“And we will conquer Rome.” ~ Anonymous ISIS Mujahid
Rome, the Eternal City and heart of Western Christendom, has been attacked before by Muslims. In 846 A.D., Arab Muslims raided Rome, sacking the outskirts, plundering many Christian shrines such as the Old Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls.
It should not be surprising to those who know of the Islamic nature of jihad that the goal of the Islamic state is to conquer the entire world so that all religion may be made for Allah (rf. Quran 8:39). Muhammad started this by subjugating almost the entire Arabian Peninsula under Islamic rule, even saying according to Islamic tradition, “I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim” (Sahih Muslim 19:4366). Only a century later, Byzantine Christian lands in the Middle East and North Africa had been conquered in the name of Allah. Two centuries after Muhammad’s death, Arab Muslims sacked Rome.
Old Saint Peter’s Basilica
Rome has spiritual significance even in Islam; not only was it once the capital of the Roman Empire, but it is one of the Apostolic Sees, the one where the pope resides as the Vicar of Christ and pastor of the Universal Church. To conquer Rome is to conquer Christendom, which Islam views as a perversion of Allah’s teaching: e.g. permitting the worship of idols, making partners with Allah (such as teaching Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son, or the “worship” of Mary). According to Islamic eschatology Jesus Christ will fight alongside the Muslims against the Antichrist and the Romans; in doing so He shall “break the cross, kill the swine, and abolish jizyah” (cf. Sunan Abu Dawud 37:4310). An entire surah — a Quranic chapter — is devoted to speaking of the Roman Empire, some would say specifically the Byzantine Empire. Either way it is interpreted, Islamic theology sees it as defeated as the Roman Empire in the West was defeated in the 5th century and the Byzantine Empire was defeated by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century when Constantinople or New Rome, one of the ancient Apostolic Sees, was conquered. But the conquest wasn’t supposed to end there. Islamic preacher and Hamas member Yunis al-Astal stated, “Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our Prophet Muhammad” .
Several attempts were made to conquer Old Rome and that goal has survived to this day. Groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS seek to conquer Rome in Allah’s name. One of ISIS’ magazine editions depicted the obelisk in Saint Peter’s Square with the ISIS flag on it, symbolizing Islam’s conquest of Rome. An unnamed ISIS mujahid stated in the video of the 21 Copts beheaded that they shall conquer Rome; this video was taken on the coast of Libya, not too far from Italy, in fact only a boat ride away. Realistically speaking they are all talk as they don’t have the strength or numbers to take over Europe, but even so they still can do damage and either way it has roots in Islamic theology. Take note for example of the sacking of Rome in 846 A.D.; the goal of the Muslims was to conquer Rome but they were pushed back at the Aurelian Wall. The sacking of Rome itself has justification in Islamic theology as Muhammad led raids on caravans.
ISIS will come and go just like every other enemy of the Church
The term used is razzia, an Italianization of the Arabic term ghazwa which refers to Islamic sanctioned piracy, raids on non-Islamic towns and forts. Muhammad himself according to scholars participated in 27 ghazwas in his entire life. The most notable one of these ghazwas was the raid on camels on the way to Medina; the caravan of camels consisted of Banu Quraysh members. Muhammad reportedly told his men, “This is the Quraish caravan containing their property”, so they should “attack it, perhaps Allah will give it as a prey” (cf. Ibn Ishaq 428). A whole Quranic chapter is devoted to the spoils of war, explaining how the booty should be distributed among Muslims such as “a fifth share is assigned to Allah,- and to the Messenger, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer” (8:41).
Jesus Christ gave Saint Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven
Our Lord Jesus Christ promised, “I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Saint Peter confessed Jesus to be “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (cf. Matthew 16:16); so the Church is built upon Peter and his confession of Jesus to be the Christ and “Son of the living God” in spite of what Islam teaches (rf. Quran 112:3). Because of Peter’s confession of Jesus as Son of God, Christ made him the rock of the Church and against this Church the gates of Hell shall never prevail. All the Church’s enemies have tried to destroy her but to no avail. Our Lord shall be with us the Church even to the end of days (rf. Matthew 28:20). We pray to Our Lady, Destroyer of Heresies, for protection from our enemies. She is depicted standing on the crescent moon, a symbol of Islam. She shall victor over Islam because she has given birth to Our Savior who has built His Church upon Saint Peter and his confession of Jesus as Son of God not Muhammad and his confession of Jesus as not divine.