islam have appeared in numerous publications, including Investor’s Business Daily, FrontPage Magazine, the National Catholic Register, and World magazine. He has written several books, including Psychological Seduction and Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong, and his most recent book, Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West, will be released next week from Ignatius Press. Kilpatrick recently spoke with Catholic World Report about Islam and its growing significance for the West.

CWR: You begin by noting that, yes, there is some common ground between Christianity and Islam, but the differences are far more important. What are the most important differences between the two religions?

William Kilpatrick: Beneath the surface similarities lie important and largely irreconcilable differences. Islam rejects the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. In fact, associating partners with Allah—as Christians do—is considered the very worst sin. Chapter nine, verse 30 of the Koran says, “the Christians call Christ the son of Allah…Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the truth.” Moreover, the God of the Koran bears little resemblance to the God worshiped by Christians and Jews. Although he occasionally expresses solicitude for Muslim widows and orphans, he shows little in the way of mercy, compassion, or justice, and he appears to hate non-Muslims with a vengeance. The Koran is full of lurid descriptions of the fate that awaits unbelievers in hell.

The two faiths also differ sharply in their vision of paradise. Heaven for Christians means union with God and the fellowship of the saints. For Muslims heaven means union with 72 “high-bosomed” and eternally youthful virgins. That’s for males, of course; the Koran is unclear about what sort of heaven women will enjoy. These differing views of paradise have very serious practical implications in the here and now. The Islamic version of paradise creates quite an incentive for young men to try to get there as quickly as possible. And, according to Islamic tradition, the only sure route is by “killing and being killed in the cause of Allah.” Take Mohamed Atta. Due to an airline mistake his luggage was left behind in Boston on the day of the 9/11 flight. When authorities later opened it they found a wedding suit, a bottle of cologne, and a letter expressing his anticipation of marriage to his 72 heavenly wives. As Richard Weaver wrote, “ideas have consequences.”

CWR: The Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church mention Islam briefly and rather positively. Otherwise, there isn’t much in the way of official Church statements on Islam. Why is that? Is there a need for such?

Kilpatrick: Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions, includes two short paragraphs sketching out several commonalities between Christians and Muslims. It must be remembered, however, that finding commonalities was precisely the task set forth in the initial paragraph of the declaration: “She [the Church] considers above all in this declaration what men have in common….” In light of this and in view of its brevity, Nostra Aetate can hardly be considered to be the Church’s final word on Islam—although some Catholics have taken it to be just that. The statement about Muslims in the Catechism is even shorter—only 44 words—and merely echoes Nostra Aetate’s observation that both Christians and Muslims worship the One God.

How do you account for this minimalist treatment? The probable answer is that at the time of the Vatican Council, militant Islam was fairly quiescent, and the Church fathers were far more concerned with the threat from atheistic communism. Now that Islam is once again set on subjugating the rest of the world, Catholics need to be given a fuller picture of Islam, if for no other reason than that their survival may depend on it. Catholics and other Christians have been lulled into complacency by the simplistic notion that Christians and Muslims share much in common. For example, when a Catholic reads that Muslims worship the same God and revere the same Jesus he does, he might easily jump to the conclusion that Islam is really a religion of peace and that terrorists are “misunderstanders” of their Islamic faith. That is a very naïve view to hold in these very dangerous times.

CWR: “This book,” you write in the introduction, “is intended, in part, as a wake-up call.” What is the Western world missing? And, more specifically, what are Catholics missing when it comes to rightly gauging and studying Islam today?

Kilpatrick: One thing that the West doesn’t grasp is that Islam is a political religion with political ambitions. Omar Ahmad, the co-founder of the Council on American Islamic Relations, has said that “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith but to be dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.” Numerous Islamic authorities have expressed similar sentiments. The supposedly moderate Imam Feisal Rauf, the initiator of the Ground Zero mosque project, wrote an article for the Huffington Post containing the observation, “What Muslims want is a judiciary (in the US) that ensures that the laws are not in conflict with the Qur`an and the Hadith.” What he means is that US law must be brought in line with Islamic sharia law. Since very many provisions of sharia law are considered criminal under US law, that would mean the overthrow of much of our legal code.

Many Catholics also fail to realize the political nature of Islam and imagine that a mosque, like a church, is simply a place of worship. But a mosque is more than that. Political and community issues are dealt with in a mosque, and calls to jihad are frequently issued in mosques. For example, many of the “Arab Spring” demonstrations were set in motion from mosques following the Friday sermons. Moreover, there are many instances of mosques being used for mentoring terrorists or for storing arms and explosives. According to a popular Muslim poem:

The mosques are our barracks,

the domes our helmets

the minarets our bayonets

And the faithful our soldiers

Many Muslims think of Islam not only as a religion but also as an army—an army with a mission of subjugation. That’s why the penalty for apostasy is death. Just as a deserter from an army in time of war may be punished with the death penalty, so also a deserter from the army of Islam.

The political nature of Islam ought to give pause to Catholics who think they can dialogue with Muslims in the same way they dialogue with Baptists or Jews. A recently concluded series of Catholic-Muslim dialogues sponsored by the USCCB highlights the problem. It turns out that the bishops’ dialogue partners are all members of Muslim activist groups with links to the Muslim Brotherhood. One of the counterparts, Sayyid Syeed, is a prominent figure in the Islamic Society of North America—a group that was designated as an unindicted co-conspirator in a massive terrorist funding scheme. One wonders if the bishops fully understand who they are dealing with.

CWR: How has Islam, worldwide, changed since the mid-20th century?

Kilpatrick: It’s changed for the worse. The Muslim world was far more moderate in the mid-20th century than it is now. That’s in large part because secular strongmen in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and elsewhere acted as a restraining force on the more extreme manifestations of Islam. But as these rulers were swept aside, often with the help of the West, traditional Islam was able to assert itself, and traditional Islam is, in many senses, more oppressive and dictatorial than the dictators it replaced. Egypt, Iraq, and Iran, for example, were far more Westernized and secularized than they are now. Young women didn’t wear hijabs or ankle-length chadors, and as Ali Allawi—a former Iraqi cabinet minister—writes, “Muslims were more likely to identify themselves by their national, ethnic, or ideological affinities than by their religion.” Allawi observes of Iraq in the 1950s: “It appeared to be only a matter of time before Islam would lose whatever hold it still had on the Muslim world.” The recent revival of traditional, militant Islam is, in many respects, a reaction to that loss of faith. The new breed of Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood preachers are intent on recalling Muslims to the full practice of their faith—including the “forgotten obligation” of jihad.

CWR: Why is it that so many secularists attack and mock Christianity but treat Islam with a strangely milquetoast sort of respect? How much of this is rooted in a flawed multiculturalism?

Kilpatrick: The attacks on Christianity are not rooted in a flaw in multiculturalism, but rather in the nature of multiculturalism. The multicultural creed is based on the fiction that all cultures, religions, and traditions are roughly equal. But there is no equivalence between the achievements of Western Christian civilization and Islamic civilization. In order to equalize them it’s necessary to pull down Christianity and the West while applying affirmative action whitewash to Islam. This, of course, leads to any number of bizarre double standards. For example, Mayor Tom Menino of Boston stated that the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain was not welcome in Boston because its president does not approve of gay marriage, while the same Mayor Menino has been very welcoming to Islamic groups that, in addition to wanting to abolish gay marriage, also want to abolish gays. Mayor Menino gave a speech at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of a very large mosque built by the Islamic Society of Boston. Not only that, he donated a $1.8 million parcel of municipal land to the project. One of the seven trustees of the Islamic Society of Boston is the world-renowned Imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who believes that gays should either be burned to death or thrown from a high place. So, in Boston, what’s sauce for the goose is not necessarily sauce for the chicken fillet.

A more ominous development is that there now exists a tacit alliance between radical secularists and radical Islam. The most obvious example of this is the alliance between Islamic Iran and leftist Venezuela, but there are many other examples. Leftist professors regularly work with members of the Muslim Student Association (a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot) toward furthering Islamic goals. The campaign against the supposed hate crime of Islamophobia has been largely engineered by the left. And the leftist Justice Department has done its best to undercut the ability of law enforcement to investigate terrorist activities. Muslims, for their part, quickly learned to employ the methods pioneered by secular militants. Muslim activists groups portrayed themselves as civil rights groups and labeled any resistance to their agenda as hateful, bigoted, racist, and Islamophobic. At the same time, these Muslim groups can rely on the secular media to portray them in the best possible light.

CWR: Many parts of Europe appear to be succumbing, in one way or another, to Islamization. What about the United States?

Kilpatrick: The US is on the same river as Europe, but not as close to the falls. It appears, however, that it’s trying hard to catch up. During the last three administrations, Muslim activists have worked hard to gain positions of influence in the government, and with great success. Muslim activist groups convinced the Department of Homeland Security to delete words like “jihad,” “Islamist,” and “terrorist” from their lexicon. In compliance with Muslim demands the Justice Department ordered the military to delete from its training manuals any suggestion that there is a connection between Islam and violence. And the State Department played a major role in enabling the Muslim Brotherhood to come to power in North Africa. Moreover, the State Department has been working with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for more than a year toward the goal of establishing anti-blasphemy laws or something akin to them. If the effort succeeds, criticism of Islam will then be a crime—as it already in many European countries. Meanwhile, a steady flow of Saudi money helps to ensure that college students learn only an Islam-friendly version of history and current events.

At first glance it would appear that Islamization is unlikely here because the Muslim population is small and, unlike Europe, America is a churchgoing nation with a healthy birthrate. But there is still reason for alarm. Although Christianity is in much better shape in America than in Europe, there has been a significant decline in the number of those who self-identify as Christians and a significant increase in the number of atheists, agnostics, and those who identify with no religion. Moreover, if American Christians haven’t been able to resist the growth of anti-religious secularism, how likely is it that they will be able to resist the efforts of dedicated and well-funded cultural jihadists?

In addition, America’s healthy birthrate is not as healthy as it first appears, because 41 percent of those births now occur out of wedlock. Fifty-five percent of Hispanic children are born out of wedlock, as are 72 percent of black children. As they grow older, children born into unstable families are more likely to see the structured life of Islam as a solution rather than as a problem.

Islamization is not simply a numbers game. For an analogy, consider that homosexuals make up only 2 to 3 percent of the population, but have nevertheless exerted an outsize influence on public policy and school curriculums. Of course, they have been able to do this with the help of liberal elites in media, academia, the courts, and the entertainment industry. But remember that Islamic activists have the backing of the very same people.

Islamization won’t happen tomorrow in America, but there is a distinct possibility that our children will grow up in an America dominated by Islam. It’s not necessary to be a majority or anywhere near a majority in order to dominate. Throughout history Islamic warriors have managed to subdue populations much larger than their own. If America is eventually subjugated, however, it won’t be the result of armed jihad, but of cultural jihad—the steady incremental advance of sharia law through agitation, propaganda, lawfare, political activism, and infiltration of key governmental and educational institutions. Many Muslim leaders have made it plain that they plan to subjugate America under Islam. We should take them seriously.

CWR: What do you think of the current approach taken by our government toward Islam in the Middle East?

Kilpatrick: Our policies have enabled the creation of a Middle East that is far more radical than it once was. The media likes to refer to terrorists as “misunderstanders” of Islam, but it is our government that misunderstands Islam. In failing to understand Islam we have cooperated in the ascendancy of the most extreme types of Islamists. As a result, much of the Muslim Middle East is falling into the hands of our enemies. One of the immediate results has been intensified persecution of Christians. As bad as they were, the previous secular rulers at least provided some protection to Christians. Now, Christians are increasingly subject to intimidation, confiscation of property, forced conversions, rape, mob attacks, and murder.

Another result of our misguided policies is that Israel is now surrounded by people who seek its annihilation. Hatred of Jews is deeply rooted in the Koran and in Islamic tradition. In helping to bring to power those Muslims who adhere most closely to the Koran, we have put Israel in a precarious position. The new, Muslim Brotherhood-led government of Egypt has already signaled its intention to break its peace treaty with Israel. All of this was entirely predictable for anyone with a basic knowledge of the Muslim Brotherhood.

CWR: What must Christians do to address and cope with the problems presented by the spread of Islam?

The first thing Christians need to do is inform themselves about Islam. Christians, like secularists, tend to view Islam through a multicultural lens and assume that Islam is like other religions. But it is not. Islam is not a religion of peace, but a religion of conquest that aims to subjugate non-Muslims. This isn’t just a theory. Look at every nation where Muslims rule and you will find that non-Muslims are assigned an inferior status. In studying Islam, Christians will also find that the Jesus of the Koran is nothing at all like the Jesus of the Gospels. In fact, he seems to have been introduced into the Koran for the sole purpose of contradicting the Christian belief in Jesus as the son of God. The Church also has an obligation to more fully inform Catholics about Islam. The treatment of the subject in Nostra Aetate and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are brief and inadequate. Catholics need to know a great deal more about Islam and have to move beyond the simplistic assumption that because God and Jesus and Mary are in the Koran, everything must be okay.

As I said earlier, Christians must realize that Islam is a political religion, and they need to be aware that religious overtures on the part of Muslims are often nothing other than political maneuvering. For example, Christians should avoid being pulled into Islam’s anti-blasphemy/anti-defamation campaign, because the ultimate goal of this campaign is to criminalize criticism of Islam. And, by the way, simply to assert the divinity of Christ is a blasphemy of the highest order according to the Koran.

Likewise, Christians should be careful about aligning themselves with Islamic activist groups on religious freedom issues. When Muslim leaders talk about freedom of religion, they mean freedom to practice sharia—a legal, social, political, and theological system that is inimical both to Christianity and the First Amendment. Muslim spokesmen are quite willing to affirm their belief in religious freedom because according to Islamic tradition there is only one religion—Islam. Under Islamic law, all other religions are considered abrogated. In Muslim countries, religious freedom for non-Muslims is either non-existent or greatly restricted. Christians who are tempted to partner with Muslims in the cause of religious freedom need to recall Christ’s words about “sheep in the midst of wolves.”

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Islam: A giant step backwards for humanity

(CREEPING SHARIA) — by William Kilpatrick

One of the big mysteries of our day is how so many supposedly enlightened Catholics have managed to get it so wrong about Islam for so long. It’s understandable that in the 1960s, when the Islamic world was relatively quiescent, Catholics might entertain the high hopes for Islamic-Catholic relations expressed in Nostra Aetate. But this is 2017 and in the intervening half century a lot of water has passed under the bridge.

Given all that has transpired in the interim—9/11, daily terror attacks, the accelerating Islamization of Europe, and the development of nuclear weapons by Pakistan and Iran—it seems that Catholics deserve to know more about Islam than the brief treatment presented in Nostra Aetate or the even briefer treatment in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism’s forty-four words on the subject end with the reassurance that “together with us they [Muslims] adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day” (842). Unfortunately, that has been interpreted by a good many clergy and laymen to mean “go back to sleep and don’t worry about a thing.”

To get an idea of how nonchalant the Church leadership has been about providing guidance on Islam, consider that the Catechism devotes about five times as much space to a discussion of man’s relationship with animals than it does to the Church’s relationship with Muslims.

It’s not just that many clergy and lay Catholic leaders fail to appreciate the deep differences in theology between Islam and Christianity, they fail to grasp the deep cultural and human differences that flow from the theological differences. To put the matter bluntly, Christianity is a humanizing religion and Islam is not. That statement needs some qualifying, of course; but there is enough difference between the Christian vision of the human person and the Islamic vision, that Catholic leaders should be extremely careful before declaring common cause with Islam. The many declarations of commonality and solidarity with Islam that now routinely issue from the lips of Church leaders only serve to confuse and mislead Catholics.

Theologically, the most significant fact about Islam is that it is an anti-Christian movement. That’s one of the main themes in Nonie Darwish’s book, Wholly Different. Darwish who grew up in an Islamic society and subsequently converted to Christianity, contends that Islam is a counter-revolutionary faith: a rejection of core Bible beliefs. As she puts it:

[Muhammad] didn’t just quietly reject the Bible. Instead, he launched a ferocious rebellion against it… Islam is a negative religion, consumed with subversion. It is a rebellion and counter-revolution against the Biblical revolution.

The Biblical revolution was not only a revolution in our thinking about God, but also a revolution in our thinking about man. The most revolutionary moment occurred when God took on our humanity and became one of us. As Pope St. John Paul II observed, the Incarnation not only reveals God to man, it reveals man to himself.

In rejecting the Incarnation, Muhammad also rejected the heightened status of humanity that flows from it. This is not to say that this was his intention from the start. Islam didn’t begin as an anti-Christian theology, but it was almost inevitable that it would develop that way. Muhammad considered himself to be a prophet, and he wanted very much to be recognized as such. The trouble is that a prophet has to have a prophetic message. And, after Jesus revealed himself as the Son of God and the fulfillment of all prophecy, there wasn’t much left to say in that line.

Realizing this, Muhammad set about to retell the story of Jesus, recasting him not as the Son of God but as another—and lesser—prophet. This demotion of Jesus thus cleared the way for Muhammad’s claim to prophethood. (Faced with a similar problem, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, came up with a similar solution. In his telling, Jesus failed in his assigned task of marrying and creating a perfect family, thus leaving it up to Moon to carry out the unfinished mission.)

Jesus is in the Koran, but he has, in effect, been neutralized. He is not divine, he was not crucified nor resurrected, and he plays no role in the redemption of the human race. In fact, there is no suggestion in the Koran that mankind needs to be redeemed. One has to believe in Allah and his messenger (Muhammad) and obey Allah and his Messenger, and Allah will probably (there is no certainty) admit him to paradise. But one does not have to be born again.

We talk about “radical” Islam, but, in a sense, there is nothing radical about Islam. It does not require a radical transformation of the self as does Christianity. In Islam, man is not made in the image of God. Consequently, there is no call to holiness, no requirement that “you … must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). The radical transformation in Christ which prepares one for communion with God is not necessary since man’s destiny is not union with God, but union with maidens in paradise. There is no need of spiritual transformation because heaven is simply a better version of earth.

That’s one way of looking at human destiny. But the Christian view is altogether different. Saint Paul wrote “we … are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18), and “though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed everyday … preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:16-17).

Whatever one may think of the truth of the Christian message, the message is that humans have a very high calling. The difference between this vision of man and the rather low estimate of human potential contained in the Koran is profound. It’s a wonder that so many Catholics are willing to dilute that vision for the sake of creating an illusory moral parity with Islam.

Islam’s lack of interest in human transformation begins with the lack of human interest in the Koran. Although it was composed some 600 years after the Gospels, it contains none of the drama of the Gospels—no divine drama and no human drama. Instead, it is a collection of disconnected statements, warnings, and curses, interspersed with Muhammad’s own versions of stories borrowed from the Bible.

Even when he retells these stories, Muhammad seems largely incapable of infusing the prophets and heroes of the Bible with personality. Indeed, the only character in the Koran that Muhammad seems truly interested in is himself.

In order to emphasize his humility, Islamic apologists like to say that Muhammad is only mentioned four times in the Koran. I haven’t counted but that seems about right. Nevertheless, Muhammad manages to mention himself on nearly every page—sometimes as the “Messenger,” sometimes as the “Apostle,” sometimes as the “Prophet,” and nearly always as the indispensable intermediary between Allah and men. This repeated emphasis on his role as a prophet is also found in the hadith collections. For example, “I have been sent to all mankind and the line of the prophets is closed with me” (Sahih Muslim, book 004, number 1062).

Other than Allah, Muhammad is the main person of interest in the Koran. Which brings us back to the place of Jesus in the Koran. The truth is, he plays only a minor role. He is mentioned as one of the prophets on several occasions, and on a few other occasions he is given some lines to speak. On one of these occasions he assures Allah that he did not ever claim to be God: “I could never have claimed what I have no right to” (5:116).

Jesus has a place in the Koran, but only because he knows his place. His role is to remove the main obstacle to Muhammad’s claim of prophethood. Who better than Jesus to renounce Jesus’ claim to Sonship and thereby clear the way for Muhammad to be the seal of the prophets?

But, in stripping Jesus of his divinity, Muhammad also managed to strip him of his humanity. The Jesus of the Koran is simply not an interesting person. Indeed he hardly qualifies as a person. He seems more like a disembodied voice.

When Christians hear that Jesus is in the Koran, they assume that he must be someone like the Jesus of the Gospels. Thus they can reassure themselves that although Muslims don’t accept Christ’s divinity, they will at least become familiar with his life. Anyone who bothers to read the Koran, however, will be quickly disabused of that notion. There is no life of Jesus in the Koran. There is no slightly altered version of the gospel story. Indeed, there is no story at all—just a few brief appearances in order to make the point that Jesus is only a man, not the Son of God.

This abbreviated treatment of Jesus in the Koran is matched by a diminished view of the human person. In Islam, man is little more than a slave of Allah. He can achieve paradise, but paradise is essentially a heavenly harem. According to the Christian vision, man’s destiny is union with God. According to the Islamic vision, man’s destiny is to copulate.

In rejecting the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation, Muhammad also rejected the Christian vision of a redeemed humanity. The fact of the Incarnation raised the status of man immeasurably—“no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir” (Gal. 4:7). That’s why Christmas carols are so full of joy. As one hymn reminds us, the night of our Savior’s birth becomes the moment at which “the soul felt its worth.” Thanks to Muhammad’s dismal vision, however, all this is missing in Islam—no “joy to the world,” no “hark the herald angels sing,” no “ding-dong merrily on high.”

In light of the comparative bleakness of the Islamic vision, it is difficult to understand why so many Catholic prelates and theologians insist on identifying Islam as a fellow faith with which we have much in common. Likewise, it’s not easy to comprehend why so many of them want to declare their solidarity with Islam.

Theologically and humanly, Islam represents a giant step backwards. It would take us back to a time when the idea of human dignity was considered laughable—to a time when slavery was unremarkable and women were valued less than men and sometimes less than animals.

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Western Christianity in denial about radical Islam

(JERUSALEM POST) — The West is still in denial about radical Islam’s goal to eradicate Christianity, according to an Italian journalist and author.

Once radical Islam gains a foothold in Europe, there is nothing suggesting that it can’t easily dismantle Western Christianity, just as it did Christianity in the Middle East, wrote Giulio Meotti, cultural editor for Il Foglio, in a Gatestone Institute article this week.

“If Eastern Christianity can be extinguished so easily, Western Europe will be next,” he wrote.

“While natural disasters such as tsunamis or earthquakes spur solidarity throughout the West, the disappearance of entire Christian populations and their ancient civilizations never seems to disturb anyone,” Meotti said in the essay titled “Europe: Destroyed by the West’s Indifference?” “Perhaps it is a sign of denial by the West.”

Meotti struck a similar tone to a piece written by CAMERA Christian media analyst Dexter Van Zile, who said that the reason many churches take to blaming Israel is because the Jewish state is a safe target, while offending a jihadist would offer a different result.

“Our media and intelligentsia are always on the alert to defend everything coming from Islam, whether women’s veils or the ‘right not to be offended’ by cartoons,” Meotti wrote. “The same establishment, however, lies in a coma when Christian symbols come under attack.”

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Bishop: Western politicians damage African Christianity by ‘pandering’ to Islam

(CATHOLIC HERALD) — A Nigerian bishop said the Catholic Church in his country is beginning to lose its public influence partly because of the decline of religious faith in the West.

Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto accused European and American politicians and diplomats of publicly “pandering” to Islam at the expense of Christianity.

The result, he said, was the ascendancy of Islam and evangelical Christianity in Nigeria and the decline of Catholicism.

He told Catholic News Service in an interview in Liverpool that the widespread loss of Christian faith in the West was “absolutely” among the causes of the diminishing influence of the Catholic Church in his own country.

“From my own experience, I find that the British high commissioner, the ambassadors from European countries, the American ambassador — they are pandering more to Islam than to Christianity, because most of them have turned their backs on Christianity,” Bishop Kukah said.

“The Arab world is pouring money into Nigeria and the Pentecostal pastors in America are doing the same, and the Catholic Church is now becoming the weakest in terms of access to resources,” he said.

“For me, as a bishop of the Catholic Church, I can see very clearly that our influence in the public space is gradually reducing, and that is largely because of our capacity to mobilize resources,” he said.

It had become no longer possible, he said, for the bishops to appeal to historically Catholic nations for financial help with church projects.

“We can’t go to the Irish ambassador or the Spanish ambassador and say, ‘This is (needed) for the Catholic Church,’” Bishop Kukah said. “People are not interested.”

“In Ramadan, the ambassadors of Islamic countries are very keen to come to the Muslim celebrations in a way and manner that the Irish or any of these ambassadors are not likely to do for (Christmas) midnight Mass or the Easter celebrations.”

He said that, in his experience, most Catholic ambassadors would prefer to be seen publicly at a Muslim celebration than attending a Christian ceremony.

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Conversions from Islam in Europe and beyond

(NEW YORK TIMES) — By FAISAL DEVJIAUG

The conversion of Muslims to liberalism, secularism or atheism has become something of a meme in the West, with arguments raging among scholars, in the press and on social media about the possibility of Islam’s undergoing a “reformation” or becoming “modern,” for which the history of Christianity is supposed to provide a universal blueprint.

It is the almost religious tenor of such transformations that justifies the term “conversion” for them. The single-minded adoption of such profane identities may even be more theological than Muslim conversions to Christianity and other faiths, suggesting that they have now replaced churches and temples in representing religious forms of belief.

Europe’s refugee crisis has seen a spate of conversions to Christianity among Muslim migrants. While numbers are difficult to obtain, The Guardian reported last year about a church in Berlin whose congregation increased from 140 to 700, the newcomers being Muslim converts from Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia, and mass baptisms held at a municipal swimming pool in Hamburg, Germany. The Telegraph reported from Beirut, Lebanon, that hundreds of Syrian refugees in the country have converted to Christianity at least in part to benefit from aid distributed by Christian charities and for better chances of having their asylum applications accepted in Europe.

Whether the converts are repulsed by the violent forms Islam has taken in places like Syria and Afghanistan or are backing up their claims for asylum, the conversions occur quietly and rarely as a result of proselytism. Nor do they tend to be accompanied by any transformation in the appearance, behavior or language of the convert. Analyzing the news reports suggests that these conversions are characterized by multiple quotidian and ambiguous motives.

In parts of the Muslim world, but also non-Muslim countries like India, converting from one religion to another may invite legal punishment as well as social censure. Nevertheless, conversions still occur in these places and tend not to follow the theological model of transformation we have inherited from Christianity.

In recent years, a number of poor Muslims, as a Los Angeles Times article reported in 2014, have accepted Hinduism, their “homecoming” staged for the media by groups seeking to proclaim India a Hindu nation. Not only was there no talk of transformation in these cases, but also no attempt by Muslims to persecute these converts.

Muslims are also increasingly becoming atheists. A 2015 article in The New Republic reported on the spread of disbelief in the Arab world, citing over 250 web pages or groups about atheism with memberships ranging from a few hundred to thousands. There have always been atheists in the Muslim world, including some famous medieval scientists and philosophers.

Rev. Graham: The city of Qaraqosh in Iraq had 50,000 Christians in 2014, now 7 families remain

(CNS NEWS) — By Michael W. Chapman

During his recent trip to Iraq to celebrate Easter, Reverend Franklin Graham visited the city of Qaraqosh, where in 2014 some 50,000 Christians were forced to flee because of attacks from the Islamic State and where today only about 7 families remain. Because of radical Islam, most of Iraq’s Christian “congregations are now dispersed all over the world,” he said.

In an April 16 post on Facebook, Rev. Graham wrote, “Yesterday we went to the city of Qaraqosh, in Iraq, which used to be home to some 50,000 Christians who were forced to flee for their lives in 2014. Now just a handful, about 7 families, remain.”

“I visited a church that had been burned and destroyed by ISIS and met with the pastor,” said Graham. “Incredibly, in the ashes and debris, we discovered one of our Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes that had been given to a child there at some point. I couldn’t help but wonder where the child who received this box is today.”

“My heart goes out to the pastors in this region,” he said. “Most of their congregations are now dispersed all over the world. As shepherds they want to be able to help their flocks. They want to be able to care for them and protect them, but until there’s a political settlement there’s no way this is going to happen.”

“Will you join me in praying for them?” said Rev. Graham.

He continued, “We also found charred pages from a Bible. I picked up a section that contained John 20:27 – ‘Then he [Jesus] said to Thomas, Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ He’s still saying that to the world today—this Easter Sunday—Believe!”

Franklin Graham is the son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham. Franklin Graham runs the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse.

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Vicar of Baghdad: ‘It is over, no Christians will be left’ in Iraq

(CREEPING SHARIA) — He is one of the world’s most prominent priests, but Canon Andrew White – known as the “Vicar of Baghdad” – has reached a painstaking conclusion: Christianity is all but over in the land where it all began.

“The time has come where it is over, no Christians will be left. Some stay Christians should stay to maintain the historical presence, but it has become very difficult. The future for the community is very limited,” White told Fox News this week. “The Christians coming out of Iraq and ISIS areas in the Middle East all say the same thing, there is no way they are ever going back. They have had enough.”

Thirty years ago, there were approximately 1.4 million Christians in Iraq. The number dwindled to around 1 million after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, and a year ago it was estimated that there were less than 250,000 left. Numbers have continued to decline as families flee, and today even approximate figures are difficult to obtain.

“If there is anything I can tell Americans it is that your fellow brothers and sisters are suffering, they are desperate for help,” he said. “And it is not just a matter of praying for peace. They need a lot – food, resources, clothes, everything. They need everything.”

For decades, Christians endured persecution in Iraq by hardline extremists as infidel “people of the book” – but their fate became significantly more dire in 2014 after ISIS overran Mosul and the many ancient Christian villages surrounding the city. Thousands of families overnight were forced to flee their home, and while some have sought refuge in the northern Kurdish region, many have left the country altogether.

“A lot of these guys I have known before they were ISIS, when they were part of militias like ‘Sons of Iraq,’” he said. “They operate in secret cells all over Baghdad, and the harder the Iraqi Army attacks Mosul, the more they attack Baghdad.”

And, White stressed, there simply isn’t a “safe” way to work with them.

“It is important to find ways to engage with them, to look into their philosophies. I tried to invite some of the ISIS jihadists to dinner once,” he added. “They told me they would come, but that they would chop my head off afterwards. I didn’t think it would be a nice way to end a dinner party.”

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Geert Wilders: Islam is not a religion, it’s a totalitarian ideology

(BREITBART) — by Donna Rachel Edmunds

Islam is a totalitarian ideology, not a religion, and therefore a Dutch constitutional commitment to freedom of religion shouldn’t apply to it, Geert Wilders has said.

In a wide-ranging interview recorded in January and broadcast at the weekend, the populist politician and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) said that although Islam has many of the trappings of religion, it shares more in common with totalitarian ideologies such as communism and fascism and should be treated as such.

“Not only is the Quran more full of anti-Semitism than Mein Kampf – another terrible book – ever was, but one token of proof of totalitarianism is that you are not allowed to leave. That’s the proof of totalitarianism,” he said.

“Islam as an ideology does not allow freedom. Look at almost all the countries in the world where Islam is dominant – you see a total lack of civil society, of rule of law, of freedom for journalists, women, Christians, or even somebody who wants to leave Islam, an apostate.

“You are allowed to leave Christianity or Judaism and become an atheist or the follower of another religion; you are not allowed to leave fascism, you are not allowed to leave Communism. And still today in Holland, in Germany, in the Arab world, the penalty is death if you want to leave Islam.

“That kind of thinking, that kind of violence within an ideology is something that we should not import.”

Conceding that his view was a minority view, and that the Netherlands’ constitution was unlikely to change should his party be victorious in upcoming elections, he clarified that his objection was to Islam as a body of ideas, not to Muslim people.

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Islam Destroys the Conscience

(INFO ON ISLAM) — ALL of Islam derives from Mohammed and nowhere else. Even aspects of Islam that appear to derive from Christianity and Judaism are actually corrupted versions of those religions which have been twisted and perverted to suit Mohammed’s psychopathic agenda.

By our standards, Mohammed’s actions were evil. But Muslims live in a different moral universe from the rest of us, where the very definition of good and evil are determined by what Mohammed (the Perfect man) did and said. Islam aims to completely destroy the conscience and free will of the Muslim and replace it with the cloned behavior of a psychopathic megalomaniac.

The Golden Rule or Ethic of Reciprocity is the basis of all religions apart from Islam (and maybe Satanism). It says ‘Treat others as you would like to be treated’ or ‘That which is hateful to you, do not do to another’.

But in Islam, the ‘Ethic of Reciprocity’ applies only to Muslims. The nearest approximation to the Golden Rule is “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself”. In other words, share the booty equally with your fellow (male) Muslims.

In contrast, Allah encourages murder, rape, pillage, extortion, parasitism and enslavement of non-Muslims, who are ‘najis’ subhumans to be treated as expendable garbage. Reciprocity does not extend beyond the global gang (Ummah). Muslim ethics are the ethics of the Mafia.

Islam is not about following one’s conscience, but about correct behavior. If one imitates the behaviors of Mohammed (The Perfect Man), then one has done all that is required to be a good Muslim. Hence ethical principles, as we understand them, are not a part of Islam.

With no system of morality or ethics as we would understand it, the greatest good is to work towards Islam’s domination of the entire world , and to achieve this objective any means are justified, just as Mohammed was vicious and ruthless in using any means to spread his cult.

Mohammed murdered, tortured, raped, looted, lied and extorted to further the expansion of Islam, and his modern followers do exactly the same.

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In France, the religious war few wish to face

(GATESTONE INSTITUTE) — The remains of St. Denis, the patron saint of Paris, who was decapitated in the year 250 during the brutal pagan persecution of Christians, lie north of the French capital in the basilica that bears his name.

The church is historically noteworthy as the first proper work of Gothic architecture, a style influenced by the Crusades. The basilica is now a rarely visited Parisian landmark, lying as it does within the profoundly Islamized enclave of Seine-Saint-Denis.

“You Christians, you kill us,” were the words of the ISIS knifeman who slit the throat of 85-year old Father Jacques Hamel. The elderly priest officiating at the altar of the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray — a mere three kilometres from the centre of Rouen in Normandy — was slain on July 25, as the two terrorists also took nuns hostage. The terrorists were then shot by police.

On August 5, police swept down on a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” [“Allah is the Greatest”] on the Champs-Élysées, the famous central thoroughfare of the capital of France. Video of the arrest shows passers-by: veiled Muslims, tourists, and presumably indigenous French men and women.

Both of these incidents, when aligned with recent mass outrages across France, including the Bataclan Theatre slaughter on November 13, and the mass carnage caused by a jihadist plot in Nice on July 14, point to a startling reality.

Despite the rhetoric by the government of Prime Minister Manuel Valls on removing dual nationality from those guilty of terrorism offenses and closing extremist mosques (20 of France’s 2,500 alleged mosques have been closed down to date), the violent consequences of jihadism are a daily reality and concern stalking the heart of most French metropolitan districts.

At 7.5% of the population, Muslims in France make up the highest concentration of Muslims of any country in Europe, according to Pew Research.

For decades, those warning of the inevitable consequences of mass Muslim immigration, during a time in history when Islamic fundamentalist doctrine was on the rise worldwide, have been maligned, prosecuted, imprisoned or assassinated.

With the security infrastructure now proving inadequate to cope with the sheer scale of enthusiasm for religious war amongst those Islamists born in France, and those able to enter the country — thanks to the open border policies of the EU — the threat continues to increase day by day.

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