ISIS Are to Muhammad What Franciscans Are to Jesus

By John Zmirak Published on October 4, 2017

October 4th is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. I studied the saint with Lutheran church historian Jaroslav Pelikan. He taught us at Yale in his course “Jesus Through the Centuries,” that in his day admirers called Francis an “alter Christus,” or “second Christ.” (Interestingly, the man who peacefully brought Communism and the Cold War to an end, Mikhail Gorbachev, agrees.)

Francis felt called to imitate the life of Jesus in every possible respect.

No one means that in a blasphemous sense. No one thought Francis was divine. Or a new messiah. But Francis felt called to imitate the life of Jesus in every possible respect. He and his followers lived like the apostles. They embraced the same radical poverty, chastity, and obedience to the Gospel. This in an age when wealth was exploding all across Europe. That tempted many Christians to abandon even the “poverty of spirit” to which Christ calls us. The Franciscans stood as a sign of contradiction. They never condemned anyone. But they lived as exemplars of detachment from the world. By the time Francis died, there were as many Franciscans on this earth as there are today. A tiny but highly creative minority.

As Joan Acocella wrote of Francis’s followers in The New Yorker:

By day, the brothers did the kinds of work that Francis felt were sanctioned by the Gospel. They renovated churches, tended to lepers, performed manual labor for farmers and artisans, preached, and prayed. They could accept a payment of bread and fruit for their labor, but they were not allowed to have money. Nor could they, in any way, save up for the next day. They could not own any dwelling they lived in. (They rented the church in the Portiuncula from a local abbot.) They could not store up food. They couldn’t soak vegetables overnight.

As Christians we are all called to imitate Christ, albeit in different ways.

Imitating Christ, Imitating Muhammad

Likewise, Muslims must imitate Muhammad. They hold that Muhammad was merely human. But he was also the perfect example of human conduct. Muslim tradition calls every man (that is, male) to emulate Muhammad in every possible respect.

And there is a group today that takes the example of Muhammad quite literally. Just the way Francis took that of Jesus. That organization is called the Islamic State, or ISIS. As Graeme Wood wrote in The Atlantic:

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail … .

Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.” Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.”

According to Haykel, the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor. Koranic quotations are ubiquitous. “Even the foot soldiers spout this stuff constantly,” Haykel said. “They mug for their cameras and repeat their basic doctrines in formulaic fashion, and they do it all the time.” He regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he said. “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else.”

All Muslims acknowledge that Muhammad’s earliest conquests were not tidy affairs, and that the laws of war passed down in the Koran and in the narrations of the Prophet’s rule were calibrated to fit a turbulent and violent time. In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts.

Most Muslims in America do not send money or sons to ISIS. They do not sign up for jihad. Or conduct armed attacks on unbelievers. Or capture non-Muslim women to traffic as sex slaves. But then, how many Christians live like Franciscans?

The Friar and the Jihadi

Still, every sincere Christian from Pope Francis to Joel Osteen respects the Franciscans. We believe in some sense in the spirit of poverty. Even if we mean by that just a detachment from worldly things when they get in the way of the Gospel. Among a billion Christians, you’ll find countless different ways of living that out, of course. But we wouldn’t single out Osteen as representing the “mainstream” of Christian thinking. Or dismiss Franciscans as “extremists.” Would we?

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Likewise Muslims have a tradition of detachment from earthly things. But their focus is starkly different. That’s because of the words and example of their founder. The Muslim ideal of detachment centers on the willingness to fight unbelievers. To embrace a violent death. Why? For the sake of imposing Islam around the world. Indeed, after prophets like Muhammad himself, who gets the highest places in heaven? Those who die in the course of jihad.

What If “Extremism” Is a Myth?

The Catholic church takes martyrdom as proof of sainthood. So Muslims take a sincere death in battle on Islam’s behalf. Martyrdom, for hundreds of millions of Muslims, includes acts of violence. Even those committed against unarmed infidels. That is why mosques across the world revere suicide bombers and other terrorists as holy warriors and “martyrs.” It is why Muslims whom we label “radical” somehow pop up in connection to apparently “mainstream” Muslim institutions. I noted here during the presidential campaign, the links of Hillary Clinton’s would-be White House chief of staff, Huma Abedin, to groups with terrorist connections. Specifically:

Huma Abedin served for three years on the Executive Board of George Washington University’s Muslim Students Association (MSA), which is linked closely to the Muslim Brotherhood, the international jihadist conspiracy that avowed in 2001 that its mission is a “grand jihad” devoted to “destroying Western Civilization from within.” How radical is the MSA? Two years after Abedin graduated, her chapter of the group invited Anwar al Awlaki to serve as official chaplain. He was later revealed as a member of al Qaeda, a man whom the New York Times called the “terrorist network’s leading English-language propagandist,” before he was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2011. He also served “as a hands-on trainer who taught recruits how to make bombs, gave them money for missions and offered suggestions about how to carry out suicide attacks.”

Jihad is For Muslims What Poverty is For Christians

This might shock us. It shouldn’t. No more than the sight of Franciscan friars praying with wealthy Catholics. Religions provide a code that binds very different people, who live it out differently. And not all religions teach the same thing.

Muslims must imitate Muhammad. They hold that Muhammad was merely human. But he was also the perfect example of human conduct. Muslim tradition calls every man (that is male) to emulate Muhammad in every possible respect.

Read former Muslim Ibn Warraq’s scholarly book, The Islam in Islamic Terrorism. He relies on the texts that most Muslims consider most authoritative — which they use in theological academies in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Warraq shows that warlike jihad lies at the very heart of Islam. Indeed, the Quran obliges every able-bodied male Muslim (on pain of “hypocrisy”) to take part in jihad. Or at least to support it financially. No surprise, then, that apparently “mainstream” Muslim charities like the Holy Land Foundation turn out to fund terrorists in Israel. Or that “mainstream” groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations pop up after every terrorist attack to warn against “Islamophobia.” For an excellent popular treatment, see William Kilpatrick’s equally documented The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad.

Misreading “Jihad”

Yes, you can read “jihad” as a peaceful, internal spiritual struggle. Some Christians can amass great fortunes and still strive for “spiritual poverty.” But Christians have never abandoned our concern for helping the poor. There will always be militant Christians who embrace poverty. Who join the Franciscans. Or who move as families to serve as missionaries in desperately poor countries. Likewise a certain percentage of Muslims will take their own sacred texts literally. They’ll directly imitate the actions of their founder and his disciples. Indeed, the Sunni Muslim Vatican, Saudi Arabia, follows most of the same laws and practices as ISIS. But they have a U.N. seat and billions to spend for PR.

Western nations that admit millions of Muslims should think long and hard about what comes next.

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  • Paul

    John, I hope this article wakes up some people.

  • Andrew Mason

    How does this translate for non-Catholics? I’ve heard of Franciscans but they’re probably no more well known than Opus Dei, who apart from their dedication, aren’t particularly well known either.

    • Paul

      What non-Catholic Christian tradition are you referring to? Eastern Orthodox, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal?? Many ways to look at this.

      • Andrew Mason

        Bearing in mind that peoples’ understanding of terms vary but how would an Anglican (C of E if you prefer), a Baptist, or a Presbyterian translate Franciscan? Assume someone coming from the evangelicalfundamentalist rather than the liberalAtheistic side of the spectrum.

        • Zmirak

          I think I did that in the article, mentioning those “who move as families to serve as missionaries in desperately poor countries.” Thousands of Protestants did that over the centuries, such as those who evangelized China.

          • Andrew Mason

            I may have missed that sentence, but even that isn’t as enlightening as it could be. I’ve missionary friends. They are by no means wealthy – shared rental accommodation with other missionaries, and a modest income. By contrast there are missionaries in other programs I’m aware of who receive very good incomes – possibly sufficient to start investing in rental property, so even if they serve in a more primitive country, somewhere in Africa for instance, their hardship is very very temporary. Of course that assumes they aren’t based out of a missionary compound with First World facilities and local helpservants, a situation which is quite different. Even in America and other Western nations you can find quite a difference between regions so serving in a First World nation doesn’t guarantee you’ll have First World rather than Third World conditions.

    • AndRebecca

      The Franciscans are a mendicant order and Protestants really don’t believe in living like that. But, the point was that going all out for ones religious beliefs translates differently depending on the religion. A Christian extremist is going to give up possessions/luxuries in order to serve others in a missionary capacity, Protestant or Catholic. Not so for Muslims.

  • mollysdad

    The sooner we Christians have the courage to follow the argument to wherever it leads, the better.

    It should be a crime for anyone to encourage or assist another to begin or to continue to profess that Muhammad is the messenger of God, or that the Qur’an is divine scripture, and should be punishable with any penalty up to and including death.

    • Zmirak

      No. We shouldn’t play their game or descend to that level. Close the borders, expel sharia activists, evangelize everyone. We must respect people’s right to follow their consciences, even into error.

      • mollysdad

        Professing Islamic beliefs is unconscionable by definition. How can a man believe in good faith that God commands him to murder someone who leaves Islam? How can he believe in good faith that more than two persons can be united in marriage?

        • Zmirak

          That’s for God, not men, to judge.

          • mollysdad

            There are saints in heaven who believed that heretics should be put to death. The reason why it was justified to do so during the Middle Ages is that heresy was also seditious on the political facts of the time.

            In the present time, the price – and it is a price too high – of allowing people to propagate the blasphemy that Muhammad is a messenger of God is that people die, non-Muslims are subjected to genocide, public order is disturbed and lawful governments endangered and their legitimacy challenged in the name of Allah.

            Let Muslims remain Muslims is that’s what they want to do. But, if they attempt to persuade anyone else to profess Islam, then let them be punished, even with the extreme penalty in the most seriou scases.

          • TomaATL_AlKilo

            Islamic apostacy laws and beliefs is the one issue that needs to be confronted head on within Islam and by non Muslims in western countries, imo.

      • TomaATL_AlKilo

        I think we have to be very careful.
        Political Islam is in large part promoted by the GCC in collusion with western elites that profit from this relationship. This dates to the oil for arms agreement on the Quincy in 1945.
        Two Catholics, Count Alexandre de Marenches and Zbigniew Kazimierz “Zbig” Brzezinski were first proponents of using Islamic Jihad as covert operations to achieve geopolitical aims (in their case fight against the Soviets). So it’s not all us vs them.

      • TomaATL_AlKilo

        In regards to sharia, yes it should not trump secular laws, especially if it goes blatantly against it like death penalty for apostasy.
        But sharia used like canon law, to regulate religious practices and relations within Islam, as long as it does not impose on others, who cares?

  • teo

    different item… i saw on youtube a debate between Robert Spencer and Dr. Peter kreeft. It was good. John, is anything like that planned again?

    • Zmirak

      No, but Spencer reprinted the debate transcript and built a book out of it. Check it out.

  • Mack

    No.

  • Patmos

    When you don’t even keep the ten commandments, which in truth are not hard to keep, it’s a pretty good sign you’re not a prophet. I think Muhammad kept four of them, which if he were playing baseball would be a pretty good batting average, but with God it’s not so good.

  • This is excellent. I’ve been trying (in my little way of comments) to get the message out that ISIS is following the true nature of Islam. You can summarize the differences between Christianity and Islam in this simple way: Christ died to start Christianity; Mohammed killed to start Islam. From that the respective mythos was defined and fulfilled.

    • TomaATL_AlKilo

      Please read my post and please reply point by point.

  • Linda

    Read the late Nabeel Qureshi’s books: “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” and “Answering Jihad” for briliant information from a former devout Muslim turned world-renowned Christian apologist with Ravi Zacharias Ministries.

  • Patmos

    Another good one, not mine, but to the point:

    A Christian martyr says, “I will die for my faith.”

    A Muslim martyr says, “You will die for my faith.”

  • brotherbraids

    From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The plan of salvation include those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place among whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” Paragraph 841.

    Also, Pope St. John Paul II said Catholics (who have the fullness of the truth) can learn from our Muslims brothers and sisters. They pray five times a day and give alms to the poor. Indeed, Catholicism says there is some truth in every religion.

    I’m so tired of authors pulling out a “scholar” who will tell us what the Koran REALLY means (or the Constitution or ANY document or book for that matter). For every “scholar” who says the Koran means one thing, we can find another five who say it means something else. And I am not defending the Koran. Nor am I attacking it. How does the good professor know if a passage is meant as “spiritual” or literal. As metaphorical or literal. Pull out a verse. Rip it out of its context. Claim authority to provide the REAL interpretation. As Socrates said (paraphrasing)–it’s good to know what you do not know. I don’t know what the Koran ACTUALLY means. And I think the Professor may not know either.

    Of course, the entire article is based on the logical fallacy known as relying on AUTHORITY. The Princeton scholar says it’s so; therefore it MUST be so.

    • Zmirak

      Is this comment a parody? Seriously? You start with a long argument from … authority. And not even one that addresses anything asserted in the piece.

  • TomaATL_AlKilo

    This is a misleading comparison.
    Yes, ISIS has a strong Salafi component, mostly Wahhabi. In otherwords a ultra conservative and textual interpretation of the Qoran. But the political and organizational component is Bathist, a secular Arabic political movement largely inspired with Soviet ideology. They also stole Al Qeada theology, that includes Muslim Brotherhood thinking of achieving Islamic dominance by polu

    • They didn’t steal Al Qaeda’s theology. That is Islamic theology. They are both emulating their “ideal man,” Mohammed who was a lech, a butcher, and a thief.

      • TomaATL_AlKilo

        From reading a lot of this, including Shia political Islam is fairly modern and comes from the writings of people like Sayyid Qutb. Apparently there is nothing in the Coran that proscribes specific political or religious power, say like St Peter is the founder of our Church. In otherwords Islam is completely based on scripture, and is decentralized. One famous passage in the Coran states there is no compunction in religion. One problem with Islamic interpretation is abrogation, where later passages have precedence. However some interpret more violent later passages as related to specific situations, like during the siege of Medina. All this is to say that like we Catholics, we often had a brutal, not always pure military past that we now have set aside, same could happen with Islam. In addition I think we Catholics have much more in common with Islam against a deadly sin promoting secular world, then we realize.

        • I don’t know Sayyid Qutb and what he wrote, but I suspect he was returning to original interpretation of Islamic sacred texts. That’s why it’s called fundamentalism, a return to original meaning. The original meaning is apparently clear. Mohammed killed and beheaded his enemies. Do a search for Mohammed beheading 800 Qurayza Jews. Yes, there are early texts and latter texts in the Koran, and the latter, the more violent, take precedent. Either way, both are there and Mohammed has given Muslims his example to follow.

          Sunni Islam is sort of like the protestants in that each person is free to interpret the Koran in his way. But Shia is different. It has a church structure that can govern interpretation. I am somewhat more optimistic with the Shia, but even there they cannot interpret Mohammed’s character away.

          • TomaATL_AlKilo

            Like I said before I am not an expert and would be interested in references to what you state. There is also Sufi Islam and some very nice writing. In the Middle Ages there was an exchange of ideas between Islamic, Jewish and Christian scholars of sorts that allowed the rediscovery of Greek philosophy. I think it’s important to not give in but also not be blind to areas of common ground.

          • If you think there was such a wonderful exchange in the Middle Ages between Christians and Muslims look up what Thomas Aquinas says about Islam. I don’t have time or the desire to start providing references. It comes front a decade reading. In fact a bright young convert from Islam has a nice new book out. Look up Derrya Little. She just unlisted an article in National Catholic Register.

          • TomaATL_AlKilo

            I would encourage to make an effort to be specific. From my understanding ancient Greek thinking was in large part re-introduced to Europe when they started to build huge cathedrals and has to use math to help build them. ‫The breathtaking Chartre cathedral was completed in 1220 and has Greek philosophers depicted on one of its port‬als. Since Greek math was not described in the Bible or the Coran (sorry for using to the French spelling), but helped build magnificent structures dedicated to God, then it was a logical step to also examine Ancient Greek philosophy as well.

            Averroes (14 April 1126 – 10 December 1198)‫ was one of the first Middle Ages philosophers to comment on Aristotle‬. Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 7 March 1274) used Averroes comments and disputed his interpretation. From the Catholic Encyclopedia: “St. Thomas Aquinas used the “Grand Commentary” of Averroes as his model, being, apparently, the first Scholastic to adopt that style of exposition; and though he refuted the errors of Averroes, and devoted special treatises to that purpose, he always spoke of the Arabian commentator as one who had, indeed, perverted the Peripatetic tradition, but whose words, nevertheless, should be treated with respect and consideration. The same may be said of Dante’s references to him. It was after the time of St. Thomas and Dante that Averroes came to be represented as “the arch-enemy of the faith”. There are several paintings from that time depicting St Thomas and Averroes (the later at the feet of St Thomas).

            However modern Sunni Islam also took a different direction from Averroes. Ashari theology (al-Ash’ari d. 936) based on occasionalism was later promoted by al-Ghazali (c.1058 – 19 December 1111) and is now the basis of Sunni Islam. It is the iconoclastic al-Ghazali follower, Ibn Taymiyyah (died 26 September 1328) that most influenced modern Salafi, Wahabbi thought. This more strict interpretation of Islam was disseminated much later by al-Wahhab (1703-June 1792). Al-Wahhab made a pact with the House of Saud. This pact between clerics and Saudi royals exists to this day although it is challenged about every half a century, most recently during the siege of Mecca in 1979, and currently with the crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood affiliated clerics.

          • First don’t tell me to make an effort. I couldn’t care less what you think or how you go around apologizing for Islam. I’m not here to debate you or instruct you or to be your student. Second, I said look up what Thomas Aquinas said about Islam, not that he used Averroes ‘ commentaries. The more strict interpretation of Islam is the correct interpretation of Islam. Muslims over the centuries have not been able to swallow it.

          • TomaATL_AlKilo

            What I am trying to say is that a Muslim scholar re-introduced Aristotle and even if Saint Thomas did not agree with his interpretation he treated his work with respect.
            But yes, Aquinas also criticized Mohammed’s teaching’s. Matthew Hanley has a summary in Catholic Thing.

  • Cale Brehio

    In the imperfections of the Human race, it has
    proven time and time again:

    “I ain’t afraid of your Jesus/Allah/whomever….
    I’m afraid of what you’ll do
    in the name of your God.”

    It’s not God who’s the problem; nor is this whole “mindlessly quoting passages from
    the Holy Book of your religion-any religion- something only ISIS does, by a long shot.”
    You think ISIS whackos are any less murderously brutal than a huge part of the Catholic
    Church’s history shows? Nope. People who have failed to make a REAL connection with
    our Creator through personal interaction within, who follow just the forms of their religion–
    the “letter of the law”– are primed to be able to do ANY level of brutality & violence to
    non-believers….because there is no true connection to the Father; there’s only an empty
    creed in place of divine love.
    You can tell the individuals who have forged a true internal connection with God:
    it’s called “spiritual fragrance.” The positives flow from them, and show up in many
    aspects of their life.

    *God is Perfection Personified; no negatives can exist in Him (anger,jealousy,revenge, etc)
    or He wouldn’t be perfect.
    *Human Beings, who have NOT originated in perfection, have much error and imperfections
    to overcome, both as individuals and in aggregate.

  • TomaATL_AlKilo

    Lord make me an instrument of your peace
    Where there is hatred let me sow love
    Where there is injury, pardon
    Where there is doubt, faith
    Where there is despair, hope
    Where there is darkness, light
    And where there is sadness, joy
    O divine master grant that I may
    not so much seek to be consoled as to console
    to be understood as to understand
    To be loved as to love
    For it is in giving that we receive
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
    And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life
    Amen

    • Matthew

      Too bad this has no connection whatsoever to St Francis of Assisi. It was written in France around 1912.

      • TomaATL_AlKilo

        Never said it had. Do you disagree with it?
        How about this:
        Mat 5
        THE BEATITUDES
        3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
        4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
        5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
        6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
        7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
        8 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
        9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
        10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
        11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.
        12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you

  • TomaATL_AlKilo

    Double post

  • Irene Neuner

    Hey, Zmirak this is a great article. Like that you brought Olsteen.

  • gghd

    ISIS, and other violent Jihadists, are preaching and practicing, the traditional old-school, Koran thumping Islam.

    • TomaATL_AlKilo

      And this thesis is based on what?
      For example Wahhabism is about 200 years old, it’s fairly recent.

      • gghd

        Traditional Islam has a history of ‘Koran thumping & violence from its very beginnings.

        (From, “An Open Letter to Pope Francis on Muslim Immigration.” by John Zmirak) =

        ” … we remember that Pope Benedict XVI taught that there is no charity that is not based on truth. It was in that spirit that your predecessor delivered his courageous Address at Regensburg, which clearly outlined the profound problems posed by traditional, orthodox Islam, its acceptance of religious coercion, and its denial that human categories of reason can in any way be applied to God.

        As we warned in our 2014 book The Race to Save Our Century,

        We must admit to ourselves the ugly fact that Islamism is an ideology and its hoped-for Caliphate a virtual nation (like the Greater Germany Hitler dreamt of). Radical, nationalistic, anti-Semitic, and anti-Christian radicals number in the millions, and seek to control whole countries. … Such groups’ explicit agendas are both expansionist and totalitarian, openly calling for conquest and the domination of every sphere of life by a rigid ideology. Such groups are leading what journalist John Allen has called The Global War on Christians — though Hindus, Jews, Alawites, secular Muslims, and other would-be victims also number on their list. In certain ways for certain unlucky groups, it really is 1933 all over again.”

        *******************************************
        *******************************************

        Wikipedia, “Islam and violence” (The entire essay is worth a read) =

        “Mainstream Islamic law stipulates detailed regulations for the use of violence, including the use of violence within the family or household, the use of corporal and capital punishment, as well as how, when and against whom to wage war.”

        • TomaATL_AlKilo

          Where in Islamic scripture is the project of a caliphate stipulated? Please educate me.
          About the categories of violence, one can put a check mark for each one in cathechism, canon law and theology, including the Suma.
          Don’t get me wrong there are huge problems in the Islamic world (see previous comments), but this poorly sourced blog post is not advancing anything.

          • gghd

            You are asking me to do ‘research’ for you. I quoted, a part of an article by John Zimarik. It includes a brief mention of a caliphate. You many wish to contact him about his article.

            You need to actually read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You will NOT find an approval of killing people to make God happy. There is no path to Heaven in the Catechism, which stipulates ‘mass murder’ as an act of Godly Obligation.

            The Wikipedia article about Islam and Violence is worth a read, too.

            TomaATL, you wish to quarrel this subject to death.

            I’ll reaffirm my accurate comment, “ISIS, and other violent Jihadists, are preaching and practicing, the traditional old-school, Koran thumping Islam.”

          • TomaATL_AlKilo

            No I do not wish to quarrel. I did research and can not find a single reference of a caliphate in Islamic scripture. I am just asking, because perhaps it exists.
            I, like many, actually believe in the just use of self defense, to protect loved ones. I don’t think God likes this, I think it saddens God, but I think (hope) God understands if there is no other choice, as St Thomas has argued. WW2 is an example.

          • TomaATL_AlKilo

            May I add although that groups like the Muslim Brotherhood absolutely are calling for a world under a single Islamic political entity, irrespective of what their scripture says. The problem is that the MSM is co-opted by GCC money and lobbyists and the MB is described as “moderate”, which it is not. It’s strongly ant Christian and anti Jewish.

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    It should be clear that Jihadists are fundamentally practicing the tenants of their belief system. The nominal muslim has no such stomach for shariah. At least not when it comes between him & the western lifestyle he has chosen to embrace. Thankfully most muslims on our shores are of the nominal variety. The Christian who embraces materialism, which is distinct from both capitalism & financial prosperity rightly appropriated is more like the compromised practitioner of the westernized version of Islam. In other words both are somewhat ineffectual in the promotion of their respective faiths. The muslim fundamentalist striving to emulate their “prophet” is pursuing merely the memory of a mortal man. He has only his own determination upon which to rely on to accomplish that task. ( Though some may rightly argue that somewhere in that equation is the presence of unseen malevolent personages ) The Christian who has chosen to reject the mistaken ideologies of this world which are often as contrary to truth as right is from wrong, are gradually transforming into personifications of the One from whom they derive the very strength, vision & character to pull it off. So Yeah, the concept of what is often called mainstream Christianity may be just as flawed as the jargon often used to portray “moderate” Muslims as faithful followers of a religion of peace. Both are a far cry from their respective origins. More or less ….

    • ncsugrant

      The author seems to be pointing out the ideals of each belief system, and that the ideal of Islam is the spread of their belief by killing anyone who refuses to convert.
      As for nominal muslims having no “stomach” for sharia, we would do well to recall that the band of 9/11 murderers
      were quite “westernized”.

      • Howard Rosenbaum

        Yeah, Im no big fan of “nominal” Muslim ideology . My point was simply that there are Muslims in this country that do not practice much of what their religion tells them to. In that sense these folk pursue their “faith” w/a comparable amount of compromise not so far removed from the way some believers on our shores practice their’s. Sure there are some in the so called “moderate” Muslim community that will pledge allegiance to Jihad over their allegiance to their American homeland, even if they themselves won’t implement its demands. Though compromise to a man made ideological system of political, military & religious requirements is quite a different thing from the compromise one must make to discount their faith in a loving God whose grace towards us is abundant & free …
        Btw, whether or not the criminals on that fateful September day were “westernized” is not something I would readily agree with. Regardless their commitment to Jihad far outweighed any influence “western” culture may have made upon them. Perhaps had they been riding on horseback & swinging lasso’s as they rammed their nasty selves into the World Trade center, I may be more inclined to agree w/you …

  • tomt

    Unfortunately, all is not always as it appears to be. A book called Francis of Assisi -A New Biography- by Augustine Thompson shows a different and more realistic perspective on the life of St. Francis. It is truly a great order but has many branches with some a little too far left and even at odds with Catholic teachings in some instances. Sadly some of the branches including nuns who held or currently hold leadership roles in the LCWR an organization of nuns who were investigated and put under guidance of a Prelate as they were promoting woman`s ordination, abortion and other issues contrary to Catholic teaching while an order of Conventuals recently began trying to change the name of the Pontifically approved association founded by St Maxmilian Kolbey from the Militia of the Immaculata to Missionaries of the Immaculate as they found the name politically incorrect and may be offensive to some. I digress from the point of the article but it should in all truthfulness be noted as you can in all reality take social justice issues well left of the original intentions of the founder, but of course this is nothing new and a historical study of order would reveal battles between branches as early as the time when Francis lived. Painting with a broad brush in this day and age can sometimes give improper perceptions.

  • pete salveinini

    St Thomas said about mohammedism (that’s what he called it ) is:
    It can not come from God, because:
    1) there are NO MIRACLES that indicate a supernatural origin (ie God) ; 2) it appeals to carnal males;
    3) it is propagated by violence. Cf. Summa contra Gentiles, Book 1, (4) page 73-4. Translated by Anton C. Pegis, F.R.S.C., U of Notre Dame Press edition 1975.

    • TomaATL_AlKilo

      Again, I am not an expert but Islam was different at the time of St Thomas. It was at a cross road with the emergence of the Ashari school. Certainly now one would be hard pressed to say that Islam is more “carnal” then the western secular world.
      The other point as mentioned, this did not prevent St Thomas from discussing with respect and seriously writing by Islamic philosophers at the time. Just browse The Philosophical Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, By Leo Elders available on Google books. WARNING: it’s difficult stuff written over 700 years ago, e.g. not suitable material for ADD partisan echo chambers blogs.

  • ab

    It’s time to learn what ISLAM is all about. What is the best and easiest way to raise your ISLAMIC IQ?

    Check out BILL WARNER’s (PhD) YouTube channel titled “Political Islam.” Each video is super concise–about 5 minutes–and the topics tackle the issues that the average non-Muslim (kafir) needs to know about.

    Because, according to Warner, the Quran makes 91 different statements of how Muhammad is the best example for a Muslim to follow (and thus ANYTHING Muhammad did is permissible), the key to learning the true nature of Islam is to simply learn what Muhammad was all about via the 3 main Islamic texts: the Quran (Allah’s revelations to Muhammad via the angel Gabriel), Hadith (sayings & deeds of Muhammad), and Sira (Muhammad’s biography).

    One of the most interesting aspects of Islam that I learned from Warner’s scholarship was the concept of “taqiyya” which means “religious deception.” This doctrine states that it is permissible for a Muslim to deceive a non-Muslim (kafir) if it advances the cause of Islam.

    Through these videos, you will learn the following: the doctrine of taqiyya; how true Muslims view kafirs; the Quran of Mecca (the more mild text); the Quran of Medina (the more militant, jihadist text, and takes precedence over the Meccan Quran); the 4 types of jihad (sword, money, speech/writing, & inner struggle); and most importantly, the true goal of Islam: to submit the world to Islam through a political super-state; among other concepts.

    I love what Warner says about how the average, well-meaning kafir seeks to relate to true, orthodox Muslims: the kafir seeks to TIE while the Muslim seeks to WIN.

    And for insight into “taqiyya” (permission to lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam), please check out the research librarian RAYMOND IBRAHIM’s article: “Taqiyya about Taqiyya.”

  • Excellent article, and a very thoughtful comparison. What I find astounding is the level of disinformation and resistance to truth in the media, many if not most politicians, almost the entire academia, and in vocal swaths of the general population. In many cases I can only understand it as ultimately being a spiritual stronghold keeping minds behind a veil.

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