These two dissimilar personalities have one thing in common; both are accused of insulting the two major world religions, Christianity by Rosie and Islam by the Pope.
However, I would clarify that Rosie also insulted Muslims when she said, "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam." Rosie directed her [uniformed] comments specifically to the condemnation of Christianity but by pointing out that Islam is the standard for "threatening" religious ideologies she inadvertently insulted Islam; a fact seemingly overlooked by the press and the Muslim world. Maybe they just don't care what Rosie has to say but I find it interesting that the media has ignored this aspect while covering the Pope's comments with vigor.
On the other hand you have the Pope who, while speaking in last week in Germany,
quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Palaeologus' assessment
of Islam and its seventh century founder.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached, ...To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death ..."
The Pope's speech at Regensburg University emphasized dialogue between Christians and Muslims based on 'reason." His focus was not on "attacking" Islam but raising real concerns that few people, constrained by "political correctness," or fear seem willing to mention. Of course, the response from the Muslim world was anything but reasonable lending more credibility to the Pope's stated concerns.
In incidents believed to be linked to the issue, an Italian nun was shot dead in Somalia and armed Palestinians attacked churches in the Palestinian self-rule areas. Muslim leaders have compared the Pope to Hitler and Mussolini. Muslim demonstrators in London called for the pope to be killed for insulting Islam and Mohammed. Anas Altikriti of the Muslim Association of Britain said, "Pope Benedict was essentially accusing Islam of being inherently violent, fundamentally blood-thirsty and an enemy of all others."
One does not have to be a master of the obvious to see the irony in such statements when compared to the predictably violent reaction of Muslims worldwide. What else should those outside of Islam believe? Furthermore, if one studies closely the teachings of Islam these violent reactions are completely consistent with the teachings of Islam. The Qur'an is full of teachings which call for violence as an act of religious devotion, also known as jihad. For example:
Sura 9:5 says, "Fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem."
Sura 9:123 says, "O ye who believe! Fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you; and know that Allah is with those who fear Him"
Muslims are also to wage jihad not only against unbelievers but against those who have strayed from the faith: "Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: and evil fate" (Sura 9:73).
Qatar-based Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, speaking on al-Jazeera television, called for a day of "peaceful and rational anger" on Friday. Peaceful and rational anger?
A recent friend, Elijah Abraham, a former Muslim from Iraq, told me that Westerners are both naive and ignorant if they believe Islam is a religion of peace. In fact, Elijah who now leads a Christian ministry working to reach Muslims told me that the Islam teaches Muslims to practice deception in concealing the true agenda of Islam to unbelievers. Islam is not a religion in the conventional sense but also a social and political system that aspires to spread Islamic rule through social and political conquest.
Recently, Muslims living in Canada, Great Britain and the Netherlands succeeded in drafting legislation that would have allowed Muslims within these nations to live under Muslim law (called the Sharia) rather than the laws of the land. Fortunately, these measures have, so far, failed in Canada and great Britain. Daily protests occur in Dearborn, Michigan, the largest Muslim community in the U.S. At one recent demonstration, organized by the Congress of Arab-Americans, about 1,000 people attended. College-age men asked, in call and response fashion, "Who is your army?" Protestors responded: "Hezbollah!" In each nation where Muslim immigrants have settled and grown in numbers they have become more and more emboldened and in the case of Great Britian and France ultimately spawned acts of terrorism or widespread rioting and violence.
It seems the entire civilized world has been thrown into calamity by Muslim radicals motivated by pure Islamic ideas and yet no one is willing to suggest (at least publicly) that perhaps the problem lies in the ideology.
We called communism evil, we fought against Nazi fascism and Japanese Imperialism. These too were ideologies that produced violence in pursuit of their respective social and political ambitions and yet we seem weak kneed when confronting Islam, an ideology that almost daily employs murder and terror to advance its agenda.
Am I happy with Rosie O'Donnell's ridiculous comments about Christianity? No, but neither do I advocate killing her, nor do the teachings of Christianity. In fact, to do so would violate God's direct commandment to "love our enemies." I pray for Rosie. I know that, but for the grace of God, there go I.
We need to cast off this mindless political correctness and realize we face an ideological force that is bent on our destruction. We also need to take more seriously our responsibilities within the Church to reach those Muslims that God, by His providence, has brought to our shores. Bad or false ideas must be met with Truth spoken in love; this is our hope against the spread of Islamic violence. But let's at least wake up to the self-evident threat of Islamic ideology.
Copyright S. Michael Craven 2006
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S. Michael Craven is the Founding Director of the Center for Christ & Culture, a ministry of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. The Center for Christ & Culture is dedicated to renewal within the Church and works to equip Christians with an intelligent and thoroughly Christian approach to matters of culture in order to recapture and demonstrate the relevance of Christianity to all of life. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, additional resources and other works by S. Michael Craven visit: www.battlefortruth.org
Michael lives in the Dallas area with his wife Carol and their three children.