Islamic State corrects Pope Francis: Yes, this is a religious war.

To paraphrase Trotsky, you might not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

At Christianity Today there is a sobering piece every leader in the Church should read.  My emphases.

Islamic State attacks Pope, says its war against Christians is most definitely a ‘religious’ war

Islamic State has denounced Pope Francis for stating that the war being waged on the West by Islamic State terrorists is not a “religious war”.

The terror group, also known as Daesh, says the acts of terrorism it carries out are most certainly religiously motivated and even bear the blessing of Allah as testified in the Koran.

It says Pope Francis and others who argue that Islam is a peaceful religion are delivering a “false narrative“.

The chilling religious propaganda behind IS [Islamic State] is spelled out in the latest issue of Dabiq, reproduced in a “safe” format by the Clarion counter-extremism project,

IS warns there will be no let up in the terror. It condemns Christianity as a “religion of polytheism”.

It contains a feature of the same name, and another headlined: “Why we hate you and why we fight you.”

It says the recent Orlando shooting was “most definitely” an act of terror: “Muslims have been commanded to terrorise the disbelieving enemies of Allah.”  [More on this issue of “terror” at the end of this post.]


[…]The magazine comes just days after Pope Francis insisted the war on terror being waged across the world is not a religious war. Speaking to journalists on the plane to Poland for World Youth Day, after a Catholic priest in France had his throat slit by two IS followers, he said the world is at war but it is not a religious war.

“It’s war, we don’t have to be afraid to say this,” he said. But it was a war of interests, for money, resources. “I am not speaking of a war of religions. Religions don’t want war. The others want war.”

IS says in its magazine that it is in fact a war of religion.

“This is a divinely-warranted war between the Muslim nation and the nations of disbelief,” the magazine states. “Indeed, waging jihad – spreading the rule of Allah by the sword – is an obligation found in the Koran, the word of our Lord, just as it was an obligation sent in the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel.”

The magazine adds: “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.



Among those who have also reported on the IS magazine is Breitbart, which reports other disturbing statements, such as: “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.’

I recommend that you read Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War bySebastian Gorka. (UK HERE)

In this book, Gorka describes one of the reasons why these people choose to inflict terror.

According to the Pakistani general, there is only one target of importance in war: the soul of the enemy. The infidel foe must be converted to Islam or crushed. Lastly, since the only target that matters in war is the soul of the infidel, Malik concludes that the most effective weapon in war is terror. Here we see the relevance of his book to groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS. The enemy’s belief system must be utterly destroyed, and terror is the most effective way to do that. That is why 9/ 11 was so important. It is the highly symbolic suicide attacks, the crucifixions, the beheadings, the bombings of civilian crowds, and the videos of immolations that will destroy the will of the infidel to go on.

According to the Quranic concept of war, and because these terrorists are inspired to bring about the eschatological fulfillment of their religion, they wage war on the souls of the non-Muslim and, in their view, the insufficiently-Muslim.  Their war has an eschatological view.  They must destroy the spirit of their enemy.  This is why they use terror and why they commit atrocities which they record and broadcast.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Norah says:

    Go to You Tube and enter into the search bar “Sweden is dead” and you will see the horrific consequences of allowing into a country of only 10 million people tens of thousands of people claiming to be refugees but who are in fact migrants seeking out the countries with the most generous welfare. These people have overwhelmed the Swedish population and some areas e.g. Malmo are no go areas even for the police. I wish I could obtain a transcript of the calm, irenic telling of the disaster which has overtaken Sweden. This is a wake up call for all countries which have generous welfare and whose government won’t speak of the words Muslim and terrorist together.

  2. Del Sydebothom says:

    I wonder if one might look at it this way: the degree to which something is not Christianity, is the degree to which it is not religion. The religious impulse as such invariably seeks peace–peace with God, no less–even though it can be perversely manifest. Think how hunger invariably seeks nutrition, even though it can be perversely manifested. Someone mentally ill may eat shards of glass, but we should be reluctant to say he is “eating a meal”. Someone may seek the final peace through violence, but in doing so, he seems more to decline from the obligation to exercise religion than to fulfill it.

    Therefore, we could say that Islam is a religion of peace to the degree, and only to the degree, that it is religion.

  3. KAS says:

    History shows what Islam is.

    I note that fear is the tool of the devil– see scripture on this point. The behavior of these people shows clearly who they serve.

    So, we need more Masses, more Rosaries, more daily prayers for the conversion of all Muslims to the Christian faith. If any Muslim wants true peace, vs the peace of Islam which is the peace that occurs when Christians are converted to Islam or enslaved and silenced, then they seek Christ and do not know it. We should be offering lots of Masses for their conversion– and if our Priests refuse to make it official, we must go to Mass and OFFER IT OURSELVES in our hearts up to God for the conversion of sinners and especially of Muslims. The best way to fight Satan is to save the souls of those being used by him.

  4. Elizabeth D says:

    Pope Francis annoyed them by refusing to dignify their murderous ideology as “religious.” Their intended strategy is to cultivate hatred of Islam and conflict in order to alienate moderate muslims from modern cultures and coerce them to embrace the idea of a sunni islamic sharia law state. Pope Francis and others are opposing the isis strategy by patiently trying to ally everyone including the Christians and the majority of muslims against the isis death cult stigmatized as not being authentically religious or authentically muslim.

    Objectively, the isis death cult is very very far from practicing the virtue of religion. [It seems to me that the concept of “the virtue of religion” doesn’t apply well to Islam, particularly because of the difference in the Islamic view of their deity. The Christian understanding seems to be something entirely different than what an observer of Islam would… practice.]

  5. Gilbert Fritz says:

    Elizabeth D,

    I think you have a good point. People often want our politicians to frame the current war as a war against Islam. But is this a good idea? I’d have to say not.

    Also, I still think that without our bombing and without the general unrest in the Middle East, the terrorists would have a much harder time recruiting.

    Also, technically, we Catholics are one of very few religions left in the world; religion requires a formal sacrifice. Most groups commonly called religions don’t have this.

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    I’m not sure avoiding the obvious to calm the “moderates” is a great plan.

  7. Gilbert Fritz says:


    I’m unsure on this myself. However, the enemy desperately wants to frame it one way. If our enemies want it, maybe we should think twice about providing it.

    I’m guessing that if a USA president stood up and said ” we are fighting a global war on Islam” the ISIS chiefs would be jumping up and down cheering in their bunkers.

    Of course, I think that the “moderate” muslims have got their religion wrong. However, by doing so they’ve got life right. And I think that is a mistake I’m OK with.

  8. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I wonder which (learned) Muslim/Islamic critics of the self-described ‘Islamic State’ reject which self-proclaimed undertakings of ‘jihad’ in the first 800 to 1000 or so years of Islamic history, and why, exactly?

  9. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Fr. Raymond de Souza’s reflective 2 August post in The Catholic Herald, “Pope Francis was wrong to equate Islamist terror with ‘Catholic violence’ ” (which I had not seen till now), raises the question of how one can talk properly about martyrs and odium fidei if one seems to discount the possibility of what might be termed ‘ religiously-motivated odium fidei’ – and, complicating things further, also to seem implicitly to relate it to ‘religious fundamentalism’ (not further defined!).

  10. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Would it be impudent to suggest there might be room for a playful, ironic new delicacy to be concocted, ‘Papal pretzels’ (with mysterious, surprising combinations or transitions of flavor – like various Bertie Bott’s at once)?

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    Venerator: Your interesting question raises two points: the meaning of the word “jihad” and how the concept is practiced. This reply is more of an outline as I’m away from my books.

    -You might want to look at how the word jihad is used in the Koran- it varies in context from inner struggle to conquering war. And the root j-h-d itself varies, with “jahid” and “jahidhum” (do jihad against them).

    -For some context see Sura 8 alAnfal “The Spoils of War”, sometimes translated benignly as “Bounties.”

    -In addition to the Koran, see the Hadith (Bukhari’s is generally used), and a modern biography of Muhammad relying on the bios from a century or so after his death. These three works, which Jihad theory and fatwas on jihad rely upon, are sometimes referred to as the “Islamic Trilogy.”

    -Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Tamiyya on jihad.

    -Modern theorists on jihad such as Azzam and alSuri.

    -This last one is jarring and most unfortunate. ISIS jihadis are permitted by the Islamic Trilogy to rape Yazidi girls and others. This is known as “ibadah” or a ritual to Allah. See, for example, the Islamic Trilogy on Muhammed and his six year-old “wife” Aisha.

    Let’s wrap this up with an anecdote about how the word “jihad” can be presented to the West as strictly benign, even beneficial. In San Francisco in 2013 ads appeared on city buses for the website and hashtag “MyJihad.” Ad slogans were (I’m paraphrasing): “My Jihad is not to judge people. What’s yours?” and “My Jihad is to stay healthy despite a busy life. What’s yours?”

    Well now.

    As it turns out, the ads were placed by CAIR, a front organization for the Muslim Brotherhood. When the MB’s front groups publicize “jihad” as merely an “inner struggle”, it enables Islam and Sharia to gradually advance under a more benign banner.

  12. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Semper Gumby,

    Thank you!

    It would be handy to have a Koran with the Arabic transliterated… (but I’ve read there are competing popular transliterations: I should just buckle down and at least learn the Arabic letters, and how they are combined in writing and printing!).

    Do you happen to know or favor any safe-to-visit online translation of Bukhari?

    I’d once read somewhere about the range of proponents of jihad, noting Al-Ghazali as an example, and I was interested to see Dr. Denis MacEoin saying, “Even the mystical Sufi brotherhoods have engaged in that extremely physical struggle” (with a footnote full of details), in his recent post, “The Pope and Holy War”. With respect to your last paragraphs, he also said something I do not remember having seen before: “Please do not be misled by the oft-repeated obfuscation, ‘The greater jihad is a struggle with the self, a spiritual war’. There is no mention of this idea in the classical texts.” (In a footnote, he adds, from another scholar, “Traditions indicating that jihad meant spiritual warfare… are entirely absent from any of the official, canonical collections (with the exception of al-Tirmidhi, who cites ‘the fighter is one who fights his passions’; they appear most often in the collections of ascetric material or proverbs.”)

  13. JesusFreak84 says:

    So when are we going to take ISIS at their word and stop looking for deeper motivations? Now seems like a good time.


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