By Christopher W. Holton
With the visit of Pope Francis to the United States, some attention has been paid to his views on Jihad in general and the September 11 attacks in particular.
On a visit to the September 11 memorial at Ground Zero, the pope made a statement that we find offensive and born of ignorance.
From USA Today:
In a remark some relatives of 9/11 victims may disagree with, the pope attributed “the wrongful and senseless loss of innocent lives” at Ground Zero to “the inability to find solutions which respect the common good.”
To what solutions could Pope Francis possibly be referring?
What “solutions which respect the common good” would have convinced Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Mohammed Atta that violent Jihad was wrong?
Al Qaeda and all Jihadist groups have as their goal the imposition of Shariah through violent Jihad. We can only assume that the pope is unaware of this. We must also assume that he is unaware that mainstream Islamic doctrine also calls for the imposition of Shariah worldwide.
Which Catholics and other Christians should be sacrificed to live under Shariah for the “common good?”
This was not the first time Pope Francis made statements that demonstrate an ignorance of Islamic doctrine.
In his The Joy of the Gospel, the pope stated:
Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence.
No one can study Islamic doctrine based on the Islamic trilogy–the Quran, the Hadith and the Sirah–and come away believing that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence.”
It should be noted that when it comes to commentary on Islam, Pope Francis is merely stating his opinion; this is not a statement that has the authority of the Catholic church behind it since it applies to the interpretation of another religion.
But all one has to do to see the folly in the pope’s assertion here is to review the too numerous to count examples of Islamic religious leaders and Shariah scholars admonishing their followers to violent Jihad.
We could fill volumes with examples of violent exhortations in the Quran, the Hadith and the Sirah. We could go into depth here about the principle of abrogation in the Quran. But rather than do that, we would like to point out that there are other members of the Catholic clergy and community who are more informed on Islam, Shariah and Jihad and they have put their thoughts in writing. In some cases, these good men are much closer to the tip of the spear in the clash of civilizations:
- Nigerian cardinal criticizes role of sharia, says Muslim leaders must ‘rein in their mad dogs’
Nigeria of course has been wracked for several years now by horrible violence committed by Boko Haram, which has recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Cardinal Onaiyekan has seen thousands of Christians in his country slaughtered at the hands of Jihadists and he knows that Boko Haram’s stated goal is the imposition of Shariah.
2. It’s Time to Take the Islamic State Seriously
Rev. James V. Schall, S.J. expresses a very different view from that of Pope Francis on the issue of the Islamic State and the role of Islam in violence.
3. Making Islam “As Banal as Catholicism”
Robert Royal, editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C., also expresses a far different view of Islamic terrorism than the one expressed by Pope Francis.
Why have these three men, two American and one Nigerian, two men of the cloth and one a prominent lay Catholic, one black and two white, reached such a different conclusion than that of Pope Francis?
To those of us who have studied Islamic doctrine over the past 15 years, the clear answer is that they have studied the Quran, the Hadith, the Sirah and Shariah. Pope Francis clearly has not. Francis is not alone in that state of being; few if any world leaders in the non-Islamic world have studied Islamic doctrine.
But those who have know what it contains and it isn’t all about peace, the “opposition to every form of violence” and “solutions for the common good.”