In a message released on the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 Islamic terror attacks in the United States, Pope Francis has reaffirmed his conviction that all religions want peace and cannot do otherwise.
In his message for an interreligious meeting being held in Münster and Osnabrück Sept. 10-12, the Pope stated that religions are called to respond to people’s thirst for peace, and “together with all men and women of good will, to pave tirelessly new paths of peace.”
Religions “cannot desire anything other than peace, as they pray and serve, ever ready to help those hurt by life and oppressed by history, ever concerned to combat indifference and to promote paths of communion,” he said.
A year ago, Pope Francis made the same point in a brief address aboard the papal plane en route to Krakow for World Youth Day. At that time, the Pope told journalists traveling with him that the world is at war, but it is “not a religious war.”
“Every religion wants peace,” he said.
The Pope created a media frenzy earlier this year when he asserted that Islamic terrorism does not exist, with some critics suggesting that the Pope was stretching or even denying the truth for the sake of Muslim appeasement.
“Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist,” Francis said in his speech to a world meeting of populist movements.
Though he apparently meant that not all Muslims are terrorists—a fact evident to all—his words also seemed to suggest that no specifically Islamic form of terrorism exists in the world.
The Islamic State terror group took offense at the Pope’s assertion that the war being waged by Islamic terrorists is not religious in nature, assuring the pontiff that their sole motivation is religious and sanctioned by Allah in the Qur’an.
In a 2016 issue of Dabiq, the propaganda magazine of the Islamic State, ISIS criticized Francis for his naïve conviction that Muslims want peace and that acts of Islamic terror are not religiously motivated.
“This is a divinely-warranted war between the Muslim nation and the nations of disbelief,” the authors stated in an article titled “By the Sword.”
The authors attacked Francis for claiming that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Qur’an are opposed to every form of violence,” saying that by doing this, “Francis continues to hide behind a deceptive veil of ‘good will,’ covering his actual intentions of pacifying the Muslim nation.”
Pope Francis “has struggled against reality” in his efforts to portray Islam as a religion of peace, the article insisted, before going on to urge all Muslims to take up the sword of jihad, the “greatest obligation” of a true Muslim.
“The blood of the disbelievers is obligatory to spill by default. The command is clear. Kill the disbelievers, as Allah said, ‘Then kill the polytheists wherever you find them.’”
“The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam,” the article reads.
“Even if you were to pay jizyah [tax for infidels] and live under the authority of Islam in humiliation, we would continue to hate you,” it said.
This past February, the president of the American Pastors Network said that many U.S. citizens are in denial over the true nature of Islam by refusing to acknowledge its inherent ties to violent jihad.
Responding to a recent CBS poll that found that the majority of Democrats believe that Islam is no more violent than Christianity, Sam Rohrer said that many Americans are confused about the Muslim faith and the teachings of the Qur’an. He added that this view represented a “purposeful denial of facts.”
“The view for a long time has been that jihadists, wherever they are, are not at all reflective of Islam, and these are only a small number, who don’t speak for Islam,” Rohrer said in an interview with the Christian Post.
“The unfortunate thing about that is that those involved in jihad are the only ones who are really practicing what the Qur’an says,” he added.
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