One of my readers takes issue with the subject of yesterday’s post (Muslims and the Virgin Mary, January 19, 2005), alleging that I may have succumed to sentimentality in recognizing the Islamic appreciation for Mary:
Trust me, Ccaroline, I have no illusions about the dangers of militant Islam, or the threat it poses to the West. Neither, for that matter, does Fr. Cizik, who — if you read his essay “Our Lady and Islam” — writes his article fully conscious of the decades of historial conflict between Islam and Christianity, and actually points to the instrumental power of the rosary (at the behest of St. Pope Pius V) in driving back the Islamic hordes at the battle of Lepanto.
But here is my motivation for posting, in case you were wondering:
As you probably know by now, this week also witnessed the brutal murder of an Egyptian Christian family at the hands of Muslims in what, by initial appearances and reports, was a religiously-motivated crime of hatred — not in the Middle East but on our home soil, in a New Jersey neighborhood.
There’s been much discussion of this story by Christian bloggers — on Open Book. Many took this as justification for their wholesale indictment of Islam as a religion, to portray all Muslims as inherently suspect. Catholic blogger El Camino Real took the incident as an occasion to call for religious discrimination against Islam in general:
As one commentator observed, “Being a lifelong Protestant who grew up in the Bible belt I thought it was ironic to see people on a Catholic website discussing Islam in the same terms I have heard Catholicism discussed.”
As I had written in a previous post:
Of course I am not the only member of St. Blog’s Parish to be disturbed by this inclination to engage in a wholesale condemnation of the Islamic faith. In July of 2004, Fr. Tucker (Dappled Things) took issue with
The present conflict with militant Islamic fundamentalism should not, in my opinion, preclude Christians from recognizing areas of mutual agreement and grounds for cooperation with fellow Muslims. If in asserting such I am guilty of sentimentality, so is Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger, Cardinal Arinze, and many others — and I would be honored to be among such company.
With regards to yesterday’s post, I have no reason to impute devious “trojan horse” intentions in Mustafa Aykol’s disgust with two French Catholic writers for abandoning their belief in the Virgin Mother. Rather, I take it as grounds for what I would hope to be a positive conversation — something to consider precisely at this time when the predominant inclination is to invoke a general condemnation of Islam.
Recent arrivals to my blog can read my earlier posts on Islam here:
- Kreeft’s “Ecumenical Jihad” and Two Perspectives of Islam Nov. 1, 2003.
- Catholics & Muslims – Mutual Concerns over Liberalism Nov. 2, 2003.
- Differing Interpretations of Jihad Nov. 4, 2003.
- Prince Karim Agha Khan and “The Other Islam” Nov. 8, 2003.
- The Muslim & The Passion May 1, 2004.
- Stratford Caldecott on the “Providential Role of Mohammad” Sept. 26, 2004.
And for those who are interested, a compilation of articles and essays (critical as well as appreciative) on Muslim-Christian Relations.