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A Jesuit on Islam

posted by awelborn

An analysis at AsiaNews:

The time has come for a choice. If there is incompatibility between human rights and the rights set out in the Koran, then – I’m sorry to say – the Koran must be condemned; or else it must be said that our understanding of the Koran puts us against human rights and freedom of conscience, and so the interpretation must change.  One thing is certain: we can no longer keep silent.  The European bishops decided in recent days to dedicate the forthcoming year to studying the problems of Islam in Europe and Islam in the world, relations of European Union countries with Muslim-majority countries, from the perspective of international justice and reciprocity.  But if European countries keep silent, reciprocity can never be requested.

Muslims alone cannot change anything.  If Afghanistan were an isolated country, with no relations with the West, Abdul Rahman would have been killed.  Muslims with a profound awareness of human rights are a minority.  The Egyptian branch of Amnesty International, for example, publishes two monthly magazines in Arabic, but it not able to counterbalance the fundamentalist trend.  It is necessary that the international community intervenes with external pressure.  In the case of human rights, it is by no means a question of intrusion.  It is necessary to arrive at serious measures: exclusion from the U.N. of those who do not respect the Charter on human rights, economic boycotts, etc.   Perhaps, with a boycott, certain countries could initially take any even harder line, but in the long run countries and hundreds of millions of people could be saved from terrible oppression.

The human rights problem in the Islamic world is not tied only to apostasy.



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Simon

posted March 30, 2006 at 11:04 am


Wow.
That’s the most forthright, honest summary of the Islam/sharia problem I have ever heard from a Christian cleric. Or from almost anyone else, for that matter. Fr. Samir is a credit to the Society of Jesus.



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xavier

posted March 30, 2006 at 11:09 am


Amy & Simon:
I couldn’t agree more. For a taste of the contempt that Moslems have towards fredom of concisence red this absolutely wicked attack on Abdul:http://al-jack.blogspot.com/2006/03/intoxication-of-abdul-rahman-orthe.html
xavier



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Anglican Peggy

posted March 30, 2006 at 12:16 pm


xavier,
You realize that they have to save face. They have to turn Mr Rahman into the scum of the earth for fear that their whole view of the world will come crumbling down.
He has to be scum or insane to convert to any religion from the great islam. That is what they have been told from the time they were knee-high. They have been told that islam is obviously true and the natural state of man and anyone who is taught it properly cannot resist it and would never leave once they know the truth.
But I’m thinking that this fearful reaction is not unfounded. Rahman put on a pretty good show for himself in court. I trust that there are decent folk throughout the muslim world who picked up on that. My hope is that he will be a convincing witness now that he is in the West. I hope that is is indeed a good, gentle and honest man. If he is the truth will prevail. If he is willing, his story told in his own language and smuggled into countries where the media either ignored or misreported the story will be of great benefit to many people.
We’ll just have to wait and see. If he wants to settle quietly somewhere or if he’s not quite ready in his personal life to be much of a witness right now, I can respect that. I know that I am a sinner too and I didnt become perfect the day that I came to Christ either
;-)
God bless Abdul Rahman and his souls journey through this life. What Muslims will never understand is how we can accept and love someone unconditionally and also respect their rights regardless of their personal ratio of goodness vs imperfection. For them, a person who doesnt follow the laws and prohibitions of islam is no good and therefore not worth anything. We know that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. With prayer and solid guidance, I am confident that we will sooner or later gain a good man for the Kingdom the same one that islam would have wasted by throwing him away to be killed. We are the lucky ones and I dont think they will ever understand that in their current darkness.



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Bender

posted March 30, 2006 at 1:05 pm


The time has come for a choice. If there is incompatibility between human rights and the rights set out in the Koran, then – I’m sorry to say – the Koran must be condemned
Only now has the time come? Bless the good Father, but its clear that we’ve been in a second dark ages the last 400 years, not realizing that Islam has been a threat ever since the Prophet put the sword to his first victims.
Of course there is an incompatibility, but the Koran can never be condemned because that would indicate that resistance against Islam has been justified and that things like the Crusades were good things — and we all know that the Crusades were worse than the Nazi Holocaust.



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Bender

posted March 30, 2006 at 1:13 pm


That said, I am certain that there are plenty of people that are quietly condemning the Koran in their hearts — Muslims included.
I would not be misled by the apparent large numbers of Muslims condemning our brother Abdul and other Christian converts. We must remember that, in addition to its other evils, Islam is a form of totalitarianism — not only can the Muslim not speak out without being denounced, but if he or she does not sufficiently join in those denunciations, then become suspect themselves.
Remember all the crowds in Communist countries cheering for Communism and denouncing America? Then Communism fell and they were free to show how they really felt. The same when Baghdad fell — all those seeming pro-Saddam people started smacking their shoes on his pictures and statutes.
I would wager that many of the Muslims out there denouncing Abdul and participating in other protests are secretly praising Abdul and praying for the day when they can be freed from the bondage of Islam.



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Clare Krishan

posted March 30, 2006 at 1:18 pm


While it is laudable that a pedagogical pater recognizing shadows sees the Light, may I remind folks ignorant of history that before IRAQ was carved out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire after WWI & WWII, that hegemony had been maintained by western Christians jealous of their eastern Christian brothers and sisters influence in Turkey – consider the history of the Crimean war and why ‘archeo’-con father of free trade Richard Cobden decried that policy over 150 years ago
(excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Cobden)
“However, owing to the quarrel about the religious sites of Palestine, which arose in the east of Europe, public opinion suddenly veered round, and all the suspicion and hatred which had been directed against the emperor of the French were diverted from him to the emperor of Russia. Louis Napoleon was taken into favour as England’s faithful ally, and in a whirlwind of popular excitement the nation was swept into the Crimean War.
Again confronting public sentiment, Cobden, who had travelled in Turkey, and had studied its politics, was dismissive of the outcry about maintaining the independence and integrity of the Ottoman empire. He denied that it was possible to maintain them, and no less strenuously denied that it was desirable. He believed that the jealousy of Russian aggrandizement and the dread of Russian power were absurd exaggerations. He maintained that the future of European Turkey was in the hands of the Christian population, and that it would have been wiser for England to ally herself with them rather than with what he saw as the doomed and decaying Islamic power. “You must address yourselves,” he said in the House of Commons, “as men of sense and men of energy, to the question—what are you to do with the Christian population? for Mahommedanism [ Islam ] cannot be maintained, and I should be sorry to see this country fighting for the maintenance of Mahommedanism … You may keep Turkey on the map of Europe, you may call the country by the name of Turkey if you like, but do not think you can keep up the Mahommedan rule in the country.” The torrent of popular sentiment in favour of war was, however, irresistible; and Cobden and Bright were overwhelmed with obloquy.”
“…visiting the sins of the fathers…to the 3rd and 4th generation…” Ex 20:4 and 34:5
Now, assuming a biblical lifespan of ‘three score years and ten’, that historical wound to the His Apostolic Church could still be scything its harvest 100 years from now unless we ‘breath with two lungs’ as directed to by JPII the Great (the ‘great romance’ of Valentine’s Day isn’t coincidentally the feast of SS Cyril and Methodius, Providence saw fit to record it that way for posterity’s sake)
God Bless
Clare



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TSO

posted March 30, 2006 at 1:44 pm


Tony Blankley wrote last year:
“Eventually it will dawn on Western leaders and public opinion that it would be safer to keep some distance between the West and Islam. Everything from Internet connections to immigration, to tourism, to business, to trade will be more carefully controlled, if not partially disconnected.”



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Simon

posted March 30, 2006 at 1:51 pm


The Rahman case is certainly waking up a lot of people in the west. Although I think a tipping point was reached with the insane, violent, and deceitful riots over the Danish cartoons. At that point, radical Islam moved beyond parody.



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mulopwepaul

posted March 30, 2006 at 2:08 pm


Ms. Krishnan, my apologies, but I don’t see what you’re saying, except that Western Christians owe Eastern Christians an apology for something.
How does this relate to Islam’s history of religious oppression?
PVO



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TSO

posted March 30, 2006 at 2:38 pm


A few months ago Rod Dreher wrote of the Pope, who now seems prescient:
“The Asia Times Online columnist Spengler notes that Pope Benedict XVI is recently reported to have observed that Islam cannot reform itself along the lines the West is depending on. The reason is very simple: unlike Judaism and Christianity, which take the Bible to be the inspired word of God, mediated through humans and therefore subject to interpretation, Islam believes the Koran is the literal and direct word of God, dictated to the Prophet. If you believe this, then it’s easy to see why diverging too far from the plain text of the Koran is blasphemous (and we know what happens to those deemed to have blasphemed against Islam). Spengler is amazed by the silence from the Western media over this remarkable statement attributed to the current Pope.”



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 30, 2006 at 3:30 pm


The answer to the problem is not to condemn the Koran, which will receive no sympathy or understanding at all from faithfull Muslims, but instead, as Samir Khalil Samir argues, to read the Koran in the way it is supposed to be read – against violence and killing and for justice, peace, and tolerance.
Let’s not forget its also possible to read our own scriptures as advocating violence, war, and the killing of heretics (just read Moses).
What is needed is simply knowledge of God and good exegesis.
God Bless



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Denise

posted March 30, 2006 at 3:39 pm


The Abdul Rahman case was a huge blow to the delusion that Islam is a religion of peace. I really want to believe that Islam can exist in a peaceful form. Yet daily this seems less and less realistic.



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Bender

posted March 30, 2006 at 3:52 pm


to read the Koran in the way it is supposed to be read – against violence and killing and for justice, peace, and tolerance.
Chris, good ole reliable Chris, just as non-Catholics should not presume to tell Catholics what Catholicism is all about, and non-Christians should not presume to tell Christians how to be true Christians, so we non-Muslims should not presume or have the audacity to tell Muslims how the Koran is supposed to be read.
I would suppose, however, that the proper way for a Muslim to read the Koran is in an Islamic way, and not the Christian way that you suggest (before you characteristically slam Christians). I would agree that the best thing for Muslims would be to have “knowledge of God,” but they do not have “God,” they have Allah, who is totally foreign to any concept of either the God of Abraham and Moses or the God of Jesus Christ.



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Bender

posted March 30, 2006 at 3:54 pm


As for me, I find that the Koran makes an excellent footstool.



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Truth

posted March 30, 2006 at 3:58 pm


Fruits of Suffering

Abdul Rahman gave his first interview with foreign journalists today in Italy: In Kabul they would have killed me, I’m sure of it, said Abdul Rahman, who is under protection after being spirited out of Afghanistan to a secret location



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Local Man

posted March 30, 2006 at 4:11 pm


Yeah Chris – you’re not sufficiently hateful.



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xavier

posted March 30, 2006 at 4:17 pm


Chris:
Sadly it’s impossible to read the Koran with what you have in mind. Part of the problem is the peculiar Islamic doctrine of revocation. I find Islam unreasonable when Moslem apologists explain to non-Moslems that the Jews and Christians corrupted their holy books so much that God was obliged to revoke them.
That has very serious consequences as I wrote at my blog where I briefly examined the 10 commandments and compared to the Koran. Compare the 5th commandment against false witness and taquiyya. How ccan Moslem apologists reasonably claim that Jews and Christians corrupted the understanding of that commandment so thoroughly that God revoked it and allowed deceit?
If you read the post you can see the other consequences.
Anglican Amy:
I’m aware of the need to save face but still the vitriol is out of proportion. To me, the reaction signifies that Moslems deep down know that their religion is false and Mohammed was never a prophet; so a fearful prudence compels many Moslems to put up with the pretences.
And I agree that Abdul’s modesty, humility and serenity really opened other Moslem eyes about our Lord.



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Christine

posted March 30, 2006 at 4:23 pm


Islam is an Arian heresy. Muslims may be monotheists but their deity is very different from the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus the Christ.
I wonder if Mohammed was reading all those peaceful verses in the Koran while the Christians of North Africa were being slaughtered in the name of the religion of peace?
Chris, will you ever come to grips with the way things *really* are, not as you wish they were?
This is the 21st century. I’ve yet to find a Christian who was killed by other Christians because he switched religions. If anything, we would pray that he would see the light and return and if he didn’t all we can do is commend him to a merciful God who alone will judge him.
Read and read some more — by their fruits you shall know them, said Jesus.



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Christine

posted March 30, 2006 at 4:30 pm


Xavier, because Islam holds up a book that they believe was literally dictated word for word by God they cannot budge. Christians, believing in the Incarnation know that the only true and living word is the Eternal Word, Jesus Christ who alone can bring us salvation.
To Muslems Jesus might also say “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me. Yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men. But I know that you have not the love of God within you.”
The Scriptures are the witness to the Word but only the Word Himself can give life. I pray that someday Muslims will come to understand this. They have been sadly deceived.



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Simon

posted March 30, 2006 at 4:58 pm


read the Koran in the way it is supposed to be read – against violence and killing and for justice, peace, and tolerance.
Let’s not forget its also possible to read our own scriptures as advocating violence, war, and the killing of heretics (just read Moses).

I’m sorry, but this is pretty sloppy logic. Yes, Christians have our own history of violence (FAR less than that of Islam, at any period, but real nonetheless). But that is not the result of a belief that scripture OBLIGES Christians to behave in oppressive, violent or intolerant behavior.
The “just read Moses” meme, which the theophobe crowd uses over and over to establish moral equivalence between the West and Islam, would require a highly selective reading of the Old Testament — and a complete disregard of the New Testament. Even if such a reading were plausible, it would be alien to historic (or current) Christianity.
As others have noted already, all that matters is how Muslims themselves read their own scripture, not how we might wish them to interpret it. And the reality is that the dominant interpretations of the Koran and hadiths within Islam — now and for nearly all of the past 13 centuries — have included the beliefs that apostates must die, Christians and Jews must be subjected to humiliation, and non-believers must be conquered or killed.
Fr. Samir is not saying, “Hey, you silly Muslims have been interpreting your scripture incorrectly. Look here, the Koran is really all about love!” He seems to be saying something more like this:
“Either Muslims find a religiously plausible (to Muslims) way within their own tradition to uphold fundamental human rights and dignity, or the whole world will continue to ask quietly how a belief system so chronically conducive to violence, hatred and oppression can possibly claim to come from God.”



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Christine

posted March 30, 2006 at 4:58 pm


One more thing, Chris. Moslems often speak of duty and their “love” of the Koran. But Christians speak of the God who IS love. Can you please cite references in the Koran that speak of God as love in the sense that the books of John in the New Testament do, or of his children having a relationship with him as Father as Jesus modeled?



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 30, 2006 at 5:42 pm


Christine,
Christians also speak of our duty and our love of the Bible.
The Qu’ran is full of the story of God’s great love for us and his desire for an intimate and personal relationship with us.
A good place to start would be to look at the 99 names of God here or here.
Hope this helps,
God Bless



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mulopwepaul

posted March 30, 2006 at 5:48 pm


#50: The Loving paints him as one who loves, not love itself.
I also challenge the validity of #86: The compassionate, in view of the muslim denial of the incarnation. Allah didn’t suffer with us if he didn’t fully share our humanity.
PVO



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Simon

posted March 30, 2006 at 5:54 pm


Chris:
Muslims refering to God as “The Compassionate One” (along with 98 similar titles) does not mitigate the fact that their standard, orthodox interpretion of their own scripture entails the beliefs that apostates must die, dhimmis must be subjected to constant humiliation (or worse), and that the entire non-Islamic world exists in order that Muslims may conquer it by force of arms.
There is a measure of truth, and certainly beauty, in Islam. No one is denying that. But the critical question posed by Fr. Samir is can Islam be interpreted by religious Muslims such that it upholds, rather than offends, human rights?
So far, the answers are not at all promising. But we can hope.



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 30, 2006 at 6:15 pm


their standard, orthodox interpretion of their own scripture entails the beliefs that apostates must die, dhimmis must be subjected to constant humiliation (or worse), and that the entire non-Islamic world exists in order that Muslims may conquer it by force of arms.
That isn’t the common interpretation amongst Muslims but that amongst extremists and those who confuse extremists for Islam as a whole.
One needs to bear in mind that in Islam, unlike in Catholicism, there is no magisterium or pope to authoritatively interpret scripture.
It’s really a sola scriptura religion.
God Bless



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Bender

posted March 30, 2006 at 6:27 pm


I fully agree that it is “really a sola scriptura religion” — and I would go further that this raises some great implications for our Protestant brethern who insist on promoting that idea (but that’s for another discussion). Unfortunately, your other comment fails to hit the mark.
Again, we are non-Muslims. Thus, who are we to say who is an “extremist” in Islam and who is not? If Osama bin Laden says that true Islam involves crashing planes into buildings and trying to get a nuke to blow up D.C. — who am I, a non-Muslim, to say that he is wrong??? Who am I to say that Islam means something else?? Its their religion, not ours!
I don’t want them telling me what Catholicism is, and I’m not going to tell them what Islam is.



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Anglican Peggy

posted March 30, 2006 at 6:40 pm


Chris,
You make a big, but common mistake in your thinking.
There is a difference between fine talk and fine talk backed up by consistent reasoning and action.
I was once tempted by islam until I realized that all of the fine talk of islam could not cancel out the inconsistency and contradiction in its teachings.
For all of its talk about love, peace, tolerance, a relationship with God etc there are literally countless examples and teachings and principles and disciplines to the contrary.
Christianity is consistent with a God of real peace, love, tolerance and relationship because Christ was so perfectly consistent in these things.
In islam you have fine talk and the rest is furious spinning trying to reconcile all the rest to that talk.
I wish I had the time to explain better. Dont be fooled by talk is all I can say.
I’ll leave you with just one last thought.
Which is the greater Love?
A loved one is sick, even dying, in the hospital.
One relative sends a get well card expressing their undying Love in spite of being able to come in person.
Another relative comes for a visit in person and cares for that sick relative with their own hands.
The Koran is that get well card sent from beyond by an all powerful relative who could have done more than send someone else with a message.
The Bible testifies that God Himself exercised his Almighty and limitless power and came Himself to raise us up, bind our wounds, and to nurse us back to health with his own l divine life.
We have to look past the fine words and the content and context of those words. Then we have to look at the whole counsel of any faith that claims to have these fine sentiments.
Its true that for muslims the Koran plus mohammed’s example is the sum of all faith.
Its true that for Christians that Christ is the sum of all faith.
Compare the two. There is a very great difference between the sum and final arbiter of all faith and in Islam and the sum and final arbiter of all faith in Christianity which is Christ.
In other words, the koran and the example of mohammed are the rule of islam that decides all questions on what to do and what not to do. That message is illogically inconsistent and garbled unless one spins madly to make it otherwise.
Christ is the rule for Christians. We look to his perfectly consistent example to show us how to live and how to interpret our holy book. The New Testament, as the explication of Christ, becomes the rule for interpreting the Old Testament and what the New Testament upholds, Christians uphold and what it overturns, Christians overturn. Through Christ The New Testament provides the consistent and rational and reasonable guide for Christian life and belief and it brings the Bible into perfect focus.
There is nothing of the kind in islam to make sense of the mess that mohammed left behind him of fine vaunted sentiments one the one hand and a great mass of mixed example and ilogical and contradictory teachings on the other hand.
Relationship? What kind of relationship is it where the two parties are divided by an insurmountable divide? What kind of relationship is formed with a God so jealous of his priveledge that he would never lower himself to be with his loved ones even if he could? What kind of loving God gives his human creatures paper with words on it as their food instead of his own divine substance?
The characters of God taught by mohammed is inconsistent with a God who really loves. His love comes at no cost and his favor must be earned!!!!!!!
What kind of love is that?



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 30, 2006 at 7:04 pm


Bender,
The Qu’ran is clear, the followers of Jesus are Muslims. We are Muslims. A Muslim is simply a follower of God.
God Bless



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Tom Haessler

posted March 30, 2006 at 7:47 pm


Chris,
I respect your desire to show love for Muslims, our fellow sojourners on this planet. However, your understanding of Islam is highly idiosyncratic and would not be endorsed by mainstream apologists for Islam. I strongly recommend the reading of works by your fellow Catholic Robert Spencer who’s made a thorough study of the Quran and the Hadith. All four schools of jurisprudence recognized by Sunni Islam and the Shia school of jurisprudence call for the death penalty for those converting to Christianity. If Christians are really “Muslims” (something entirely incorrect according to orthodox Muslim teaching – what is taught is that we WERE Muslim before the age of reason and then succombed to the corruption of our environment by commiting the sin of “shirk” – associating creatures with the Deity by believing in the Incarnation), then why are Muslims taught that they must push for a societal arrangement in which Christians and Jews and Zoroastrians are permitted to be second class citizens (dhimmitude), while all others are to convert to Islam or be executed.



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Tom Haessler

posted March 30, 2006 at 7:57 pm


If one examines the 99 names for Allah we find the Compeller, the Subduer, the Abaser, the Constrictor, the Dishonourer, and the Preventer.
These are all names which, thank God, are not found in Christianity and Judaism. Atheistic existentialism mistakenly believes that if God exists we cannot exist because God causes everything and that we would be nothing without our free will. This critique does hit the mark with Islam because what Muslims mean by the Compeller is that every evil act done by the sinner is directly caused by God. There is no free will in Islam. This is why all those (like many of the Sufis) who’ve had the courage to go beyond the texts and the Shari’ah to worship the True God in spirit and in truth have been deemed as heretics and have often been killed.



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 30, 2006 at 7:58 pm


why are Muslims taught that they must push for a societal arrangement in which Christians and Jews and Zoroastrians are permitted to be second class citizens
For similar reasons as Christian churches once taught this. See for example :-
3rd Lateran Council, Cannon 26 :-
Jews and Saracens are not to be allowed to have christian servants in their houses, either under pretence of nourishing their children or for service or any other reason. Let those be excommunicated who presume to live with them. We declare that the evidence of Christians is to be accepted against Jews in every case, since Jews employ their own witnesses against Christians, and that those who prefer Jews to Christians in this matter are to lie under anathema, since Jews ought to be subject to Christians and to be supported by them on grounds of humanity alone.
Fourth Lateran Council, cannons 68 (Jews must wear distinctive clothing in public) and 69 (Jews not to hold public offices).
Power, wealth, fear, political domination. The same old factors.
Its no more Islamic than the above cannons are Christian.
God Bless



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 30, 2006 at 8:02 pm


This is why all those (like many of the Sufis) who’ve had the courage to go beyond the texts and the Shari’ah to worship the True God in spirit and in truth have been deemed as heretics and have often been killed.
Christians, on the other hand, have never ever ever condemned other Christians as heretics or killed them.
In his Summa, St Thomas even defends the execution of heretics.
The Catechism of the Catholic church admits the Church herself used torture on heretics.
From which we conclude what ?
That Christianity teaches the execution of heretics ?
Or St Thomas was wrong, and all those sections of the Church which followed him ?
God Bless



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Tom Haessler

posted March 30, 2006 at 8:05 pm


Well, Chris, I wouldn’t be surprised if one could find among Lefebvrists strong support of these canons. However, among practicing Catholics today virtually none would be anything other than embarrassed by them. However, the number of Muslims today supporting dhimmitude numbers in the hundreds of millions and the “moderates” are to be found here and there among fashionable academic faculty lounge lizards.



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Dave

posted March 30, 2006 at 8:14 pm


I interviewed Robert Spencer author of The “Politically Incorrect Guide To Islam and The Crusades” on my CatholicReport.org site last fall. It is rather telling that he’s been talking this way along. At first, he was dubbed anti-Islamic and now much of what he says is believed. The interview was done last fall and some comments were added afterwards. If you want to read the interview just enter Robert Spencer in the search feature at CatholicReport.org BTW He’s a Melkite Catholic.



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 30, 2006 at 8:17 pm


Ok Tom, but what you are talking about is the attitudes and pratices of Muslims. About sin.
Islam itself, and what the Qu’ran teaches, is something different to this.
Just as it isn’t helpful to conflate the sin and mistaken ideas of Christians with Christianity, neither is it helpful to conflate the sin and mistaken ideas of Muslims with Islam.
God Bless



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Jon W

posted March 30, 2006 at 9:11 pm


Chris Sullivan might be looking at Islam through rose-colored glasses; I don’t entirely know.
What I do know is that pretty much the whole world realizes that Islam is either a religion of peace or it is a wicked lie.
Whether “orthodox” Islam is also “peaceful” Islam is not really the issue. The question is whether the rest of the West is going to have the cajones to make sure that “surviving” Islam is “peaceful” Islam.



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Bender

posted March 30, 2006 at 10:12 pm


Chris says “We are Muslims.”
Well, Chris, you should be much more careful about what you say and how you say it. Since you have said that, if you now express a belief in the Trinity, or in the divinity of Christ, there are some that might consider you to be an apostate from Islam. And if you were in an Islamic country, it could get you your head served up on a platter — literally.
To say “We are Muslims” may not be the Islamic profession of faith, but I wouldn’t even mess around with saying “We are Muslims.” I’m certainly not.



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Bender

posted March 30, 2006 at 10:24 pm


Don’t you think it a little odd that, if we accept Chris’ idea of Islam, the worst Muslim ever was Mohammed?



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mulopwepaul

posted March 30, 2006 at 10:30 pm


I don’t think Mr. Sullivan’s analysis of the Lateran councils is honest, or even relevant for that matter.
The relationship between Jews and Catholics has been bloodstained from the beginning. Arguing for separation of the two parties is not the same as “slaughter the unbelievers wherever you find them.
But, any stick will do to beat a dog, I suppose.
PVO



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Rick

posted March 30, 2006 at 11:02 pm


The Qu’ran is full of the story of God’s great love for us and his desire for an intimate and personal relationship with us.
So is “A Course in Miracles,” isn’t it?
As with the Qu’ran, many sincerely religious people are devoted to the Course.
Like the Qu’ran, it speaks respectfully of Christ.
But also like the Qu’ran, it denies Jesus “come in the flesh”, ie, it denies the Incarnation and Passion. St. John takes such denials quite seriously.
I suppose one could see the Qu’ran as noninspired but still edifying human writing, like the Analects or the Symposium or the Nicomachean Ethics.
But isn’t it possible, Chris, that the Qu’ran is better compared to something like “A Course in Miracles” — a false and dangerous revelation?



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Sydney Carton

posted March 31, 2006 at 4:01 am


“The Qu’ran is clear, the followers of Jesus are Muslims.”
You know, to an idiot with no reading comprehension, that might make sense. It’s like saying, “The Bible is clear, the followers of Moses are Christians.” It kinda makes you wonder, “ok, but then what the heck are the Jews?” And then, of course, you wonder, “who the heck are the followers of Mohammed?”
Once again, we see Chris treating Christianity and Islam as nearly identical. This kind of simpleminded, foolish logic has no place in the real world, where if Chris were to say this to nearly any living Muslim on the planet, he’d have a good chance of getting killed. You can also say that things float in “space”, and that “space” is everywhere too. But if you walk off a roof, expect gravity to take over.
Naturally, you won’t find Chris saying these sort of things of Muslim blogs – even “moderate” muslim blogs kinked to by Mark Shea yesterday. It’s quite easy for Chris to post those things there. But if he did, you’d see a flare-up real quick, and a denunciation that makes my words look like a compliment in comparison. And, as I said earlier, the fact that he’s still alive posting these insane comments suggests that he hasn’t told a living, breathing Muslim to his face this insane theology.
Reality always has a way of slapping you back into clear thinking. Chris should stop posting on Catholic blogs if he really believes this crap, and start posting on Islamic blogs. Heck, he should move to Afghanistan and tell everyone who wanted to kill the recent convert that there were plain wrong. They’re really followers of Jesus, you see.
For a man with a 3rd grade logic, and with no sense of history, and a complete lack of context born of living in the real world instead of the confines of the internet, I’m amazed that anyone puts up with him.



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 9:02 am


“A good place to start would be to look at the 99 names of God here or here.
Hope this helps,”
No, Chris, it doesn’t help. There is no comparison there to what St. John writes in the New Testament: Love is not just an “attribute” of God, God *IS* love. There is a tremendous difference. And please don’t call me a Muslim. I am not a Muslim. I am a follower and believer in God Immanuel, God With Us, God in the Flesh in Jesus Christ. Islam means “submission”.
And may I make, with fear and trembling, a very small suggestion — our Jewish friends are often, and rightly, appalled at how casually we Christians toss the Holy Name off our lips (pleading guilty to having many, many times myself tossed out “Oh my God!” in casual conversation). I find the way you always sign off with “God Bless” a bit trivial. It loses it’s authenticity. Did you know there is a passage in Scripture God says we are not to give out his blessings lightly? They are far, far too sacred.
Just a thought from another very imperfect follower of Jesus.



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 9:35 am


Chris Sullivan’s post of 7:58:22 pm, March 30 is to the point: judge not.
TSO’s post of 1:44:20 pm, March 30, quoting Tony Blankley, is also to the point: separate, then live and let live.



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 9:51 am


Well, the Gospels are very clear that the Father has appointed Jesus as the judge of all things. All people, including Muslims, will appear before him to give an account. While we cannot judge the heart of each and every Muslims (or anyone, for that matter) for those who call themselves Christian the requirements are very clearly set out in the New Testament. Jesus says that those who deny him before others in this life he will deny before the Father at the judgment.
Very sobering thoughts.
May our lives as Christians continue to give witness to the God who became one of us through the power of the Holy Spirit, born of a Virgin Mother.
I will be more than happy to live and let live when the Muslim world agrees to do the same.



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 9:57 am


Christine:
As an American, I can only propose that if we were to remove our presence, both military and corporate, from nations controlled by Muslims, relations with them might improve.
In the interim, we can be about removing the planks from our own eyes.



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 10:10 am


Rob, I am not speaking about military issues. I’m not much in agreement with our presence in Iraq these days. But I think I can safely say that had we never gone into any Middle Eastern country, Christians to this day would still not be permitted to erect Churches in Saudia Arabia.
Our witness as Christians has to do with fidelity to the Gospel, not with the fact that we share the same human weaknesses that all humanity inherited through original sin — part of that includes a firm witness to Jesus Christ as true God and true Man, even when other traditions such as Muslims would deny it. That’s been going on since St. John wrote against the gnostics in the early Church who denied that God had come in the flesh in Christ.
Here’s a small snippet from John Allen today:
“There is, however, one intriguing area of contrast: Islam. To put it bluntly, Benedict is more of a hawk, pursuing a kind of interaction with Muslims one might call “tough love.”
Much as I deeply respected Pope John Paul II, I think this Holy Father is going to have a more realistic approach to matters concerning the Muslim world. Because he is such an excellent theologian as well scripture scholar I don’t think he will have the excessive optimism John Paul sometimes displayed.



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 10:22 am


Christine:
So, then, what you would advocate is simply continuing with the present course of action, which will mean small-scale fighting and dying for the foreseeable future?
Or do you see some way that Islam can be defeated, once and for all?



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 10:30 am


Rob, good grief, did I not just say above that I no longer am in agreement with the U.S. presence in Iraq? If I had my way I’d bring all the troops home but unfortunately President Bush hasn’t asked me my opinion or sought my permission.
I’m not looking to “defeat” Islam. What I AM saying is that when Muslims come to the West they expect to have all the rights respected. I am saying that the same rights should be extended to Jews, Christians, whomever, who live or work in Muslim environments. It is utterly insane that a Christian worker in Saudi Arabia can be hassled for merely carrying a Bible! Do you say anyone in the U.S. throwing Muslims in jail for carrying the Koran?
I am also saying that Christians these days need to be intentional, as intentional as the early Church was, firm in their commitment to and public witness for Jesus Christ. We need to take our faith seriously, starting with our worship. It is my firm belief that there are vast differences between how Muslims and Christians view the world and things “seen and unseen”. I am not going to back down from that.
That does not mean I am about to go out and persecute anyone who disagrees with me. I am grateful that Benedict is willing to take a firmer stand on these issues.



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Tim J.

posted March 31, 2006 at 10:43 am


Chris-
“Islam itself, and what the Qu’ran teaches, is something different to this.”
The Holy Father disagrees. He has noted very recently his belief that the cure for the current fever in Islam is not to be found in any re-interpretation of the Q’uran.
Evangelize.
If the people in Muslim lands had a really Christian nation to serve as a witness, I believe many would be inspired to embrace the Christian faith.
They (and we) mistakenly look at the U.S. as a Christian nation, when we are in fact several decades post-Christian in our culture.
So, on the one hand you have many in the U.S. insisting (against the weight of evidence) that we are in fact a Christian nation, and many in the Muslim world concluding that Christianity = Madonna, porn and gay marriage.



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 10:45 am


Christine:
It’s not about Iraq. It was not Iraqis who attacked the World Trade Center, it was Muslims, from various countries. They attacked us as Muslims. The “War on Terror” is a war with Muslims, not with nationalists from any country, or coalition of countries. So we are at war with Islam.
If we want religious rights to be extended to Christians and Jews in Muslim countries living under Shari’a law, we will first have to defeat and abolish Islam in those countries, or at least render it powerless.
How do you propose to do that? If you don’t propose to do that, it is completely pointless to speak of Christians having rights in countries ruled by fundamentalist Muslims; it won’t happen.



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 10:54 am


Rob, I hear what you’re saying but the reality is that we now DO have troops in Iraq, no matter who, what or where the whole dang situation began.
What I’d like to see happen is what is happening in Brazil. They are successfully disengaging themselves from oil dependency in developing non-petroleum fuel. I’d like to see America do the same. Then we can pretty much disengage, telling those Muslim countries that are organized under theocratical rule, have at it folks, but don’t bother coming to our shores and we won’t come to yours. Oil and vinegar don’t mix.
But of course, corporate America, especially the oil industry, isn’t going to go for that.



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 11:03 am


As for evangelizing them, that’s a very good idea, but one that would take an awful lot of help from God, I’m afraid.
Unlike any other world religion, Islam came into existence in the Christian era. It was, in fact, in great part, a reaction *against* Christianity, which it sees as not being truly monotheistic. The Koran explicitly considers Christianity and rejects it. To a Muslim, the Koran is the direct word of God. I would think that this combination of factors makes Muslims the most difficult of all peoples to convert; they aren’t ignorant of Christ, but hostile to Him (as the Son of God) on the basis of the word of Allah.
Muslims have reverence for Christ (and for Mary). They consider Christ to be a great prophet who will return to judge humanity at the End of Time. But they will never (I think) accept the Triune God in any but very tiny numbers. I hope that I’m wrong.



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 11:19 am


Well, as the example of Abdul Rahman shows when *some* Muslims are permitted to have contact with Christian teaching they do begin to think, hmmmm …..
And that, of course, is what it’s all about. Don’t allow any contact between Muslims and others that would sow the seeds of doubt.
Muslims, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses have much in common in that respect. They all came into existence after the beginning of the Christian era, all believe they have divinely-dictated infallible scriptures but at least the Mormons and JW don’t bomb their opponents.
Mohammed had enough exposure to the teachings of Jews and Christians to incorporate much of both into the Koran. He was also unfluenced by the Arian heresy of the time which resolutely refused to recognize the divine/human nature of Christ. It’s all so very logical.
I had read somewhere that the reprobates who bombed the towers were having a good time — indeed, a *very* good time — in the U.S., indulging in alcohol and what would be called suspicious cultural activities involving women. Several were educated in the U.S. So some of this is assuredly a cultural backlash.
Of course, if much of the world ever does succeed in turning away from petroleum it would be very interesting to see how quickly much of Muslim culture could change. Like it or not, money talks.



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 11:41 am


Christine–
Money most assuredly does talk. Which is why the Bushes are so buddy-buddy with the Saudi royals, and why Saudi Arabia is an “ally”, despite being the major funder of those schools for terrorists we hear so much about.
The Islamic world had been basically dormant, at least towards the West, since the demise of the Ottoman Empire. The intrusion of the Jewish state of Israel, backed by Western power and money, and the presence of Western military installations in Muslim countries has renewed the old conflict.
Muslims, by the way, except in the most backward, remote areas (like Afghanistan) have ample opportunity to access Christian materials; they have computers and satellite TV; they travel; they have relatives in Western countries; in some countries they even have churches.



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mulopwepaul

posted March 31, 2006 at 11:50 am


Islam is a pastiche religion synthesised to justify Arab hegemony; it took what it found useful from other nearby religions, but the understanding of Christian doctrine reflected in the Koran is approximately that of a 7th grader doing a cut and paste report from an encyclopaedia.
The Koran completely misrepresents the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation (incoherently, since it accepts the notion of a divine word in Christ, but not a divine Christ) and attributes the divination of Mary to Christian doctrine.
http://www.bible.ca/islam/islam-bible-koran-errors-catholic-mariolatry-trinity-father-son-mary.htm
The worship of Mary was the Collyridian heresy in existence in the eastern margins of the Byzantine Empire in the immediate post-Nicene era, but there is no evidence of it surviving anywhere past the fifth century. The editors of the Koran seem to have read of a dead heresy and injected it into their understanding of Christianity.
Anyone who starts a discussion of the Koran by saying it was dictated from Muhammad between 610 and 632 is merely reciting the story Islam offers to legitimise itself. There is no physical evidence at all to support this claim. The errors and internal contradictions are immediate reason to challenge this alleged history.
PVO



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 12:00 pm


“Anyone who starts a discussion of the Koran by saying it was dictated from Muhammad between 610 and 632 is merely reciting the story Islam offers to legitimise itself.”
Indeed. We do have extra-canonical sources that mention the historical Jesus. The convergence of teachings that became Islam were very useful for uniting the pagan Arab tribes.



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 12:05 pm


Rob, while I agree with you about the chumminess of U.S. governments with the House of Saud, your statement “the Islamic world had been basically dormant, at least towards the West, since the demise of the Ottoman Empire.”
I’m not sure Eastern Orthodox Christians would agree with you on that one. It was because of the imposition of the Ottomans that there are European Muslims in the former Yugoslavia.
And while we’re lamenting the sins of the West against Islam, the royal houses of the Middle East sure aren’t rejecting the billions provided by the West that help sustain their populations.



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Noah Nehm

posted March 31, 2006 at 12:05 pm


Chris:
Your desire to make a broad equivalence between Christianity and Islam based on passages in the Koran that reflect a Judeo-Christian understanding of God misses the point. What we are really talking about here is the Sharia, which has its roots not only in the Koran but also the Hadith.
The problem with the Sharia is that it is much less malleable system of jurisprudence than that which we enjoy in the West. Because it is perceived as being derived from revelation, it is much harder to justify any change or reinterpretation. Because Christianity allows a secular order (Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s…), there is just more leeway in how a Christian society will organize itself. And, in the sacred order (I’m thinking of Canon Law here), the law tends not to be dictated by but rather derived from Christian principles.
As I see it, two things which are starkly and undeniably different between Sharia and Western Law. First, as Msgr. Brandmuller writes:

…The biggest difference between Christianity and Islam concerns the crucial issue of understanding the human person.
This is shown by the fact that many Islamic countries have not accepted the declaration of human rights promulgated by the United Nations in 1948, or have done so with the reservation of excluding the norms that conflict with Qur’anic law — which means practically all of them. From an historical point of view, therefore, it must be recognized that the declaration of the rights of man is a cultural fruit of the Christian world, even though these are “universal” norms, in that they are valid for all. In Islamic tradition, in fact, the concept of the equality of all human beings does not exist, nor does, in consequence, the concept of the dignity of every human life. Sharia is founded upon a threefold inequality: between man and woman, between Muslim and non-Muslim, and between freeman and slave.

The second issue – and this also goes back to the understanding of the human person – is the fact that Islam allows polygamy. Without going into the details, it is clear that any society that embeds polygamy into its culture winds up with a number of pathologies not found in societies that where monogamy reigns. Among these are a higher level of violence, not only within but at its borders, a high rate of consanguinuity in its marriages, etc.
In short, I think that you’ve got it backwards: you believe that the differences between Christianity and Islam are superficial, that they are in their essence really just one religion. I believe that despite certain similarities, there is a wide gulf that separates us in how we perceive and relate to God, and how we understand the human person.



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Dennis

posted March 31, 2006 at 12:10 pm


Excellent article by Fr. Samir. Perhaps we shouldn’t give up hope on the Jesuits just yet!
The West must wake up and stop the PC-blather about Islam being an “Abrahamic Religon” or a “Religion of Peace”. Yes, Islam may use words like “Peace”, or call God “Merciful” and “Compassionate”, but these words mean very different things to Muslims than they do to most people, and the “Allah” of Islam is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Islamic theology, “Peace” means a world under Islamic domination, until which time the Muslims are called to wage Jihad against infidels; and “Mercy” and “Compassion” are likewise reserved for the followers of Islam (or at the very least, a modicum of Mercy and Compassion are allowed to those who submit to Dhimmitude).
As for the Koran, it’s an unreadbale and incoherent mess, an agglomoration of half-understood ideas taken from Judaism, Christianity (mostly of the Gnostic kind), Zoroastrianism, and Arab Paganism, filtered through the megalomaniacal delusions, charlatanry, and warlordism of Muhammad.



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 12:16 pm


“The intrusion of the Jewish state of Israel,”
So are you saying the Jews had no right of return after being expelled by the Romans? We should fall for the Arab lie that “Palestine” (so named by the Romans) should by right belong to Muslims, who didn’t even exist before the ancient Kingdom of Israel? I recognize that Israel is by law a secular state today, and that’s probably a good thing. But the Jews didn’t originally leave by choice.
Sorry, but I don’t find it problematical when Israelis defend themselves against fanatics who bomb busloads of innocent children.



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mulopwepaul

posted March 31, 2006 at 12:28 pm


It’s unlikely that the historical Muhammad (since it’s reasonable to presume that most legends have some sort of historical basis) was anything like the judge-prophet-ruler that the later legends built him up to be. Attributing most of the Koran to him is merely a literary device; such unity as exists in the documents is more probably the result of the 9th century editors who composed the final document.
The looting and brigandage of the early days of Arab expansionsim was ground-level work immediately accessible to human nature. The warlordism did not need an ideology until it triumphed over its neighbours and found itself in need of a ruling principle.
PVO



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 1:00 pm


Christine:
Do the descendants of the Iroquois have a “right of return”–as a sovereign nation, which is what they originally were–in the Northeast part of the United States, after being expelled by the European settlers?



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mulopwepaul

posted March 31, 2006 at 1:05 pm


The Iroquois do have a right to own land in New York, which is more than Jews have in Gaza or the West Bank.
PVO



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 1:11 pm


Oh Rob please, there are so many laws on the books now regarding Indian affairs it defies description. That situation is entirely different from the Jews, whose ethnic and religious identity were tied up with the land of Israel from very ancient times. And if you please, archeology is showing more and more that Native Americans migrated to the North American continent as much as anyone else. Not to mention that there were intribal warfares that were just as intense as any conflicts between Europeans and Americans.
Some of those tribal casinos bring in a heck of a lot more money than I’ll ever know (which is fine by me, I’m more than content with my lot in life).



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 1:16 pm


“between Europeans and Americans.”
Make that “Native” Americans. And by the way, Rob, are you will you return to your ancestral homeland, whatever it might be, so that someone from the Indian community can have your parcel of America back ??
Reminds me of a story that just makes me chuckle about my husband’s days in the Marines. One of his stablemates was what he described as a very tall, very handsome and articulate Seminole from Florida. Whenever my husband or the others would good-naturedly tease him about confiscating his lands he would solemnly tell them “Remember, white man, my people never signed a treaty with you.”
My husband remembers him as being one of the best Marines he ever knew.



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 1:18 pm


“are you will you return” which of course should be “are you willing to return.”
It goes without saying I have forfeited my much-cherised flying fingers award for this week.



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 1:22 pm


Christine–
Actually, the analogy between displaced Native Americans and displaced Jews is perfectly valid, barring a dismissively racist comparison between those indigenous peoples and the Jews. The Jews, or at least Abraham, and his followers, migrated to the area that now includes Israel from Iraq, just as the Native Americans migrated from Asia. The difference is that the Native Americans migrated to North America millennia before the Jews migrated to Israel, and had owned their land much longer, and stayed on it much later. The Jews were originally made up of disparate tribes, too, as was the Iroquois nation, which was a highly organized and sophisticated confederation of tribes. The Jews were driven out by stronger, more technologically advanced people, the Romans, just as were the Northeastern tribes. Both peoples considered their land sacred and God-given. Where do you see the major distinction?



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 1:39 pm


Christine:
No, I won’t go back to my native homeland so that the Native Americans can have their land back; that’s the whole point: there is no right of return, other than the firepower to enforce such a right. The Israelis, backed by you-know-who, had the might-that-makes-right to return. The Palestinian Arabs (so far) have not. If they get that power with help from other Arabs and Muslims, they will enforce *their* “right of return” to Jerusalem and the rest of Israel.



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mulopwepaul

posted March 31, 2006 at 1:49 pm


O.k., I’ll bite with the obvious:
The Hebrews were given the strictly bounded land of Canaan by God himself as a sign of their covenant with Him. The Iroquois had no such covenantal link with God and furthermore no such understanding of any part of their domains as consecrated to God.
I’m going to scandalise by supposing that the Bible is true, I guess.
PVO



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 1:54 pm


Christine–
The point is that the majority of the “founding fathers” of the Jewish State of Israel were Europeans, not even native to the area. Golda Meir was from, I believe, Milwaukee. That’s why I used the word “intrusion.” If it had been local Jews who seized control of that land, in a local power struggle, the case would be a little different–more like that of “the former Yugoslavia”, perhaps–but it would still have involved displacement based on ethnicity: ethnic cleansing.



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 1:58 pm


PVO–
That’s why the minority *religious* Jews in the *secular* state of Israel are so upset that the secular Jewish government of Israel is turning some of that God-given land over to the displaced Arabs in an attempt to exercise some modicum of human rights (of the secular kind) to a people that were literally driven from their homes and businesses by the formation of the Jewish state.



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 2:03 pm


Um, okay, I’ll agree that the majority were Ashkenazic Jews but that has absolutely no relevance. They may have been Germans, Russians, Poles, etc. etc. by nationality but in Jewish eyes that in no way negated the covenant they established as a people. The Jews are unique in that they are both a religious and ethnic entity tied to a specific land. Even non-practicing Jews are still part of the community because they remain ethnically Jewish.
It’s for a reason that every year at every Passover seder Jews proclaim “Next Year in Jerusalem.” I’m sure they would have been happy to return long before the U.N. gave them permission.
Yugoslavia was made up of several enthic European groups, Serbs, Croats, Slovenians, etc. who embraced Catholic and Orthodox Christian roots. Christianity, unlike Judaism, has never been tied to a particular culture or ethnicity.



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 2:16 pm


Christine:
To be realistic only a very small percentage of American Jews went to Israel when it became a Jewish state. Why? Because American Jews were perfectly happy here–or, at least, happy enough not to want to leave. The European Jews wanted out of Europe for obvious reasons. They were political refugees, not religious pilgrims returning to their God-given patrimony. If that were the case, the American Jews would have emigrated en masse, as well. And the Israelis would have quickly blasted that mosque off the top of the Temple Mount and rebuilt the Temple. They did not. Religion actually had next to nothing to do with the founding of the state of Israel. As far as patrimony and the Land of Canaan is concerned, the European Jews might as well have gone to South American, which was one of the proposals.



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Clare Krishan

posted March 31, 2006 at 2:21 pm


Reply to: mulopwepaul at Mar 30, 2006 2:08:47 PM
“…relate to Islam’s history of religious oppression?”
I’d be glad to: my Weltanschauung as a Christian is penitential contrition for sin and restoration of my temporal debts by the grace of “communio.” Selfishness and mutual antipathy amongst Christians is as much to blame for our current woes as selfishness and violent antipathy from those oppressed by ignorance. Expecting others “to cross the threshold of hope” while we ask them to “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate” by financing the buttressing of Mohameddism isn’t just folly but mortally sinful, since we seek to prevail in preserving our national security at the expense of our eternal security.
As Tim J. at Mar 31, 2006 10:43:43 AM posted the cure isn’t focusing on moslems but on Christians: “Evangelize”
P.S. I’m Mrs Krishan not Ms Krishnan, my grandfather-in-law immigrated from Romania not India (though the jury’s out on what branch of aryan stock we may be descended from:
– lyrical musical Sinti-Romany gypsies expelled from puritanical mohammedan-conquered homelands and then persecuted by warring Bulgarian Orthodox/Ruthenian Catholics or
– Transylvanian serfs who panned gold from the Cris river to enrich Caesar’s Treasury)
either way we’re pretty lowly, so my prefered “memory and identity” is as a spiritual daughter of suffering servant Hagia Ioannis Chrysostom (the golden-mouthed), pariah to the rich and famous in Byzantium, preaching in an arrid wilderness of decadence.



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 2:35 pm


“If they get that power with help from other Arabs and Muslims, they will enforce *their* “right of return” to Jerusalem and the rest of Israel.”
Oh, I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. The Palestinians are much too valuable as a political football among the Arab nations, all of whom have the room and wealth to help their Palestinian brothers. I’m amused at the hefty bankroll Yasser Arafat was amassing while waving the banner of Palestinian freedom.
“They were political refugees, not religious pilgrims returning to their God-given patrimony.”
Oh absolutely, no doubt about that. But after the Holocaust I think the world understood very clearly that Hitler didn’t give a fig whether a Jew was practicing or secular, it was off to the gas chambers either way. Israel was created to give all Jews a refuge, no matter which way they identified themselves. The fact also remains that IF a Jew wishes to openly BE Jewish he can safely to it in Israel. Secular though it is, life still slows down on the Sabbath in Israel. As you have no doubt noticed antisemitism is on the rise again across the world so that’s no small matter.
Methinks there was also a bit of resentment at the fact that those early Jewish pioneers in Israel once again made the desert bloom. More power to them. There will always be a place for Israel in the Jewish heart. Nothing will ever change that.



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 2:51 pm


Christine–
But, if an Israeli Jewish settler on the land that is being turned over to the Arabs tries to assert his God-given right to live on that land as a Jew, he is carted off that land by Jewish soldiers, nonetheless, isn’t he?
So, to that extent, his right to practice his religion is being denied him by the State of Israel. It’s all politics. The temple has not been rebuilt.



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mulopwepaul

posted March 31, 2006 at 2:55 pm


The underlying problem with Palestinians is that they overwhelmingly never owned Palestine. The population of the area boomed with the beginning of the Zionist movement, as the investments the Jews made spurred all sorts of activity among all the confessional groups, but most of the land at that time was owned by absentee Turks, who collected rent from the locals. It was from these absentees that the Zionists made their purchases of land which became the nucleus around which the modern state of Israel was organised.
The complaints from the local Arabs was that when the Zionists bought land from the absentee owners, they more often than not did so with the intention of working the land themselves or of settling Jewish tenants on the land instead of the incumbent Arabs.
As a matter of social justice, the Palestinians have a complaint, therefore, since no one at the time was prepared to help the old tenants find new homes and livelihoods, but the injustice was insufficient concern for the helpless who couldn’t manage their own affairs, not theft of land.
PVO



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 3:00 pm


“The temple has not been rebuilt.”
Nor will it. And that Jew will be resettled on some other part of Israeli land. He will still be living in Eretz Yisroel. Even in the days of the Davidic kingdom the borders ebbed and flowed due to conquests and reconquests.
Israel is trying to make some very tough compromises. I don’t have the political skill to decide who gets just how much land.
I merely defend the right of Jews to live in Israel.
And I now realize I’ve been getting off topic from the original thesis. The nature of God is not the same in Islam as it is in Christianity.



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 3:02 pm


PVO–
So, if some invading foreign power had driven me and my neighbors into Canada or Mexico, to live in refugee camps, during that period of my life before I owned any property and only rented an apartment, I could not say that my homeland had been “stolen” from me?



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 3:09 pm


Christine:
On the nature of God, we are in complete agreement. But, if the Muslim conception of God differs from the Christine conception of a Triune God, then the Jewish conception of God does also.



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Tim J.

posted March 31, 2006 at 3:10 pm


“Islam is a pastiche religion synthesised to justify Arab hegemony”
My thoughts exactly.
Clare Krishan-
I’m afraid you somewhat misread my remark about evangelizing. I certainly think we need to start by evangelizing shallow Christians, as well as other Americans & Western Europe…
But I also think we should be evangelising Muslims, too. I just think we should strive a lot harder to back it up by more radically living out our faith at home.



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 3:31 pm


I would submit there is a difference. Jews already had the concept of the Fatherhood of God before it was further elaborated on and defined by Jesus. As far as God’s holiness, the meaning of creation and the relationship of humanity to God, there is much overlap. Moses is clearly a typology of the Messiah to come and Jesus refers back to him several times in his teachings. The Catholic and Orthodox churches have incorporated much from both the temple and synagogue liturgies of Judaism.
The New Testament also hints at the mystery of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah as a “veil” that will be removed at the end of the ages and both Jews and Gentiles will acclaim him.
Islam is enveloped with a very strong sense of predestination. The will of Allah rules all and nothing can change it. And no, I’m not going to debate that one with you.
In the meantime, the Church has been enriched by some very notable Jewish converts such as Edith Stein.



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Dave

posted March 31, 2006 at 3:33 pm


Rob, having known Palestinians for most of my life I am all for them having a place to call home. However, having known Christian Palestinians and Lebanese Christians for a good many years I also know about Dhimmitude the beaten down nature that comes to Christians in most Muslim lands. As for your Iroquois reference, unless I missed something in my Native American History classes in college, God never said they were a chosen people. You may not like this reference but there are some aspects of God that are black and white. This doesn’t mean the Jews are better than anyone else just chosen. As a Christian let me ask you would you rather live in Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or perhaps Afghanistan. As for your invasion remarks, when trying to make the neighberhood a better place you might have to take measures that in hindsight you wish might have been differently but in the end you know things couldn’t remain as they were. That would be utter neglect. By the way how do you think Islam spread out of the Arabian Peninsula? Iraq was Christian along with the rest of the Middle East. Unlike our Christian brothers and sisters who died in the Coliseum as martyrs, Muhammad’s messengers only died in battle spreading their faith by the sword. Christianity’s first three centuries the faith was spead by the blood and good works of the martyrs not by the sword.



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 3:38 pm


And I must digress and put in a quick plug for the Maltz Museum of Jewish History. If anyone out there lives near the Cleveland/Beachwood, Ohio area please, please do go and try to see the exhibit being shown there of early Christian artifacts from the Holy Land. The Museum has graciously brought in some wonderful items from Israel. I saw a short piece on the local news the other night highlighting some of the items and it was breathtaking. Jewish/Christian history really does come alive.
Now, if we could convince Turkey to return the Hagia Sophia . . . .



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 3:40 pm


“Iraq was Christian along with the rest of the Middle East.:
Indeed, Dave, as were the early Christian communities of Petra in Jordan and the thriving North African Christian community from which came the great Augustine.



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mulopwepaul

posted March 31, 2006 at 3:40 pm


One can say whatever one likes, but the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of Arab residents of Palestine in 1948 were immigrants to the area themselves or the children of immigrants.
It’s nowhere nearly as black and white as the Palestinians want people to think, and analogies to U.S. relations with Indian tribes is particularly inapposite.
PVO



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Rob

posted March 31, 2006 at 3:40 pm


Christine:
I’m about due for a break myself. It’s been an interesting discussion. Thank you, I’ve enjoyed talking with you.



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Clare Krishan

posted March 31, 2006 at 4:22 pm


Tim J. pardon me – I agree wholeheartedly that evangelizing ‘Morgenland’ (where the sun rises on the ‘morrow) is indeed our mission field for the Third Millenium God Bless



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Christine

posted March 31, 2006 at 4:54 pm


“hank you, I’ve enjoyed talking with you.”
As have I, with you and everyone here. It keeps the ‘ole brain cells kicking into high gear!
Good weekend to all!



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Tom Haessler

posted March 31, 2006 at 6:26 pm


Kudos to all for the great courtesy exhibited while discussing contentious subjects that always evoke passionate outbursts.



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Ed the Roman

posted March 31, 2006 at 10:19 pm


A textual note for Chris on whether Christians are Muslims.
While Muslim is etymologically related to “one who submits” saying that everyone who submits to God is a Muslim is like saying that everyone at a Mazola Oil party is a Christian (Christian – chrism – anointing – oil). A muslim, formally, is one who declares that there is one God, that Muhammad is his messenger, and observes the Qu’ran as God’s perfect word.
Since part of that perfect word is
“Those who say: ‘The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,’ preach a monstrous falsehood, at which the very heavens might crack, the earth break asunder, and the mountains crumble to dust. That they should ascribe a son to the Merciful, when it does not become the Lord of Mercy to beget one!”
Sura 19:88
and
“God forbid that He should have a Son!”
Sura 4:172
and
“How could He have a son when He had no consort?”
Sura 6:101
it seems to this naif that Chris’s Islam is rather unlike the Islam prtofessed by people who actually claim to practice Islam.



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Rob

posted April 1, 2006 at 8:17 am


E the R:
Mazola oil parties? I had no idea! I am in fact shocked! I now have a new understanding of the designation “the Roman”!



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