The recent series of terror attacks in France have brought Islam into the spotlight, and the Catholic Church has been divided on its response. Some prominent cardinals have attacked Islam, while others have taken a conciliatory attitude. After the latest terror attack on 26th July, 2016, where an 85-year-old priest, Jacques Hamel, had has throat slit while kneeling beside the alter of his church, the Pope was reported widely in the media to have blamed terrorism upon capitalism when questioned about Islam and terrorism.
The recent terror attacks conducted in the heart of Europe are used by the Western politicians to darken the image of Islam, and this is a tragedy because Islam is a political way of life that is built upon spiritual values where the life and dignity of humans is raised above the material and political benefits of those who hold or seek power. Islam, indeed political Islam, rather than being a source of terror is actually the only ideology that offers a new world free of terror.
The Pope and some cardinals in the Catholic Church are discussing Islam, but there are competing voices in the church on Islam and terrorism. The Catholic Pope said: “Terrorism grows when there is no alternative, when at the center of the society is the ‘God of Money’ not the person, the man and woman”, so here he differentiates between terrorism and its cause. The cause is the capitalist system, which he has criticized before in a different context as a system that helps “reduce man to raw material to be exploited.” The pope also described terrorism in a much more interesting way.
In addition to describing capitalism as a cause of terrorism he described it as terrorism itself: “when the glory of creation and a man and woman has been thrown away and money has been replaced as its center, this is terrorism against all of humanity.” The Pope’s latest comments came in response to a question he was asked about the killing of the 85-year-old priest, Jacques Hamel. In his responses to the question he also spoke conciliatory words about Islam, but others in the Catholic Church have not been so conciliatory.
Cardinal Raymond Burke has written a book, “Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ”, which seeks to create fear about Islam. In a recent interview about his new book he says: “In reality, there is no place for other religions, even though they may be tolerated, as long as Islam has not succeeded in establishing its sovereignty over the nations and over the world.” Here he creates fear about Islam, when in reality it is Islam that is the hope for the world. Nevertheless, a deeper look at Cardinal Raymond Burke’s writings show that there is something that he fears much more than Islam.
He was reported in the Catholic Herald of the 19th of May 2016, as saying that “Christians are called to martyrdom,” but he was not speaking about Islam. The full quote is: “In the midst of secularisation, Christians are called to martyrdom.” He has also said that “Catholicism is in the throes of the worst crisis in its entire history,” and that “unless true and loyal Catholics have the zeal and the spirit of the early Christians, unless they are willing to do what they did and to pay the price that they paid, the days of America are numbered.” Cardinal Burke warned that the same is true of any nation “subject to the virulent secularization of society, a secularization which has also entered into the Church.” The danger of capitalism and its secular creed is agreed upon by both the Pope and Cardinal Burke and many others in the Catholic Church, but they still are divided about Islam, even though Islam is the only system that truly rejects terrorism in an unbiased fashion and bring justice and harmony when it governs humanity.
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds”
Dr. Abdullah Robin