“Islam justifies killing and war in its sacred texts.” So said American Catholic priest Mario Alexis Portella in a striking, but mostly ignored, recent interview. The author of the new book Islam: Religion of Peace? The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up, Portella is also quoted as having said that unless the Koran changes, dialogue with Islam is “useless.”
Originally published November 22 but only covered in the English press more recently, Father Portella’s interview was conducted by Italian newspaper La Verità (The Truth) — and what the clergyman had to say could today get him in trouble with both Muslim and Christian clerics.
Asked by interviewer Marcello Mancini about a statement he made asserting that Western weakness has neutered free speech (i.e., “hate speech” laws), Fr. Portella had a warning. “Islamists have infiltrated government posts and lobbyists, such as the United Nations, and from that strategic position they have been able to convince the heads of state through the soft law, to criminalize any sort of criticism against Islam,” he said. “In this manner they can embed themselves in society even more.”
Note here that there were many warnings about how Islamists had infiltrated the Obama administration, and vile Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour is regularly given platforms in the United States through which to spew propaganda and hate.
Fr. Portella, who has spent time in Iraq, was also asked about how Christians are being persecuted in the Middle East and face extinction there. He said they were disillusioned because “after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the American invasion, the West has left them in [a] political state of anarchy.”
“Christians live in fear because they are harassed by Muslims who now occupy the posts vacated after ISIS,” he added.
Fr. Portella doesn’t seem optimistic that dialogue can solve the problem, either. Asked about Pope Francis’ apparently more Pollyannaish view, the clergyman said that deceit was the issue: Muslim representatives say one thing to the pope’s and other Westerners’ faces, but another to Muslim audiences in their own nations.
Relevant here is that Islam upholds a type of officially sanctioned dissimulation known as taqiyya, which, TheReligionofPeace explains, can involve “gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them.”
As to the truth, Fr. Portella said that one only “has to look at the original Islamic texts” to understand Muslim violence. Yet the West is so politically correct, he complains, that those texts “are ignored by scholars and activists who maintain that they are being misinterpreted by those … [whose aim is] terrorism and the Islamization of the world.”
This head-in-sand assertion, Portella says, “is simply not true.”
Yet the texts do tell the tale. Note, too, that they include not just the Koran — actually only 16 percent of the Islamic canon — but also the Hadiths and Sira (all three together known as the Islamic Trilogy).
This is noteworthy because while nine percent of the Koran preaches jihad and political violence, 21 percent of the Hadiths does, and a whopping 67 percent of the Sira is devoted to it, according to Bill Warner, director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam. Thus did Turkish journalist Uzay Bulut write in 2015 that “violence and domination” are “deeply rooted ... and sanctioned with promises of rewards” in Islam, and, consequently, “fundamentalists will always find people to excite and people to persecute.”
(Just one example of a violent injunction is in the Koran, Sura 8:12, which states, “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”)
It’s also noteworthy, in this age of relativism and its cousin religious-equivalence doctrine, to contrast this with the Bible. Warner tells us that 5.6 percent of the Old Testament and zero percent of the New Testament are devoted to political violence. In terms of word count, this works out to zero in the latter and 34,039 in the Hebrew Bible. What of the Islamic Trilogy?
It comes in at 327,547 — 9.6 times greater than the Old Testament.
Yet there’s still more to consider. Warner also points out that while the “political violence of the Bible was for that particular historical time and place,” the “political violence of the Koran is eternal and universal.… The violence remains a constant threat to all non-Islamic cultures, now and into the future.”
Given this, the findings of a comprehensive German study of 45,000 immigrant youths, reported in 2010, are unsurprising. To wit: While increasing religiosity among the Christian youths made them less violent, increasing religiosity among the Muslim youths actually made them more violent.
Thus, Fr. Portella says that a certain condition is required for peaceful coexistence and “reciprocal dialogue.” It “is necessary for the imams who sustain the words in the Quran in a fundamentalist manner to revise their book,” he states. “Above all, they must correct the hadiths (the sayings and acts of the Prophet) which justify violence.”
While such action appears unlikely, in thus prescribing Portella is touching on the real issue. In critiquing Islam (or anything else), people generally focus on the teachings. But let’s analogize this with a question: What’s more significant, what a parent says — or the example he sets?
Actions speak louder than words, as is said; virtues (and vices) are caught more than they’re taught. Or as a very wise man I know put it recently, “People don’t follow ideas.”
“People follow people.”
Now consider that Christians may use as a guide for behavior, “What would Jesus do?” (WWJD); likewise, Muslims view Mohammed as a role model, considering him “the Perfect Man.” But there’s a profound difference.
Jesus is known as the Prince of Peace; in fact, His role-model status is so unassailable that instead of impugning Him, anti-Christian forces instead generally co-opt Him for their own purposes (e.g., claiming He was a “liberal”).
Yet what of Mohammed? He was a warlord who launched close to 30 military campaigns, many of which he led himself. He was a caravan raider (a bandit) and captured, traded in, and owned slaves. He ordered massacres, used torture, and had dissidents assassinated. He was a polygamist and made it lawful for masters to have sexual relations with female captives. Mohammed also wasn’t very fond of dogs, an attitude begetting their mistreatment in the Islamic world (warning: disturbing links).
One could quip here, if the dog is man’s best friend and Mohammed hated dogs, was he really part of the family of man? In fairness, though, as with Attila the Hun or Genghis Khan, Mohammed was largely a man of his time and place. Thus could we let him rest in peace and put his memory to bed — except for one thing: More than a billion people worldwide won’t. This brings us to the real point.
If someone said Attila the Hun or Genghis Khan was “the Perfect Man” and used him as his role model, would you turn your back on that person?
So maybe, just perhaps, the Koran can be rehabilitated. But can Mohammed?
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