An Irish bishop has come out against Catholics who “demonize” Muslims, insisting that followers of Islam are no more likely to commit terror attacks than Christians.
“To define a whole category of people, or a whole nation, or a whole religious group as being in some way more prone to terrorism than any other group is irresponsible,” Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin told the Irish Catholic late last week.
The bishop took issue with Catholics who identify as “traditional” and “faith-filled” and yet spread fear and distrust of immigrants or say Muslims pose a threat to Western civilization.
“I’ve found that people who would classify themselves in some cases as traditional Catholics and faith-filled people seem to, in relation to migration and care of asylum-seekers and stuff, they’ll say ‘oh well these Muslims are putting our civilization at risk and they pose a threat to us,’” the bishop said.
Doran went on to say that in his experience, Muslims living in Irish society do so “peacefully and participate fully.”
“We have large numbers of Muslim children in our Catholic schools and they contribute to the ethos in many ways,” he said.
Doran’s opinions on Muslims jibe perfectly with those of Pope Francis, who famously declared in 2017 that “Muslim terrorism does not exist.”
“There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions — and with intolerant generalizations they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia,” the pope said.
That same year, on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States, the pontiff reaffirmed his conviction that all religions work for 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.
At one point, the Islamic State terror group became fed up with the pope’s insistence that Islam is a religion of peace, and that jihadists are not motivated by religious belief but by economic conditions.
“This is a divinely-warranted war between the Muslim nation and the nations of disbelief,” declared an article titled “By the Sword” in a 2016 issue of Dabiq, the propaganda magazine of the Islamic State.
The article attacked Francis for claiming that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran 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.”
The pope “has struggled against reality” in his attempts to portray Islam as a religion of peace, the article said, while urging all Muslims to take up the sword of jihad, the “greatest obligation” of a follower of Allah.
Despite the obviously religious nature of their attacks, the article states, “many people in Crusader countries express shock and even disgust that Islamic State leadership ‘uses religion to justify violence.’”
“Indeed, waging jihad — spreading the rule of Allah by the sword — is an obligation found in the Quran, the word of our Lord,” it said.
“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.’”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome