IS Pope Francis a jihad denialist? In my column today, Cultural Relativism an Unnecessary Cross to Bear, I argue that the Pope has adopted a position of appeasement in regard to Islamist terror:
The Pope has embraced jihad denialism at the historical moment that jihadists have declared war on Christianity. His recent denial that jihadism is rooted in Islamist theology, his selective criticism of Western secure border policy and his belief that the celebration of European Christianity amounts to colonialism have many Catholics wondering whether he is capable of protecting the church in a time of crisis.
Following the attack [on Father Jacques Hamel], the Pope said the world was at war, but he denied its roots were religious. Instead, he ascribed jihadism to a battle over resources and money. Empirical evidence suggests the Pope is wrong — gravely so.
The murder of Hamel was inspired by Islamism, motivated by hatred of Christians, enacted by jihadists and claimed by Islamic State. In its propaganda mag Dabiq, Islamic State vowed: “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women” … L’Express magazine reported that one of the Rouen jihadists, Adel Kermiche, explained in advance his plan to attack Christians as they prayed: “You take a knife, you go into a church. Bam!” What part of jihadism does the Pope not understand?
Despite a shocking escalation in Islamist terror attacks on the West, many political and religious leaders embrace jihad denialism. I define the term thus:
The constitution of jihadist denialism is: the creation of a false distinction between Islamic scripture and Islamist terrorism; a form of cultural relativism that holds Christians and Jews equally responsible for modern terrorism as jihadists; a sole focus on the militant expression of jihadism while ignoring its political form; and the omission that codified inequality is a political fact of many Islamic states under sharia law. Jihadist denialists often omit the influence of Christianity in the formation of the secular state, the idea of free will and free choice, the abolition of slavery, the recognition of formal equality and universal human rights.
Our security response to terrorism is improving, but we are yet to produce a counterstrategy to Islamists’ assault on Christian people in the Middle East and Western nations. I suggest:
Our response to jihadism should not be appeasement born of denial and fear, but the courage to think free thoughts, speak freely and pray to the god of our belief, or observe no god at all. If the West is to survive the 21st-century war with Islamist terror, we must adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards jihadists and their ideology. That means supporting persecuted Christians by doing what jihadists loathe: rebuilding the churches they destroy, supporting the communities they persecute, giving shelter to Christian refugees, letting the church bells ring out and wearing the cross with honour.
Read more of this column at The Australian http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/cultural-relativism-an-unnecessary-cross-to-bear/news-story/66ef25c5880d493aa21c035bc0f19525
(N.B. Featured image at the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem)