Of course: if you criticize it, you must not understand it.
First, the Cardinal’s remarks, from the Sydney Morning Herald, with thanks to JE:
The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, said secular liberal democracy was empty and selfish, and Islam was emerging as an alternative world view that attracted the alienated.
In a speech in which he also attacked his critics for suggesting that conservative Christians were a danger to democracy, Cardinal Pell said communism had shown how the emptiness of the secular approach could be filled with something darker.
“The small but growing conversion of native Westerners within Western societies to Islam carries the suggestion that Islam may provide in the 21st century the attraction which communism provided in the 20th, both for those who are alienated or embittered on the one hand, and for those who seek order or justice on the other.”
Dr Pell told the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty last month that secular democracy could not stop the rise of intolerant religion and in fact worsened it. He said democracy was not a good in itself. Its value depended on the moral vision it served.
“The past century provided examples enough of how the emptiness within secular democracy can be filled with darkness by political substitutes for religion.”
And the Mufti’s response, also from the Herald, with thanks to JE:
A spokesman for the Mufti of Australia Taj Aldin Alhilali, Keysar Trad, said Dr Pell’s comments showed he did not sufficiently understand the teachings of Islam.
Mr Trad said Islam was a religion which strongly believed in God.
He said Islam’s holy book, the Koran, had a strong emphasis on the democratic process, with one passage recommending people consult over all their affairs.
Democracy was practised at every level of the faith, including choosing religious leaders, he said.
“Islam is not the new communism,” he said.
“To draw parallels between Islam and a godless system is most unfortunate.”
It also completely misses Pell’s point. The Cardinal wasn’t saying that Islam, like Communism, was atheistic. He said it filled a void for disaffected Westerners, as Communism once did. Did Trad really miss that point, or did he choose to focus on a straw man because it was easier?
Mr Trad said extremist terror groups branded as Islamic in the media did not act in accordance with Islam.
Great. Mr. Trad, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with texts from the Qur’an and Sunnah that definitively refute radical Muslims’ use of them to justify their violence. I’ll be in the Jihad Watch offices most of the day.