Special Report on Endless Jihad on Rock site

I found this forum when I was looking for a Catholic Apologetic magazine to subscribe too. I am a great fan of Keating’s books. And I am happy I found this discussion forum.

However, I am very reluctant to subscribe to The Rock, because I found its special report “Endless Jihad” offensive, full of inaccuracies and a false representations of Islamic beliefs. The poor quality really surprised me, because the insight Keating always give about Catholic Apologetics seems thoroughly researched and the answers to controversial issues well informed. I am still debating about subscribing to the magazine because I can’t find any another Catholic Apologetic magazine of the same caliber. But I don’t know if I would ever be able to trust any of its analyses of a religion foreign to me. How often is such a subject inluded in the magazine?

Does anyone know if the author whomever it was, corrected part of the article or explained himself better? Or does the fact that it is a “speical issue” mean it is a CA tracts and still being distibruted, Generally, I find the tracts very insightful so it surprises me to think that such an unbalanced examination and so much misinformation might be given in a tract, which are more easily available to a greater number of people than books, and the readership of tracts are typically people who don’t refer to other sources; they want something quick and succinct…so accuracey is all the more important.

True, the word Islam literally means “submission,” but I have not heard any claim that it means peace exactly; only that the roots are the same. Islam is literally derived from the word peace, as all Arabic word have three root letters, which means that salam (peace) and Islam (submission) have the same roots (s,l,m). The two concepts (peace and submission) are not inimical but reinforce one another.

The notion that Muslims have no concept of sacrifice because they do not believe that Christ was sacrificed is a fallacy, and it invalidates the importance the Muslims place on the patriarchs and prophets in their faith. True, Jesus plays a different role in their religion, but at the same time, the sacrifices of other patriarchs within Islam are role models for giving in the name of God. The Shiite tradition placed great emphasis on the martyrdom of Hussein and Hassan, sons of Ali (the fourth Caliph). Both Sunni and Shiite Muslims celebrate the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his son (although the Islamic tradition holds that the son chosen for the test was not Isaac but Ishmael) as the second holiest feast after the Eid that follows Ramadan. The concept of Ramadan itself is imbued with the need to fast and sacrifice to atone for sins and for to express gratitude for God’s blessings, and the fasting during Ramadan is typically much more stringent than that practiced by the Christian during Lent.
Additionally, the holy days of the Muslim calendar, their Eids, are marked by giving great donations to the needy, such as good for families; and exemplify greater charity on a regular basis that what Christian tradition is able to inspire its typical adherent to practice. Perhaps the charity in Islam is codified more literally in the law, but I have know far more Muslims who give as Christ would, than I do Christians, which is sad, because I am familiar with a greater number of so-called Christian people, in the sense those who consider themselves members of some church related to Christ. This actually made me seriously consider converting to Islam for a few years, so I learned more about the faith than most arm chair academics or tourists. However I returned to the Church for many reason (entirely separate topic).

The concept of Jihad is only acceptable by orthodox Muslims if the community is under the threat of extinction; it is not endless and is rarely evoked. This is why the article titled “Endless Jihad” on Keating’s web site offended me more than the article in Madrid’s magazine. There are many, if not more, exhortations in the Qu’ran which instruct faithful Muslims to promote peace than violence. These surats should not have been omitted from consideration in the article. An objective article would have included both perspectives and sought to discount one over the other. The articles gave the illusion that no such value for peace exists in Islamic doctrine, which is thoroughly untrue.

CNEWA could tell the author that the violence that results in the region is not related to religion, but a basic and frantic fight for survival by Christian Arabs and Muslim Arabs alike, who are being displaced by an ever militant and growing illegal settler population in Israel. And in the non-Holy Land portions the Middle East, the poor and disenfranchised increasingly resort to violence so that their opposition can be heard, since they have no legal opposition voices in the regimes that the present US administration supports. Violence is a universal symptom of desperate people who lose hope and feel they have no other recourse. It is not embraced by the religious institutions of Islam as much as it is in Judaism, which emphasizes the teachings of a vengeful God. Islam’s perception of God is much more closely related to the God of Christianity.

Parts of the Qu’ran tell stories from Barnabas of the New Testament, in addition to including figures such as Mary and Jesus, although their interpretations of these character’s role are different in Islam, the message is essentially the same; that God is a merciful God not only a just God. I have met a few Mulims who have even visited Fatima, because they make a strong religious connection between the role played by Mary and the role played by Mohammed’s daughter with the name Fatima.

And the idea of salvation in Islam is more similar to Catholics than that of the Protestants whom claim that all one needs to do is believe Jesus died for their sins and one is saved. Muslims believe that in order to gain access to heaven, the sum of the good deed one does must outweigh the sum of the sins committed; and all is ultimately up to God’s will.

It’s too bad that the articles did not pursue similarities more than it did, because there are many that should be investigated and publicized. Doing so would be much more in the interest of promoting peace and encouraging humanity to be charitable towards one another. I think only articulating biases in the articles created a false representation of an entire religion and cultivated fear of people, both of which lead to creating conditions that incite hate.

The article did a great disservice to people who wish to initiate dialogues with people who might be candidates for conversion, because it gives them a false representation of the concepts that the potential converts hold sacred and veils the potential common ground on which discussions could be initiated. In order to be effective evangelists, the evangelizer must be equipped with an accurate perception of the other’s frame of reference.

Obviously, I think Catholicism is the best faith, and I would not expect a Catholic apologetics source to ever say another faith is equally credible. However, I also believe that articles that provide accurate insight into a different culture could help a potential evangelist, because they help the evangelist predict arguments. Articles that illustrate false constructs of another culture are a liability to an evangelist, because they make the evangelist ill-prepared to conduct a fruitful dialogue with a potential convert.

I speak Arabic, Turkish, and some Hebrew, and possess graduate degrees from studying political and economical developments in the Middle East, and I have worked in and with Muslim countries for several years. I thought the inaccuracies in the articles resembled propaganda that could only be found on sites supported by AIPAC or the Christian right friends of the Zionists, which believe that people need to be encouraged by whatever means necessary to give all the Palestinian land to the Israelis once and for all, so that the rapture can begin. I received the impression that the author did not consult any standard objective history books on Islamic and Ottoman Societies such as those written by reputable scholars such as Fatima Mernissi, Howard Sachar, John Esposito, and the late Albert Hourani

Though I know little of Islamic beliefs, I can agree with you that accurate representation is key for any possible “common ground” or chance for dialogue. With the state of the world today, Christians, Muslims, Hindu, Buddhists all should be engaged in dialogue. Not to conform to each other or be one religion or to even give up any beliefs they hold.

For peace to be possible in the world, the world’s religions must seek dialogue with one another and seek even a small amount of reconciliation. Realistically, if all Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists followed their respective religions precepts, we would have a much more peaceful world.

There are many factors which contribute to violence and fight over territory and so forth. Lack of understanding of each other’s religion is a key point, though. Much could be accomplished through meaningful, open dialogue between faiths. The world would indeed be safer - not fixed - but definitely safer.

Peace…

I also found the ‘Endless Jihad’ article offensive. I often trust Catholic Answers when I am looking for answers to difficult apologetics questions, and I hate to think that some ‘defenders’ of the religion of truth think it necessary to lie about what others believe. It is completely possible and desirable to defend the Catholic religion with truthful statements.

One reason I could not be a Muslim is because their Quran makes some erroneous claims about what we believe as Christians, for example, that we believe in three Gods. I can easily imagine a Muslim reading that jihad article and thinking to himself, “Wow, these Catholics have no idea what they are talking about.” We need to rise above that.

I was going to write an angry post about that article after some research, but it looks to me like Serendipity did a much better job than I could have. Honestly, though, I have to say that the ‘Endless Jihad’ article has influenced me to withhold financial support for Catholic Answers despite good ol’ Karl’s pushy letters, and I am also probably unlikely to renew my subscription to ‘This Rock’ unless I see some kind of redress to this outrageous tract.

The leading Shiite cleric in Iraq, al-Sistani ( www.sistani.org ), favors freedom of religion and is opposed to Theocracy. He believes that church (mosque?) and state ought to be separate.

I don’t think that the ‘endless jihad’ article’s description of what muslims believe describe his point of view even remotely, despite the fact that he is one of the leading Shiite clerics in the world.

[quote=heliumspark]The leading Shiite cleric in Iraq, al-Sistani ( www.sistani.org ), favors freedom of religion and is opposed to Theocracy. He believes that church (mosque?) and state ought to be separate.

I don’t think that the ‘endless jihad’ article’s description of what muslims believe describe his point of view even remotely, despite the fact that he is one of the leading Shiite clerics in the world.
[/quote]

The question here is not what al-Sistani favors, you criticized Karl’s letter which does not deal with opinion of Grand Ayatollah.

I don’t claim to be an expert on Islam, but I’ve read a lot about it for the simple reason that I am married to a Shia Muslim from Iran.

I’ve also have an ongoing conversation with an Iraqi friend at work, who incidentally is one of my favorite people in the world.

Many books and materials on Islam are written by missionaries, Arab Christians, who can read Koran in original, other Christian writers and people who have an opinion about it.

However, to find the truth, and what the true teaching of Islam is you have to find something that was written by an Arab Muslim, who can read classical Arabic, the language of Koran and Hadith (a body of Islamic literature telling stories of Muhammad’s life and his teachings).

The unfortunate thing is that according to teaching of Muhammad (derived from Hadith) Muslims do not have to tell the unbelievers the truth if the objective is to advance the spread of Islam. Therefore we frequently get a distorted view of Islam, so-called “Christianized Islam”, where the accent is on peace and tolerance, not jihad.

So to get the truth you have to find material from a Muslim who converted to Christianity, and is willing to talk about it even though there is a death warrant on his life.

I found such a book titled “Jesus and Muhammad. Profound Differences and Surprizing Similarities”, written by Mark A. Gabriel, Phd. He has a bachelor, master, and doctorat degree from Al-Azar University in Kairo, Egipt, the oldest and most respected university in Islamic world. He started to study classical Arabic when he was 5, and memorized all of the Koran by the time he was 12. He was a teacher at Al-Azar and an Imam of a Mosque. He lived as a Muslim for 35 years.

I suggest you get the book if you are interested in the truth. I promise it will be very eye opening.

By the way, my Muslim friend at work told me right after the attacks of 9-11, that Islam means “peace”. It is a Muslim favorite line in defense of their religion. Then when I found out what it really ment (submission), and asked him why he claimed it ment “peace”, he said “I am sorry if I said that. I was wrong”. He is a very devout Muslim, and unless he had a mental block when he was calling Islam “peace”, his purpose was to deceive me. :hmmm:

I have since reviewed the ‘Endless Jihad’ article more thouroughly and did not find any significant factual errors, although it was a very one-sided report and left out some important considerations, such as the fact that there are powerful movements in Islam that hold that religion and government should be separate. Also, in my opinion, I think it is unfair to jump to such negative conclusions about democracy in the Islamic world.

I am not as opposed to the tract as before, but I still fail to see what good CA hopes to accomplish with it.

[quote=heliumspark]I have since reviewed the ‘Endless Jihad’ article more thouroughly and did not find any significant factual errors, although it was a very one-sided report and left out some important considerations, such as the fact that there are powerful movements in Islam that hold that religion and government should be separate. Also, in my opinion, I think it is unfair to jump to such negative conclusions about democracy in the Islamic world.

I am not as opposed to the tract as before, but I still fail to see what good CA hopes to accomplish with it.
[/quote]

The powerful movements in Islam are not as important as Koran itself. Islam, unlike Christianity is not just a religion, it is a way of life and a political system. Koran descibes in great detail what is needed to establish a muslim country and belives it to be a perfect system. No democracy is possible in Islamic country because a democracy is rule of the majority through voting and not Allah’s word, which is supposed to be a deciding voice.

Jesus said “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. It is very important for us to know the truth about Islam, since the influences of it are growing in the world.

I believe this is what CA wanted to accomplish with this tract.

I haven’t read it, but now I plan to. Often the problem is that when Jihad comes up we get the old “it means struggle for purity” thing. But when they discuss it when we are not around it tends to mean “kill the infidel”. If only 20 percent of Muslims think that way it means that 200 MILLION of them do. This is not an insignificant problem. I have been to Islamic countries and had Muslim friends. I remember one an Egyptian who claimed there is “no persecution of Copts”. Anyone here believe that? Even after I proved it to him, and he already knew it, he simply said “they deserve it”. His attitude is not unique. I suggest visiting www.memri.org. See what they write about us in Arabic. They have some explaining to do.

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