Islam: religion of peace and tolerance? Part 1

Dearborn, Michigan has the highest concentration of Muslims in the United States.  In June, some Christians decided to visit the Arab Festival of Dearborn and ask some questions about the Islamic pamphlets being handed out.  Watch this video to see what happens.  You’ll see how their basic rights to free speech are violated and how they get hit numerous times by security guards.

Is this the future of America?  Is this a religion of peace and tolerance?  Please pray for our persecuted Christian brethren.

Remember, this happened in America, not in the Middle East.

16 thoughts on “Islam: religion of peace and tolerance? Part 1

  1. Steve,

    Sometime ago a Fr. Elijah posted here on Islam. I was not impressed by the quality of his thought on this particular subject. I asked him the following: “As a middle-aged Catholic priest, could you briefly evaluate the way in which the Catholic Church has engaged with Islam over the last 50 years.”

    Now, for what may be a very valid reason, he didn’t respond. As I don’t know where he’s coming from on this matter, what I now say is not extended to him.

    I find it interesting that people who are normally the Church’s readiest defenders are either embarassed or flat-out reject the Church’s representative’s observations of Islam made over the last 50 or so years.

    So where do you stand?

    1. Are you familiar with the observations made by the Church’s representatives on Islam over the last 50 or so years.

    (I don’t mean to be condescending. Some people aren’t familiar with such observations…)

    2. Are you either embarassed by (or do you reject) such observations?

    I look foward to any further information you offer on these two questions.


  2. Why do you formulate a question in that way “are you embarrassed or do you reject”? why presume discord? Do you ever have anything positive to say on this blog?

  3. Kelly,

    Have you been living under a rock? Islam is one of the greatest persecutors of Christianity, if not THE GREATEST persecutor of Christianity, today.

    If you want Church precedent for what our thinking should be about Islam, go read about Regensburg and learn what the Pope said when he was there.

    50 years of muddled thinking and approach to a largely barbaric religion does not make “Catholic teaching”.

    Islam is a heresy. And it is a scourge on the Church. What the Church has officially taught about Islam at Vatican II was a political and pastoral approach to Islam which has largely failed.

    We are not living in the sixties any more, Kelly. We’re living with a violent and radicalized religion. Some updating is required and that is what the Pope effectively did at Regensburg. You would be well advised to listen to what he said.

  4. Hi Monique, question 2 is based on question 1.

    If the answer to question 1 is “yes, I am familiar,” then the follow-up has to do with why we “might” disregard such observations. Because, if a person thinks Islam is a religion of violence, then that certainly isn’t what the Church thinks, or what the statements of our Church’s representatives would indicate.

    As I do not know what Steve’s thoughts are on the subject (in detail…), I want to make sure I understand his position, before engaging in a more specific critique. I think that’s a rather fair approach on my part.

  5. Kelly,

    I fully support the approach and message being sent by Pope Benedict regarding Islam in his Regensburg address in 2006. Read this article for a great synopsis:

    This same approach was again visible when the Pope chose to personally and publicly baptize a well-known Muslim celebrity who converted to Catholicism in 2008. The significance of this event is well explained here:,2933,341008,00.html

  6. Hi John. No, I haven’t been living under a rock.

    Let’s cut to the chase: If you think Islam is inherently violent, you’re observation represents a disconnect between yourself and the last 50 years of Church observations about Islam.

    Now, I don’t know for sure whether you think that. Hence the “if.”

    It’s as simple as that.

  7. Steve, this is my last comment for the evening.

    I am talking about Islam being inhrently “violent,” or “evil.”

    Do you think it is?

    If you do, let’s take it from there (another day).

  8. Kelly, I am in full agreement with what the Pope teaches about Islam. Can you say the same?

    If you are not deeply concerned about how Muslim populations are taking over western countries (even your own), and prohibiting Christians from exercising their faith (or asking a simple question as in this video), there is simply something wrong with you. This video proves exactly what Benedict is saying about Islam and its shunning of rationality when discussing the nature of God and religion.

    Besides, it is foolish, really, to talk of “Islam”. It is more accurate, as the Pope says, to ask “Which Islam are we talking about?” No one officially speaks for Islam, but the violent and politically radicalized element is the one that is effectively speaking for it, and the one that needs to be put down and defeated…or else we’re finished as a culture.

  9. I remembered the problems arising from the Regensburg speech a little differently then what is being presented here. In my recollection much of the trouble was instigated by media. When it comes to media it is smart to remember their “if it bleeds it leads” practise and motto. They are out to make money and they don’t like the Catholic Church. Figure it out, what a golden opportunity for media to sell news and get the Church at the same time. So I did a little digging and found this: I’m sure there is much more available. FYI, there are also varies sites online that show media news photos aren’t always what they seem to be.

    I’m not naive about Islam or Islamic terrorists but I don’t think the average Muslim is much of a threat. I think for the most part they are very disorganized and more of a threat to each other. Economically, I’ve yet to see any made in (insert Islamic country) manufacturers tag on anything. And I have also noticed most terrorists (not all) seem to go after secular targets not religious ones these days.

    I guess I look at things a little differently. The big threat I see is not from any outside force. The threat I see comes from ourselves. We are the ones who betrayed our future when we freely chose contraception and abortion. Like they say, he who rocks the cradle rules the world. If Muslims, or any group for that matter, care to take us over they need not fire a shot. Think about it, in their very best attack, Islamic terrorist managed to killed about 3,000 innocent people. We kill more than that each and every day in our abortuaries.

    If I wanted to scare myself about a single group the one that puts a chill up my spine is the huge glut of single Chinese men who will never find a wife. (We can thank abortion for that problem, too.) What do you think China will do with all those extra men?

    As for the video, I think security over reacted but I also thought the camera crew was rude and pushy.

  10. Kelly,
    Your questions always seem like a rhetorical trap to catch people and embarrass them. Why don’t you just bring forth directly the statements of the church you have in mind rather than play games?

  11. I agree with what the Church teaches on Islam. The Church, like Christ, strives to emphasize the positives in every person and every religion. And there certainly are some positives in Islam. But the Church isn’t naive and isn’t blind to the drawbacks of Islam, as explained by Pope Benedict. My posts draw attention to the drawbacks, without denying the existence of positives.

  12. John, you identify yourself as being in “full agreement with what the Pope teaches about Islam,” and then you ask whether I could say the same.

    First of all, I am happy to hear you state this. Your “full agreement” would mean then that you would not answer “Yes” to the question of whether Islam is intrinsically violent.

    Second, as for my agreement, to the extent that I understand BXVI’s thought on Islam, I find myself in agreement. I thought John Paul made some good points too in his book “Crossing the Threshold…,” but at the time of reading I remember disagreeing with something he said (although I don’t remember what, and all my books are back at the Seminary…). Some of the other statements are acceptable at a surface level, but to delve deeper some nuances would be needed (like the ones you identify about the diversity within Islam).

    As for your comments about demographics, I realize this is a popular viewpoint, but you might want to read Philip Jenkins’ “God’s Continent.” At the very least, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. If your familiar with Jenkins, he tends to be ahead of just about everyone else in recognizing certain realities.

    Monique, instead of trying to “catch” someone, I am trying to accurately ascertain what a particular person believes about a particular issue. This is responsible in a debate, and should be preferred to wrongly assume and then defeat an argument no one was making.

    As for my experience of individuals who either reject or are embarassed by what the Church teaches about Islam, well that is my experience. And since the title of this post is “Islam: Religion of Peace and Tolerance?” I wanted to ascertain to what extent this person is on board with what the Church teaches. Because, Monique, the Church doesn’t teach that Islam is a religion of violence.

    I refer you to three sources of varying weight. Vatican II’s “Nostra Aetate,” John Paul II’s “Crossing the Threshold of Hope,” and Benedict’s “Regensburg Address (including the footnotes).

    Steve rightly recognizes that the Church recognizes both positives and negatives in Islam. But here’s the problem: The Church does not view Islam as a religion of violence. The title creates ambiguity.

    Steve says that he agrees with the Church about Islam.

    That means he agrees with the following: “They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God…”

    That’s from Nostra Aetate. Do you agree with this quote Monique? Do you John? Steve? Some of the comments (some) seem not to recognize this reality. The title, as I said, creates ambiguity about where you stand with “Islam.” Hence the call for clarification.

  13. Kelly,

    Nothing that the Council said is all that remarkable. I don’t see why you think this poses a problem for my view. The quote from NA is basically saying that that is what they believe about themselves. However, obviously the Church cannot agree with it OBJECTIVELY. For example, do you agree that “Muslims submit to God’s inscrutable decree” that Jesus is the son of God, for instance? Obviously not. Objectively speaking, Islam is a heresy from the Christian faith. It also has a long history of violent conquest. These are indisputable facts of theology and history. Now, no doubt, there are individual Muslims who “take the good” from their religion and not “the bad”. This is what Vatican II was addressing because it wanted to open up dialogue and encourage mutual respect and tolerance. It was a pastoral council that took a (overly, some say) positive outook to the world and other religions, while ignoring the negative elements of them. I don’t think this is particularly helpful. (Case in point: the recent train wreck of the Anglican Communion as an example of pie-in-the-sky thinking that has dominated the last 50 years of the Church’s ecumencial dialogue. In the end, it ended with their collapse and an open door for their converts who wish to accept what the Church teaches.)

    It is futile to argue whether Islam is “violent” or not, as a general rule since no one officially speaks for Islam today. Certainly, Muhammed was a violent man and a pervert by today’s standards. We have some pretty wacky fundamentalist sects in Christianity today, but none of them (at least not even remotely significant) are terrorists and use the bible and their historical patrimony as a justification for their behaviour, as Islamicists do today with the Koran. Modern Islam of the sixties when NA was issued was an abbheration from Traditional Islam which the zeolots want to expel, Kelly. It was the politically correct version of their religion.

    The qualities of a religion are generally perceived by the actions of its adherents. If that is the case, how would you describe Islam today, Kelly? I can tell you one thing, if we had a significant portion of Christianity using terror to get its way, there would be many Christians condemning them. It might even be civil war. But where do you see any significant number of “moderate Muslims” speaking against their violent counterparts?

    No where.

    The Church of today, headed by Benedict, has a much more sobering and realistic view of what Islam is. Go to the vast majority of Islamic countries, Kelly, and tell us how the Christian populations are treated there under Sharia. Then compare that to NA and ask yourself if NA is the final word on the Church’s approach or orientation to Islam.

  14. The denial of civil rights to women is clearly in the text of the Quran and its low view of women. Even today Muslim women can be kept prisoners in their homes. They can be denied the right to go outside the house if the husband so orders. They are still denied the right to vote in Islamic countries such as Kuwait. In Islamic countries such as Iran, women must carry written permission from their husband to be out of the house. Women are denied the right to drive a car in such places as Saudi Arabia.
    The Quran states in Sura 4:34; Men are the managers of the affairs of women. … Those you fear may be rebellious, admonish; banish them to their couches and beat them.
    In the Quran, Muslims are told in Sura 9:5: Fight and slay infidels wherever you find them. and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war.
    This is what Muslims are to do with people who resist Islam. In Sura 5:33 they are told, Their punishment is … execution, or crucifixion, or cutting off of hand and feet from the opposite sides, or exile from the land.
    In the new Secular Humanist West cutting off someone’s hands and feet because they don’t accept your worldview is I hope still unthinkable, although they are eroding our freedoms..


    Saudi Court condemns rape victim to 200 lashings and six months prison.

    She is guilty of having been in a car with a “non relative” male at the time of the aggression by the group of men. The fist hearing had “only” condemned her to 90 lashings, but the Appeals Court increased the sentence because the young women “attempted to influence the court through the media”.

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