Following the horrific Muslim terrorist attack in Normandy, Pope Francis said that "the world is at war,” even while he said it is not a war of religion. On July 26, two Muslim assailants took over a Catholic church in St.-Etienne-du-Rouvray, a town in northern France, during the celebration of Mass. Taking two nuns and other worshippers hostage, the pair forced the 86-year-old priest, Fr. Jacques Hamel
, to his knees and then slit his throat. Catholics around the world are calling for his designation as a martyr of the Catholic faith.
On his way to a gathering in Poland, Pope Francis said the globe has been in “a piecemeal war” for some time. He said that the priest is one casualty in that worldwide war. “The world is at war because it has lost peace,” said the pontiff. “There is a war of interest, there is a war for money, a war for natural resources, a war to dominate people," he continued. "Some might think it is a war of religion. It is not. All religions want peace. Others want war."
The teenaged Muslim assailants were killed by French security forces on the morning they killed the priest. On July 27, the media wing of the Islamic State, Amaq, posted a video that showed the two attackers pledging allegiance to the terrorist organization. The attack in Normandy came less than two weeks after the Bastille Day terror attack that left 84 people dead in Nice.
One of the attackers, Adel Kermiche, had been flagged by authorities as a radical Muslim and was under house arrest at the time of the attack. He was compelled to wear an electronic monitoring device after traveling abroad to try to fight in Syria. Under the conditions of his house arrest, he was allowed out of his parents' home, not far from the church, for four hours each day -- a window he used to carry out the attack. Friends said he had changed and frequently spoke of war against non-Muslims.
Beheading as a political act
In an interview with Spero News, Bill Warner -- who has written several books on Islam -- was asked why the terrorists resorted to cutting the throat of the octogenarian priest. Warner told Spero News, “We have to understand that these people are Muslims and they are following the Sunnah of Mohammed as well as the voice of Allah in the Koran. And Mohammed repeatedly had people beheaded. He had the heads of his enemies thrown at his feet and he laughed so hard you could see his back teeth.”
“Beheading,” Warner said, “is part of a process of humiliation and death in Islam. So, when they did this, they were simply copying the Sunnah of Muhammad.” Warner explained in a previous interview that the Sunnah is a collection of the teachings, deeds, and sayings, and disapprovals declared by Muhammad. In addition to the Quran, the Sunna constitutes one of primary sources of Islamic theology and law. While the terrorists in St-Etienne-du-Rouvray may not have initially sought to kill the priest there, Warner said “It’s meant to humiliate Christians and which they have successfully done.
As for the intentions of Muslim assailants, Warner referred to the eighth Surah of the Quran: “I quote: ‘I will cast fear in the hearts of the Kafir.’” He clarified, “I don’t use the word terror instead of ‘jihad.’ Because terror is a technique. But part of the purpose here is to terrorize, that is to create terror within the body politic of Europe.” These sorts of attacks, Warner said, occur independently of the Islamic State. He cited the example of Boko Haram, an Islamic sect in Nigeria that has bombed and burned churches and exterminated Christians in its path. Warner recalled that members of Boko Haram poured acid onto the face of a Christian minister who refused to recant his faith. “We need to step back and see this as part of a general pattern.”
The incident in France, said Warner, is an instance of the physical and psychological warfare being conducted by Islam in the West. In St-Etienne-du-Vouray, it was successful. He pointed out the dualistic nature of Islam. In one phase Islam is at peace with Christians and Jews, and another in which it dominates, Warner said. “This can be seen in Muhammad’s life. At first, he treated Christians well, and then he treated them very badly because, after he had crushed the resistance in Arabia, he went north into Syria. So, he sought out Christians to dominate and kill.”
Warner predicted that Muslim attacks will continue in France, pointing out that Muslims constitute 10 percent of the population. “We’re riding the historical curve here, and the pressure of history is upon us. Right now, Islam is going to win because France has decided that it will not really fight Islam, and instead are fighting a war on terror.” He concluded, “You’re never going to win a war when you refuse to name the enemy.”
Khalil Abu-Rayyan, 21, of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, threatened terror attacks in support of the Islamic States. He planned to target police and a Detroit church with up to 6,000 members, according to an April 2016 affidavit presented to a federal court in Detroit. According to the affidavit, Rayyan is an ISIS supporter who talked about committing violent acts of terrorism, including shootings and beheadings. FBI Special Agent Alan Southard said “Since May of 2015, the FBI has been conducting an investigation of Khalil Abu-Rayyan regarding increasingly violent threats he has made to others about committing acts of terror and martydom — including brutal acts against police officers, churchgoers and others — on behalf of the foreign terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraqi and Levant.”…
A Theologian defines the god of Islam
Some Catholic theologians differ with Pope Francis as to whether Islam is indeed a religion of peace
. Rev. James Schall, a Jesuit priest who taught for decades at Georgetown University, asked in article entitled "Realism and Islam" in The Catholic World Report
how the Christian west is to judge the continuing violence committed in the name of Islam. He wrote that “we have to acknowledge that Islam, in principle, is actually and potentially violent throughout its entire history. The basic reason for this method is obedience to the Law of Allah, not love for violence itself.”
As to Islam’s supposed pacific nature, Schall wrote, “On the basis of evidence and theory, we cannot conclude from the fact that Islam is a “religion” that therefore it is not ‘violent’ or is so only by abuse of its own founding. It is possible to be a religion and to espouse violence.” This is affirmed, he said, by Muslims themselves. Averring what Warner said above, Schall wrote: “Realism means that we can and should call what happens by its proper name. It also means that, if we cannot or will not make this proper naming, we are not realistic. We will inevitably suffer the consequences of our failure to state the truth of what is there.”
Schall wrote that he does not intend to promote violence against Muslims or Muslim violence against others. “Rather it is to respect Islam’s insistence that all those inside and outside of its enclosure be subject to the law of the Prophet. Whether we like it or not, this vision of world rule that is proper to Islam can only be called ‘religious’ in nature. It is rooted in and promoted as a worship of the god called Allah. Not to take this wording seriously is unrealistic.”
In the Quran, the world is expected to bow in submissive worship to the god known as Allah: a concept that has abided across the centuries. While Muslims may temporarily abandon the zealous pursuit of the goal of Islam, Schall wrote, the Quran itself “always contains the mission for others to find and pursue. There will always be those who realize that the mission of world conquest in the name of Allah is not complete.” So long as the Quran is unrefuted, said Schall, the “Qur’an will always produce what we call ‘terrorists.’ What we see now is little different from what has been seen throughout the centuries wherever Islam is found.”
“Sometimes, Christians and Jews can be allowed to stay alive provided that they accept second class citizenship and pay taxes. This situation, in practice, is the basic constitutional rule in all existing Muslim states, even in those that reject ISIS or other approaches to eventual conquest of the world. Once Islam has conquered, it has always followed the same principles. In its history, certain famous battles have turned back Muslim conquests for a time, sometimes for centuries. But this relative inertness is only on the surface. As long as the book exists, its goals will again and again inflame prophets, imams, politicians, and the young men to recommence the conquest of the rest of the world.”
In 2006 interview with EWTN
, Schall drew the differences between the Christian understanding of God and the Islamic understanding. Referring to the talk Pope Benedict XVI gave in Regensburg, Germany, that sought to reach out to Muslims, Schall said, “The Holy Father posed the fundamental question that lies behind all the discussion about war and terror. If God is Logos, it means that a norm of reason follows from what God is. Things are, because they have natures and are intended to be the way they are because God is what he is: He has his own inner order.
“If God is not Logos but ‘Will,’ as most Muslim thinkers hold Allah to be, it means that, for them, Logos places a ‘limit’ on Allah. He cannot do everything because he cannot do both evil and good. He cannot do contradictories.
“Thus, if we want to ‘worship’ Allah, it means we must be able to make what is evil good or what is good evil. That is, we can do whatever is said to be the ‘will’ of Allah, even if it means doing violence as if it were ‘reasonable.’"
In the Spero News interview, Warner said to combat Islam, "We have to adopt the language in which we name the enemy and we understand the enemy's doctrine and we understand the enemy's history."
The hammer and the anvil
As for the appeal of Islam to Kafirs (unbelievers), Warner said that it appeals to all sectors of society. In a society where women have difficulty in finding husbands, when they join Islam they can immediately find a mate. "Christianity today," Warner said, "has become rather feminine in its approach to life. You can join Islam as a religion, not as a political movement, and have a very robust masculine image of yourself." Islam is attractive to some because it offers "sharp answers to sharp questions, especially in a world that has a "loosey-goosey whatever approach we have adopted in America."
"Also, if you don't like America," said Warner, "this is a way to join a group that also does not really like America. So, you can match your politics." As to possible coincidences between the goals of Islam and those of leftists, Warner said that Islam deals not so much with individuals than it does with the Ummah, or community. "If you understand Islam, you'll see that it wants to supplant our Constitution with Shariah (ed. note: Muslim religious law)," Warner said. Among those people who hate the United States, "The Left sees itself as the hammer and Islam as the anvil. Between the two Utopian concepts they'll bring America down and replace it with a better Utopia."