An open letter issued by a group of 138 Muslim scholars, clerics and academics issued an “invitation” to the Vatican, the archbishop of Canterbury and other Christian leaders to “make peace” with Islam.
At least, that is the way most mainstream news reports styled it – “an invitation to make peace.” It was actually more of an ultimatum than it was an invitation. Boiled down to its essence, the letter warned Christians to “make peace with us or we’ll kill you.” The letter just phrases it more nicely.
“As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them – so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes.”
It was hard to know what to make of that statement. If it refers to the war on terror, it was Osama bin Laden who declared this a war of religions, in which he identified his enemies as Christian Crusaders and Jews.
The so-called “invitation” to make peace with Islam suggests that the price of peace is Islamic freedom to make war on others without fear of retaliation. At no point in the conflict has anyone other than Islam defined it as a conflict between Christians and Jews against Islam.
The statement was timed to coincide with the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan and one year after the pope inflamed the sentiments of the Religion of Perpetual Outrage by quoting the words of an obscure 14th century Byzantine emperor.
The letter was hailed by Newsweek as “something of a miracle” – treating it as if were an olive branch being offered by the victim to the aggressor, if only the aggressor were humane enough to accept it.
Gushed Newsweek in it’s column headlined, “Give Peace a Chance” – as if it were the West who opposed peace and had suddenly run amok attacking innocent Muslims everywhere – “It is addressed to Christianity’s most powerful leaders, including the pope, the archbishop of Canterbury and the heads of the Lutheran, Methodist and Baptist churches, and, in 15 pages laced with quranic and biblical scriptures, argues that the most fundamental tenets of Islam and Christianity are identical: love of one (and the same) God, and love of one’s neighbor.”
I hardly know where to begin to address that statement. In the first place, if it were true, then no Muslim could make a credible argument to his co-religionists based on the most fundamental tenets of Islam that there is any eternal reward to be had for killing one’s enemy in jihad.
If it were true, then the word “jihad” wouldn’t be an Islamic concept. There is no identical fundamental belief within Judaism or Christianity that ascribes special spiritual benefits to dying in religious combat. In fact, there is no such concept of “religious combat” of any kind in Christianity or Judaism.
The Bible relates combat involving Jews against their enemies, but those were territorial political battles, not battles to impose Judaism on the vanquished.
Jews don’t particularly encourage converts, and Christians believe that conversion can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
The job of the Christian is limited to sharing the Gospel, not imposing it by force or threats. Christians are taught by no less an authority than the Lord Himself, “And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.”
The Quran tells the faithful that, should an infidel reject Islam, “you will fight against them until they submit.” And of course, those who continue to reject are to be slaughtered.
The document is peppered with references to the Islamic contention that Muslims, Christians and Jews all worship the same God, which got rave reviews from the press. Time magazine enthused, “The letter notes that ‘whilst Islam and Christianity are obviously different religions – and whilst there is no minimizing some of their formal differences,’ both require believers to believe in only one god, and it’s the same god.”
Time, in its excitement, is emulating Newsweek’s style of making sweeping theological pronouncements disguised as news. From their perspective, who can blame them? If you don’t believe in any god at all, what difference does it make? One god is as good as the next – or as some Americans would say, as offensive as the other. Islam not only demands that its followers believe that Allah is the same god as the God of Christians and Jews; it demands that Christians and Jews agree.
Neither Christianity nor Judaism imposes that requirement on their adherents, although Christians and Jews generally agree that the God of Israel is also the God of Christianity. Not because one side or the other demands it, but because both understand from the Bible that the nature of the God of Israel and the God of Christianity are the same.
The mainstream media embraced the letter as vindication of their long-held but difficult to believe faith in the existence of a vast, moderate Islamic majority that follow the kinder, gentler Islam that we keep hearing about, but for which we see little evidence. That is one way of interpreting it, if you really squint hard.
Unfortunately, there are verses in the Quran that nobody wants to talk about – probably because nobody wants to consider the awful implications of their meaning.
The ignorance of our political leaders and the media concerning Islam’s true beliefs is beyond deplorable; it is more in the range of criminal negligence in time of war.
Under Islamic law, before Islam can make war against the infidel with Allah’s blessings, the infidels must first be offered an opportunity to submit to Islam. Osama bin Laden has just recently asked the leaders and people of the United States to embrace Islam. So has Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. All these letters offer the West the “opportunity” to submit to Allah as being equal to God. They also warn that, should their offer be rebuffed, “The very survival of the world is at stake.”
Islam just finished the feast of Ramadan. Here is what the Quran says should be the attitude of all Muslims at the end of this sacred feast season: “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters [particularly Jews and Christians] wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush. …” (Quran, Surah 9.5)
The irony of our leaders’ and media’s response is mind-boggling. This is not an offer of peace – it is a prelude to war. In the cold light of day it means, “Make peace with Islam and Allah, or we’ll kill you.”