“Dialogue is almost nonexistent. Islam resists ecumenical dialogue more than any other religion. To ‘proselytize’ in any way in a Moslem country is to go to prison.” ~ Dr. Peter Kreeft, Ph.D. (Comparing Christianity & Islam)
Over the course of the last few months I have grown more weary of Catholic dialogue with the Islamic community. Interreligious dialogue seems to be very one-sided. Pope apologizes for actions of Christians; Muslim clerics accept apology. Pope calls Christians for more tolerance of Muslims in the West, Muslims respond with more intolerance to Christians in the Middle East. Bishops condemn the actions of Christians against Muslims in the past; Muslim clerics either call for acts of violence against Christians or remain silent in the face of maltreatment of Christians. Pope kisses Quran; Muslims burn Bibles. Yet, whenever the likes of myself bring up any legitimate criticism of interfaith dialogue between the Church and the Islamic community, people get angry and assume we are personally attacking the pope or the bishops of the Church even when name-calling is lacking. Where are the Islamic clerics the pope and bishops speak with whenever the likes of Al-Qaeda, ISIS or Boko Haram attack Christians? Where are those same Islamic clerics when it comes to the rights of Christians in Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia or Iran?
In fact, several sources have shown that over 80% of mosques in the U.S. preach “jihad, Islamic supremacism, and hatred and contempt for Jews and Christians” as Robert Spencer, Director of Jihad Watch, pointed out.
Recently Mefaili Hızlı, Mufti of Ankara, boasted that the Hagia Sophia would be more quickly converted back into a mosque due to the Holy Father’s statements on the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocide which the Ottoman Empire carried out against Christians. So, whenever a public figure in the Church like the Pope calls out Muslims, it draws ire from many, yet when such a public figure refrains from anything controversial, a number of Muslims still act aggressively against Christians.
This sounds like when Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos saying, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” Several attacks were made against Christians throughout the world by jihadist Muslims.
The bishops need to be more aware of with whom they dialogue. William Kilpatrick, an expert on this subject and author of Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West, notes the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ main Islamic dialogue partner is the Islamic Society of North America which was caught funding terrorist groups through the Holy Land Foundation.
Such an ignorance can be shown when clerics and laypersons speak about Islam. Pope Francis stated that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence” (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, no. 253). Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, in an interview stated that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is as Islamic as the Irish Republican Army is Catholic, which is not much; such a false dichotomy shows many in the Church do not know what they are up against or with whom they are dialoguing. It ignores the critical comments made by earlier Catholics against Islam not just as a violent, oppressive and imperial ideology but as an heretical or apostate religion; this includes Church Doctors Saint John of Damascus and Thomas Aquinas. Yet those of us who think likewise are labelled “Rad Trads”.
If Catholics want dialogue with Muslims, then we need to make lots of changes, otherwise we must admit said dialogue is a failure. Even in the midst of dialogue the Church must not abandon its evangelical mission; mission work comes before dialogue — dialogue is not an obligation, but evangelization is. The Second Vatican Council upheld this, saying, “This missionary activity derives its reason from the will of God, . . . Therefore, all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church’s preaching, and all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church which is His body” (Ad Gentes, no. 7). It said “those men cannot be saved, who though aware that God, through Jesus Christ founded the Church as something necessary, still do not wish to enter into it, or to persevere in it” and thus “missionary activity today as always retains its power and necessity” (ibid).
Dr. Kreeft’s quote can be read here: http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/religions_islam.htm