Islam’s central problem

I saw this at Jihad Watch and thought…. “Yep.”

On the heals of the Feast of the Holy Rosary (Our Lady of Victory)…

Professor at Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome: Islamic State not un-Islamic, “model is Muhammad himself”

Where is the border between Islam and Islamism? The media says that the two are different as night and day; Islam is a religion of peace, and the Islamists have stolen the name. [Does anyone believe that?] Others believe that Islamism represents the traditional, pure Islam, true to the Koran.

This latter view is advanced, remarkably enough, by a theologian Martin Rhonheimer from a university endorsed by the Pope. He is a professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome and wrote an essay on this particular distinction in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

You do not hear many official Muslim voices condemning Islamic State, says Rhonheimer. And when it finally happens, it is usually only to condemn the bestiality because it harms Islam’s reputation. The Islamic State is no heresy, [that is, straying from core Islam] but “a recurring pattern in the history of violent expansion. The model is Muhammad himself.”

“Islamic State’s legitimation finds its basis in the Koran and Islamic law, the Sharia,” believes the Catholic professor. He states: “You will find no arguments within Muslim theology that can be used to condemn Islamic State’s behavior as un-Islamic.”…

Martin Rhonheimer then goes through the suras in the Quran that prescribe what should happen to the conquered Christians and Jews, and points out that the Islamic State strictly adheres to these regulations. Islam would like to influence the state and society in details, emphasizes Rhonheimer.

“Islam is more than a religion. It is cult with political and social rules and unites religion and and political and social order in one. And it has always been violent,” he says.[…]

Moderate Islam has its advocates, often professors at Western universities.

“But they are confronted with Islam’s central problem: when they return to Islam’s origin, they come across the warlike, expansionist Islam from Medina, the legitimacy of killing for Allah’s honor and a violent Muhammad,” writes Rhonheimer.

Take a look also at the combox under that entry.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Scott W. says:

    When dishonesty is a formal principle in a system, only a fool would take anything said by its adherents at face value.

  2. Sonshine135 says:

    Islam is inherently violent. When Mohammad attempted to peacefully transmit the teachings of Islam, people rejected them. Thus, he waged war, and forced conversion. This is all clearly laid out in the Quran. All Muslims know that they cannot particularly wage jihad when they are a minority as they would be easily crushed, but when they gain sufficient numbers, invasion and conquest is in line with their beliefs. For them, this is no less a fact than the real presence of Christ is for us in the Holy Eucharist is for us. Why this subject is continuously danced around is beyond my comprehension.

  3. MWindsor says:

    I’m seriously confused by something. Maybe someone here can explain.

    The Catechism says that we worship the same God as the Muslims. How is that possible?

    They deny the divinity of Christ. They say that sins are forgiven by kissing the Ka’aba stone. There’s a good deal of historical evidence that Islam was more born of some Mesopotamian moon god. There are loads of other examples of the opposite nature of Islam to Christianity.

    I’ve heard the argument that they see the same God through a darkened glass, but it’s just very hard to imagine that being possible. I honestly don’t see how these are the same in origin, and the darkened glass idea is very hard to buy these days.

  4. aviva meriam says:

    Islam is a very different religion from Christianity…. it is a legal structure that believers are required to follow without hesitation. By becoming Muslim, a follower takes on the nationality and the expected legal code.

    That code is Brutal and the example of Muhammad ‘s violence towards Christians, Jews and women is inescapable. THANKFULLY, another scholar has come forward to publicly state what is obvious within the texts of both the Koran and the additional texts (hadith and tsafir).

    Now if only we can get more scholars to state the obvious and our political leaders to develop the backbones to push back against the armies of the Caliphate.

  5. MWindsor says:

    And by the way, Father, the “Preview” button doesn’t appear to be working.

  6. Pat says:

    This is what I meant to send, the original full text of Father Rhonheimer:

    He was also was mentioned by Magister in another debate here

    And here is his latest book

  7. Dialogos says:

    I am curious to know what the LGBT and anti-colonialist lobbies will do when (not if) they are confronted with what they view as the “not true Islam.” Do they think that marching with rainbow flags and in drag mocking nuns and holding puppets of the president and Columbus and mounting a Twitter campaign will actually stop jihad? I suspect it would not be a re-enactment of Lepanto or the Siege of Malta. (On the latter I highly recommend Ernle Bradford’s “The Great Siege” to illustrate what can be done with God’s help and courage against militant Islam. Spoiler alert: it did not involve air power.) However, I wonder if the LGBT et al crowd might actually ally with the Caliphate: there is something deep in the most vicious libertine’s heart that wants to be mastered. To wit: the French revolution succeeded by the Terror and then Napoleon, and Weimar Germany being seduced by Hitler. And American liberals who once demonized Nixon giving the current administration a pass. Maybe the Nuns on the Bus could motor over to Baghdad…but they would only do that if they knew they were as holy as St. Francis. He survived his meeting with the Muslims because he knew where he stood with God and not that he was an evolved paradigm of stardust or something like that.

  8. Unwilling says:


  9. JustaSinner says:

    Still waiting for the Eighth Crusade. When Pope Francis calls…is there an age limit for service? I am older, but still in combat ready shape.

  10. Legisperitus says:

    Islam does not worship the same God we do. Allah was one of many local Arab tribal gods back in the day. Allah’s followers at some point started calling him “Akbar” (“the Greatest” of the gods), and eventually this developed into the belief that Allah was the only god. Mohammed took this cult of Allah and clumsily linked it to the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, but Allah is definitely not the same as Jehovah in his origins or attributes.

  11. wmeyer says:

    There is also the principle of abrogation applied to the Koran, and as I understand it, the general understanding is that when a later surah conflicts with an earlier, the later takes priority. Later, literally, as in date of utterance by Mohammed. This makes it essential to obtain a Koran which is organized chronologically.

    Then, however, there are those who abrogate abrogation, as a lie created to attach Islam. But that would leave you with the inherent conflicts among surahs. Which does nothing to remove the more violent ones.

  12. John Nolan says:

    I sang yesterday at a Mass in the Dominican Rite celebrated by a young Irish priest who reminded us that Dominicans wear the rosary on their left hip like a sword, since it is indeed a spiritual weapon of great potency. He referred to Lepanto and the current struggle against Islamic State.

    Somehow I can’t see Pope Francis emulating St Pius V in calling for ‘swords about the cross’ but he did seem to approve of air strikes (subject of course to the approval of the United Nations which one is supposed to assume has a higher moral authority than his own).

  13. jacobi says:

    The question has been raised, does Islam worship the same God as Christianity.

    It does not.

    Islam is a heresy. It contains a varied selection of ideas gathered from paganism, Judaism and Christianity, none of them original. For example, it worships a single God entity. Christianity worships a Triune, two very different concepts. That is but one of the wide spread of heretical ideas that were gathered under the name of Islam.

    There is a reference in the Catechism to Islam worshiping the same God, although that reference does use the term “professing” and refers to them worshiping the God of Abraham. This simply extends the heresy since Judaism also, heretically, recognises in single God entity. The Reference is Lumen Gentium 16.

    LG, 16 or otherwise, is in no way an infallible document, however much respect it should be given. Like so many other documents of Vat II it contains unclear statements. Ambiguity, lack of clarity and even contradiction occur widely in many Vat II documents which is the reason Bishop Schneider has called for a Syllabus of Erroneous Interpretations of the documents of Vatican II.

  14. wmeyer says:

    Islam is a heresy.

    I agree. Belloc made the case very well, and I have seen no credible refutation.

  15. acricketchirps says:

    Islam is a heresy; this is so. Yet jacobi’s explanation does not support his conclusion (viz “It does not [worship the same God as Christianity]“). Just saying “heretic” doesn’t settle the question.

    I regard the matter as a pointless exercise in (semitic) semantics. Since there EXISTS only One God, it’s just a manner of speaking whether Mahometans believe in that God (same as we do) but get most of the facts about Him wrong, or believe in a false god that doesn’t exist.

    I know Joe Blogs at 123 Exwhyzee St. is a great guy. He has a good job and a lovely wife and family–see em well dressed and well behaved at Mass every week. My friend Jim happens to know Joe Bloggs at 123 Exwhyzee is a cheating cad who beats his kids.
    We don’t believe in the same Joe Bloggs, yet he’s the only one there is.

  16. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    Not to mention the news that 4 isis terrorists have been captured at the southern border…

    My predictions:

    Before 2020 (In just a little bit more than 5 years.) we will see a Beslan style attack on an American school.

    On, around, or even before 2035 (A newborn in the maternity ward today will either be in high school, or be about to graduate college by then.) we will see the caliphate currently in its infancy today in northern Iraq/Syria become fully stabilized, and offer the west a real fight, and we will be kicking ourselves for not striking hard now.

    On or before 2099, three generations from today, either: mecca and medina will be nuked because the west will find itself in a fight to the death with islam.

    Or, to end this prediction on a happy note, Christendom loses Europe, but just like we lost Constantinople but within 100 years we gained North and South America, we gain the entire solar system and beyond.

    No, I am not joking.

    Yes, we might lose Europe to Islam, but we gain the Moon, Mars, Asteroid belt, and the entire cosmos if things keep going the way they are. I am hopeful.

  17. TomD says:

    @MWindsor: “The Catechism says that we worship the same God as the Muslims. How is that possible?”

    The Catechism says this: “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” (CCC 841, from Lumen Gentium 16)

    The view of the relationship of Islam to Christianity, and Judaism, may be related to Ishmael, as the son of Abraham and Hagar (Gen 16 ff). Although the origins of Islam are biblical in the sense that they are traced back to Ishmael, the teachings and content of Islam are ultimately incompatible and in conflict with Christianity and Judaism.

    I, too, find it quite confusing that the Catechism says that the Muslims “profess to hold the faith of Abraham.” In a foundational sense that may be true, but the content of that faith, and its relationship to Judaism and Christianity, seems to be directly oppositional, not complementary. It may be more accurate to say that Judaism, Christianity and Islam can trace their origins from the Bible, but that Islam is, and was ordained to be, a schism or heresy from the Judeo-Christian faith. In a crude sense, we “worship” the same God, but in a very oppositional way.

    This is a quite politically incorrect view in this day and age.

  18. Dick Verbo says:

    The problem is also that “moderate” Muslims believe that it is good when extremists follow the words of Mohammad literally, even though they do not have the nerve to behead us themselves: even as I believe it is good when monks and nuns give all their goods to the poor and follow the words of Christ literally, even though I don’t have the nerve to do it myself.

    I hope it will be enough if I give alms generously.
    The moderate Muslims hope it will be enough to support jihad financially.

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I’ve heard the argument that they see the same God through a darkened glass, but it’s just very hard to imagine that being possible.”

    I’ve thought about this, a lot. The problem comes about because the word, “God,” is used equivocally in the statement, “Moslems worships the one, true God.”

    The most famous passage is from the Vatican II document, Nostra Aetate, no. 3:

    [“3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

    Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.”]

    We know, by Faith, that God is one Divine nature, but a Trinity of Persons. That fact has not been revealed to other religions. If one sees the correct aspects of the Divine nature of God, without reference to the personhood – something which can be known by reason, unaided by revelation, as St. Paul points out in Romans [Rom 1: 18 – 20], then one has, essentially, the correct God, but nothing of the details. St. Thomas Aquinas calls the ability to know that God exists a Pre-amble of the Faith, since it is, in principle, knowable by anyone, without the revelation of Faith.

    What attributes are contained in the Divine nature that can be known and identify the One, True, God? There are several lists that can easily be formulated by common sense: God must be all-powerful, all-knowing, etc. I will leave it to the systematic theologians in the crowd to go further. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) says this:

    [“Taking as the basis of classification the ways by which the attributes are developed, they are divided into positive and negative. Among the negative attributes are simplicity, infinity, immutability. The chief positive attributes are unity, truth, goodness, beauty, omnipotence omnipresence, intellect and will, personality. Some authors divide them into incommunicable and communicable. The former class comprises those which belong to God alone (e.g., all-wise, self-existent, omnipotent) to the latter belong those which are predicable, analogically, of God and creatures as good, just, intelligent. Again, the divine nature considered either as static or as the source activity; hence another division into quiescent and active. Finally, some perfections involve a relation to things distinct from God, while others do not; and from this standpoint theologians divide the attributes into absolute and relative.”]

    Taking just the simple list:


    One finds that these attributes, also, apparently, define the God of the Moslems, more or less. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI pointed out at Regensburg, Moslems stress the Will, the Divine Perogative of God, more than His rationality, but, nevertheless, they do not deny that God has an Intellect.

    Thus, one must conclude that, like the Jews, the Moslems have the right God, but having the right God and understanding that God, rightly, are two different things.

    Obviously, they do not have the light of Christian Faith and they are heretical in their understanding of who Christ is. So are the Jews. Their understanding of God’s relationship to man is not the equivalent of either the Jews or the Christians because they do not acknowledge Original Sin and, perhaps, this is where the notion that they don’t worship the One, True, God comes from. They do not acknowledge the need for a savior. This implies a radically different notion of sin from either the Jews or the Christians. In turn, this implies a radical impersonality in the relationship between God and man. The Jews long for a Messiah, but will not acknowledge Christ to be He. Christians do. Moslems do not acknowledge Christ as the Messiah, because they do not need one.

    To make a long story, short, they have the right God in His Divinity, but have completely missed knowing anything about Him, personally. Their God would never become man.

    So, yes, they worship the One, True, God in the sense of having the right target, but they have no idea of what the target actually looks like, close up. They worship God, but from afar.

    The Chicken

  20. Imrahil says:

    Thanks to dear acricketchirps, who just said in a beautifully concise comment what I intended to say. And to the dear Chicken who gave an elaborate statement.

    Indeed, it is a pity that among some Christians, “Islam worships a different God from ours” has become a battlecry among those not appeasing to Islam – a pity because wrong (or at least certainly not as certainly right as some think it is; inded very probably wrong).

    And of course, Calvinism is rather different in its beliefs about God as well (Chesterton would go so far to say that it ascribes to God what is commonly ascribed to the Devil, i. e. temptation of souls). Yet Calvinists worship the same God as we do.

    Islam wages war on Christianity? Yes, but so did Protestantism wage war on Catholic Christianity, back in the days. The degree of “beingwrongness” may be different, but this does not prove that statement.

    And, dear MWindsor – noone said “the same in origin”. What is being said is “the same in attempted direction”, and that – allowing for a big, big sack of errors – is not as easily to refute.

  21. Imrahil says:

    Fr Rhonheimer is by the way not correct in thinking that “Islam is more than a religion. It is cult with political and social rules and unites religion and and political and social order in one.”

    No; it is a religion, plain and simply; and then we may proceed to ask “what sort of religion”. It obviously does imply political and social rules. We can than ask whether Islam’s claims are valid (they aren’t – it’s a false religion), or whether we particularly like the society Islam attempts to set up (we don’t), or whether we see any danger in contemporary Islam for those who, like us, are of different opinions (we do).

    But saying it is “more than a religion” because it enlarges on the political sphere presupposes that religion has no place on the political sphere, which is not a given; which, by coincidence, is actually wrong.

    It is perhaps interesting to know in that perspective that Fr Rhonheimer in an – in my view – overinterpretation of Dignitatis humanae thinks the Catholic Church does no longer favor the idea of the Catholic State in the sense of Immortale Dei and Quas primas and other encyclicals.
    (While I think that Dignitatis humanae only says what it says: non-Catholics have to be tolerated in a Catholic state; and anything but a clear abrogation does not abrogate an old encyclical, fallible though it be.)

  22. JonPatrick says:

    One thing that has always puzzled me is how sanguine the secular humanists appear to be about the prospect of an Islamic takeover, even supporting the idea of Sharia law in Muslim majority communities, given how opposite their beliefs are to what Muslims profess. The only theories that I can think of are (1) My enemy’s enemy is my friend and they have hatred of Christianity in common (2) Both are materialistic in outlook and (3) both reject reason in their approach to belief.

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