Bridge Building to Nowhere: The Catholic Church’s Case Study in Interfaith Delusion, by Stephen Coughlin, Center for Security Policy, Civilization Jihad Reader Series, Vol. 6, 2015. (Click here or here for entire monograph.)
“Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” —Paragraph 253, Evangelii Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis to the Bishops, Clergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World, November 24, 2013.
“In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear” —from “London,” by William Blake, 1738
In this monograph from Center for Security Policy, CSP senior fellow Stephen Coughlin — author, attorney, decorated intelligence officer, and specialist on Islamic law — exposes how the interfaith movement has enlisted the Roman Catholic hierarchy into the service of the dangerous deception that “Islam is a religion of peace.”
“In a gesture designed to highlight his commitment to inter-faith dialogue, Pope Francis conducted a silent prayer alongside a senior Islamic cleric in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque on Saturday. Facing Mecca, Francis bowed his head in prayer for several minutes while standing next to Istanbul’s Grand Mufti Rahmi Yaran. November 29, 2014. Photograph: AP” [Source: The Guardian.]
Coughlin’s 96-page booklet was originally an appendix to his magisterial Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad. (Click here for our review of the book.)
The new monograph explains, in the words of Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney—
“…how Jihidist groups like the Muslim brotherhood and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation take calculated advantage of liberal mindsets among Catholics — from the lay faithful through the clerical hierarchy and all the way to the Vatican.”
Coughlin, himself a Roman Catholic, evokes the doleful clanking of what poet William Blake called the “mind-forg’d manacles” within the Catholic interfaith movement today.
“This is not unique to Catholics,” Coughlin assures us, “as this scenario is playing itself out in many Protestant, Evangelical and Jewish communities as well.”
Smelting Blake’s “mind-forg’d manacles”: “’Religion is not the locomotive of conflict,’ said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of the Cordoba Initiative and the man whose efforts to build an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan five ago were thwarted after a bitter controversy over what foes labeled the ‘Ground Zero mosque.’”
As Coughlin explains, the self-imposed, self-censoring rules of engagement of interfaith dialogue cajole non-Islam participants to betray their own religious identities, traditional values, and moral responsibility to protect their own flock from error.
One dialogue pitfall, for example, “only allows discussions of Islam that Muslim partners affirm ‘as accurate.’”
The Roman Catholic partners blindfold themselves when they “pledge ‘to remain committed to being friends when the world would separate us from one another.’” (From Interfaith Dialogue: A Guide for Muslims, International Institute of Islamic Thought
Coughlin describes dawah (Islamic outreach to people of other religions) as a form of “stealth Jihad.”
“Dawah is much more than just the Islamic equivalent to proselytizing, and a competent due-diligence review would reveal this. The duty of dawah is doctrinally associated with the duty of jihad and concerns actions taken in preparation for jihad.”
For Islamist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the ultimate goal of jihad is to impose shariah (including Islamic blasphemy laws, cover-up dress for women, and such traditional punishments as stoning and whipping) everywhere in the world.
Christian & Jewish Religious Leaders
Have a Duty to Learn the Islamist Codes
Coughlin spells out the codes that make it easy for an Islamic scholar to pronounce a message that reassures a listening Catholic bishop, but which, to Muslims with a hard-line Koranic education, rings with a subtext of implacable hostility.
- The hard-line Muslim clerics—with authority derived from Islamic scriptures and enforced by violent, pro-Sharia movements—draw on the Islamic doctrine of abrogation, which gives predominant weight to the later, jihad-praising, passages of the Koran. In their minds, these later passages expunge any earlier verses that prescribe tolerance toward “the People of the Book.” But they do not tell their interfaith partners this.
- For these hard liners, revelations that occur later in time are superior to earlier, so Mohammed superseded the earlier “prophets” Abraham and Jesus Christ. Any Jews or Christians intransigent enough to cling to their traditional faiths after the appearance of the Prophet are condemned.
- The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (God as a unity of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) is abhorrent to the Muslim hard line, which also holds that the concept of a Messiah—the fully human, fully divine son of God—is utterly blasphemous to the basic oneness of Allah.
- “They do blaspheme who say, ‘Allah is Christ the son of Mary.’ But said Christ: ‘O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’ Whoever joins other gods with Allah, – Allah will forbid him the garden and the Fire will be his abode.” (Qur’an 5:72)
- In November 2014, the Grand Mufti of Istanbul pleased Pope Francis by quoting a Koran passage that describes the birth of Jesus, the “son of Maryam.” Yet, says Coughlin, that passage concludes with reporting a first miracle by the holy child—a marvel not found in the Gospel scriptures—“…his express denial, as an infant, of his divinity. ‘He [‘Isa (Jesus)] said: ‘Verily, I am a slave of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.’” (Qur’an 19:30)
- The Koran’s version of Judgement Day acknowledges Christ returning to the world, but only to pronounce damnation on those who believed in him while rejecting Mohammed, the one true Prophet of Allah.
Shepherds Who Cannot Recognize the Wolf
Why do these doctrinal issues—obscure to many Americans—matter?
Stephen Coughlin briefs on “Abrogation & the ‘Milestones’ Process,” at the Center for Security Policy. Watch YouTube of briefing.
In the long term, ignorance of how Christianity is treated in Islamic thought sows basic confusion. Such “dislocation of faith,” is a major goal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Civilization Jihad.”
Even in the immediate term, however, as defense expert Sebastian Gorka explains, “no Islamist organization or movement can launch is efforts without first establishing its ideological legitimacy within the corpus of Islam.”
Gorka acknowledges the new importance of social media and peer-to-peer contact in recruitment of American jihadists, but also declares—
“It is the key failing of U.S. efforts to fight terrorism that we have not understood the importance of ideology, that every act by jihadists must be justified by radical clerics, jurists or scholars. Indeed, one can argue that the ideologues are more important than individual operational leaders. Field commanders, as we have seen again and again, are replaceable, but ideas live on. They are much more difficult to defeat.” [Highlighting Forum’s.]
The Catholic leadership, Coughin laments, has shirked their responsibility of examining and discerning evidence; they have even abandoned basic rules of reason that would enable them to judge the proposition, “Islam is a religion of peace” as a logical impossibility (that is, “A” cannot equal “not-A”). Or, as he puts it more simply—
“Shepherds who cannot recognize the wolf are not good shepherds.”