Pope Francis and Helping Muslim Refugees

Pope Francis and Helping Muslim Refugees

One ancient Chinese curse, we are told, is “May you live in interesting times.” The Twenty-First Century, though barely one sixth through, is proving to be one of those interesting times.

Those of us who enjoy the study of history know that the biggest split in the Muslim world happened in 661 A.D., when Islam’s “world Caliphate” split permanently into two camps: Sunni and Shi’a. ISIS is the current warring face of Sunni Islam, and Iran the warring face of Shi’ite Islam. Each considers the other their mortal enemy, and their most unmitigated hatred is not for us in the West but rather for each other. In contrast, the biggest split in the Christian world is not quite as ancient, dating back only to the year 1054 A.D., when Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Christendom split Christianity in half. The two largest churches in each half are led in the twenty-first century by Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis respectively. Just this year, and for the first time in a thousand years, Patriarch and Pope have met together, worshipped together, and now have shown the rest of us how to set aside differences – even long-standing differences – to do good works together in the traditions we all share: to heal the sick, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, and especially to welcome the stranger.

This past week Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew went to the Island of Lesbos, the entry point into Europe of those thousands of Muslim (mostly Syrian) refugees fleeing the religious wars tearing apart their own religion. Unlike the United States, most European countries have taken in thousands of those refugees – and, doubtless, some small number of ISIS or other infiltrators masquerading as refugees. Those countries, they say, are nearing the limit of their capacity to help. Pope Francis’ reaction? He personally brought three families, six adults and six children, to refuge in his own small “country” – Vatican City, population about eight hundred plus, now, these twelve.

Should we in the United States do more to follow the Papal example, or should we bar the door? Some Muslims are threats, we are told, and we can’t tell which ones they are – so we should bar them all. But that would be wrong, as wrong as any other form of racism that condemns the many for the crimes, especially the suspected crimes, of a few. We who believe in the promise of America must insist that we stay true to our core values and follow such examples as that of Pope Francis, rather than following purveyors of fear.

There are many now coming to the fore who sell books and sell politics asserting that Islam in America is not represented by the peaceful and patriotic majority of the three million American Muslims who live here. Instead, they argue unconvincingly, “true Islam” is personified by terrorists – and, therefore, that true Islam is the enemy of America. In that argument, they are actually echoing the religious violence of Iran and especially of ISIS. There is indeed an ongoing worldwide war of beliefs, but it is not primarily between Islam and the West, nor even between Sunni and Shi’ite. It is a war between those few who believe that violence represents “true Islam,” and those millions who repudiate religious violence. Whether Republicans or Democrats, we in America need to make sure in this political year that we don’t succumb to the fear of Islam – Islamophobia. Rather, we must help those fleeing violence, welcome refugees to our country as Pope Paul has to his, and ally ourselves with the vast majority of the Muslim world in defeating ISIS and, in the process, assuring the eventual defeat of religious violence itself.

Robert Scott

3 Responses to "Pope Francis and Helping Muslim Refugees"

  1. Augustus (Gus) Fitch   May 1, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Mr. Scott makes some interesting points and does so without personal demonization. I hope he will allow me some space for discussion. Born approximately in 570AD and died in 632AD, Muhammad, the self appointed Prophet of Allah and who received the word of Allah through the Angle Gabriel had converted most of the Arabian Peninsula to Islam by the time of his death. Mark this point carefully. This conversion was accomplished by one method only and that was through violent conquest.

    There is not enough space to define the division between Sunni and Shia Muslims. The argument has not been resolved and Sunni’s and Shia’s have been butchering each other for 1400 years and continue to do so to this very day. This major split in the Theocracy that is Islam did not stop the Islamic Conquest. From his death until 750 the Islamic empire had conquered all the lands that are now, Israel, Lebanon, the western half of Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Arabia and Spain to the east and Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and the lands of the Caucasus’s to the west. All accomplished with the blood of the non-believers and done in 148 years.

    Mr. Scott uses the word Islamophobia the same way that many play the race card. Mr. Scott is well read enough to know that a phobia is an irrational fear. There is nothing about the fear of Islam that is irrational. What you have seen of Islamic evil has yet to be exposed. The cynic in me believes that ISIS or Al Qaeda has or will have shortly a low yield, but dirty thermonuclear device that they will either detonate in the US, or employ one of the dozens of pathogens that can be built as a weapon of mass destruction. It is not important that you believe my scenario. How, if you do nothing and assume the mythical moral high ground, do you justify a horrifying death of over a million Americans when you have been told for decades that Muhammad is the Prophet of Doom and that none shall rest until all peoples bow down to none but Allah. If one of these unthinkable events were to happen, what is the US to do? Does the US have a plan? Which of you or your elected and corrupt officials will make a decision that does not seek justice or a proportional response, but demands and will force the offending party to cease its attacks against Israel and the US. What power on earth will make the hearts and minds of those of wish us to convert, submit or die to change their ways permanently.

    If you are a European, its too late. You have allowed the decision to be made for you. Your future is Sharia law and Halal food and the end of western civilization. What is real is that the PC environment has made cowards of the EU. In France, UK, Belgium, Germany and Bulgaria, Muslims are a political force that far exceeds its population. Each have locations within their cities that the Police are forbidden to enter for fear for the policeman’s safety. Sharia is practiced openly in these enclaves.

    How would the American populace react to the almost 3 million Muslims who live in America after such an attack? Would you still say the origins of their hate for us is because the young men have no jobs? How many of you could accept the loss of one million Americans and turn the other cheek so that you remained on the moral high ground. How many of you would still think its a good idea to allow thousands of Muslims, unvetted, into this nation? Would your response be the same if the nuke was not detonated in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco or any other major metropolitan city but lit up the Savannah River Site?

    By far, my most terrifying fear is that a single American would articulate and truly believe the following and not see the danger, “…most European countries have taken in thousands of those refugees -and doubtless, some small number of ISIS or other infiltrators masquerading as refugees.”

    Augustus (Gus) Fitch
    Aiken, SC

    • JadedInSanDiego   May 25, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      Mr Fitch, sir- you are spot-on in your assessment of the Muslim migration situation in Europe and you are spot-on in articulating the dangers for Europe that are already there and which also lie ahead.

      My comment on this article I would like to paste here. It seems we are looking through pretty much the same historical lens…

      * * * * *

      So the Pope endorses Muslim migration to Europe. Priceless. Do I hear history repeating itself? Permit me to offer here an abbreviated but factual account of political Islam which is verifiable by scholars and historians worldwide. At the time of the advent of Islam in the 600s, Europe and the entire northern third of the continent of Africa from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean was overwhelmingly Catholic by faith and had remained Catholic after the dissolution of the Roman Empire a few centuries earlier. When Mohammed received his first visions, he was living in Mecca, and his writings from Mecca do indeed reflect a more peaceful and accommodating tone regarding other religions and creeds. However, when Mohammed moved to Medina, he began an approach to Islam which was centered around the idea of “jihad”- the struggle. When Mohammed began jihad, his fairly new-found faith began to rapidly gain converts and it grew exponentially. Within a single century, jihadist Islam had swept across North Africa and it is estimated that close to 40 MILLION AFRICAN CATHOLICS and Animists perished in that first century with the advancement of political Islam. However, Mohammed did not stop there. Historical records tell us that he personally crossed the Mediterranean Sea and engaged in over 200 jihadist attacks in Spain, Italy, and the European nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea long before a single European ever set foot in the Holy Land in the name of the Crusades. Through it all, Jihadist Islam kept up its’ assault on the world. It moved eastward and conquered Turkey and Constantinople and history records that between 80 and 90 million pacifist Buddhists and Hindus perished under the flag of political Islam in what is now modern day Pakistan, India, and areas of China along the silk route. Fast forward another dozen centuries and the death toll amassed under the flag of political Islam worldwide- Europe, Africa, and Asia- is estimated at right around 270 MILLION people. One could take the number of those victims of genocide under both Stalin and Mao, add to it Hitler’s Holocaust and Pol Pot’s “Killing Fields” regime in Cambodia post-Vietnam and, for good measure, throw in every Judeo-Christian war or conflict or otherwise since the inception of Christianity up to and including the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition- and you still WOULD NOT EQUAL the sheer number of human lives lost to the advance of political Islam in the last 14 centuries. .

      And now this Pope- a supposedly educated man who has reduced the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to some social justice handbook complete with guidelines on ecological planet husbandry- is willing to trade foundational facts for empty emotion and admonish millions of his followers to do the same. Santayana said that those who do not learn from their mistakes are condemned to repeat them. Thanks to the mistakes of the progressive left, Europe has another holocaust in its’ future. It will be a holocaust brought on by a religion that has poisoned the planet and graced it with a 1400 year long legacy of murder, misogyny, racism, and rape- and this Pope, this blind and delusional fool, is merely praising and encouraging the foxes to settle in to the henhouse.

      Never forget that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are peaceful and are not radicalized extremists. Never forget also that the overwhelming majority of Germans in Hitler’s Germany were peaceful and not members of the Nazi Party.

      So how’d that work out?

      .

  2. JadedInSanDiego   May 25, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    So the Pope endorses Muslim migration to Europe. Priceless. Do I hear history repeating itself? Permit me to offer here an abbreviated but factual account of political Islam which is verifiable by scholars and historians worldwide. At the time of the advent of Islam in the 600s, Europe and the entire northern third of the continent of Africa from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean was overwhelmingly Catholic by faith and had remained Catholic after the dissolution of the Roman Empire a few centuries earlier. When Mohammed received his first visions, he was living in Mecca, and his writings from Mecca do indeed reflect a more peaceful and accommodating tone regarding other religions and creeds. However, when Mohammed moved to Medina, he began an approach to Islam which was centered around the idea of “jihad”- the struggle. When Mohammed began jihad, his fairly new-found faith began to rapidly gain converts and it grew exponentially. Within a single century, jihadist Islam had swept across North Africa and it is estimated that close to 40 MILLION AFRICAN CATHOLICS and Animists perished in that first century with the advancement of political Islam. However, Mohammed did not stop there. Historical records tell us that he personally crossed the Mediterranean Sea and engaged in over 200 jihadist attacks in Spain, Italy, and the European nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea long before a single European ever set foot in the Holy Land in the name of the Crusades. Through it all, Jihadist Islam kept up its’ assault on the world. It moved eastward and conquered Turkey and Constantinople and history records that between 80 and 90 million pacifist Buddhists and Hindus perished under the flag of political Islam in what is now modern day Pakistan, India, and areas of China along the silk route. Fast forward another dozen centuries and the death toll amassed under the flag of political Islam worldwide- Europe, Africa, and Asia- is estimated at right around 270 MILLION people. One could take the number of those victims of genocide under both Stalin and Mao, add to it Hitler’s Holocaust and Pol Pot’s “Killing Fields” regime in Cambodia post-Vietnam and, for good measure, throw in every Judeo-Christian war or conflict or otherwise since the inception of Christianity up to and including the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition- and you still WOULD NOT EQUAL the sheer number of human lives lost to the advance of political Islam in the last 14 centuries. .

    And now this Pope- a supposedly educated man who has reduced the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to some social justice handbook complete with guidelines on ecological planet husbandry- is willing to trade foundational facts for empty emotion and admonish millions of his followers to do the same. Santayana said that those who do not learn from their mistakes are condemned to repeat them. Thanks to the mistakes of the progressive left, Europe has another holocaust in its’ future. It will be a holocaust brought on by a religion that has poisoned the planet and graced it with a 1400 year long legacy of murder, misogyny, racism, and rape- and this Pope, this blind and delusional fool, is merely praising and encouraging the foxes to settle in to the henhouse.

    Never forget that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are peaceful and are not radicalized extremists. Never forget also that the overwhelming majority of Germans in Hitler’s Germany were peaceful and not members of the Nazi Party.

    So how’d that work out?