Saturday, 9 July 2011

How should Catholics respond to Islam?

I was prompted, in this post, by two recent posts, both from two bloggers called Stuart, one being eChurch and one
Ecumenical Diablog. Stuart eChurch featured a post on a new Muslim extremist group called Muslims against Crusades; a somewhat worrying account of how British Muslims see themselves (or, at least, how a faction see themselves).
Stuart Ecumenical (this is sounding very Welsh) posted on how a group of Legion of Mary volunteers set up a Catholic stall alongside Muslim ones in the centre of Oxford on a Saturday afternoon. Excellent initiative!

The two posts are really quite different in angle but they do share a common theme and that is, Islam, as if we did not know it already, is on the march. For the sake of clarity I refer to Islam meaning the extreme portion of the Muslim community but, in truth, I do believe that most 'British' Muslims, when push comes to shove, would tick a box in favour of Jihad rather than one marked 'Western Democracy'.

Last Thursday was the anniversary of 7/7, the British version of 9/11 (not that one should try to compare these two horrific events). 7/7 was when a group of suicide terrorists exploded bombs on the London transport system.
There are very many official Muslim websites in existence yet, my searches failed to find one that paid any recognition to the day, no commemoration or acknowledgment of the crime that took 56 lives, including those of the terrorists. That is an indictment of how the Muslim community only pay lip service to British courtesies and cultural niceties.

I do not subscribe in any shape or form to fascist organisations such as the BNP or EDL but I do believe that we, in the west (and our friends in America) have a very great problem on our hands in the form of home grown supporters of terrorism, albeit, passive ones for the present.
To counter the threat we have to first of all overcome the political correctness that gives carte blanche to Islamic activists but then clamps down viciously on any comparable Christian activity.
I am not going to cover the initiatives that I believe the various governments should be setting in motion but I am going to focus on what we, as Catholics should be doing.

This is extreme but the extreme is in danger
of becoming the norm - Anjem Choudary
in a BBC TV interview

First of all we should be aware that, if the time comes, 20 or 30 years from now and we face a Sharia based governance, it is Catholics who will be the prime focus of attention. I still carry the memory with me of my first visit to Saudi Arabia and seeing the imported copies of western newspapers that had individually been checked and any images of a cross or, in this case, Pope JP II, blacked out with a felt tip marker pen. What a fear they must have of us Catholics.

Of course, we are branded as 'Islamophobic' whenever we criticise or comment upon events in the Muslim World; for example, The Runnymede Trust is, apparently, "Britain's leading independent race equality think tank" - and they are doing their bit to promote equality between British society and Islam except that, in my book, Islam is not a race but a religion. Here are their 8 points that they claim define 'Islamophobia' :-

 This definition, from the 1997 document 'Islamophobia: A Challenge For Us All' is widely accepted, including by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.

The eight components are:

1) Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
2) Islam is seen as separate and 'other'. It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them and does not influence them.
3) Islam is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist.
4) Islam is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a 'clash of civilisations'.
5) Islam is seen as a political ideology and is used for political or military advantage.
6) Criticisms made of the West by Islam are rejected out of hand.
7) Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
8) Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural or

I find nothing to disagree with in the first 5 points; neither do I believe that agreement with those points is anti Muslim in any way; anti Islam, yes, certainly. I disagree totally with points 6, 7 and 8.

So how do Catholics provide checks and balances to the increasing Islamic extremism in our society?
Well, I do think that the Oxford branch of the Legion of Mary deserve a Papal Medal for ther work in evangelising the masses. Does this action, in fact, point towards a standpoint that we can make? Could the Legion take on this role, this specific role of counteracting the awful tosh put out by the Islamists ('The truth about who Jesus really was' is a particulary offensive bit of literature). If not the Legion, could a new lay group be formed along the lines of the USA Catholic Defense League?

And then perhaps the Bishops could lead a crusade (good word that) to inform and convert the Muslims of Great Britain.....what? have I just uttered a profanity?......convert Muslims?........the very nerve! I know that will be the response of some but then, Our Lord did say: "Go forth and teach all nations" he didn't say "Go forth and let them continue in their ignorance."

And if anyone objects to my use of the word 'Crusade' please remember that the Islamists and their friends have no problem with using the word 'Jihad'

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