I was away most of this week, giving a two-day seminar on Islam and jihad to a private group, and while I was out of pocket Marisol Seibold did her usual superb job on this site. Many thanks once again, Marisol.
During some down time on the second day of the seminar, France24 TV contacted me and invited me to participate in an hour-long debate on the Andrea Sanke show. The other two participants were French analysts who were discounting the idea that there is any clash between Islam and the non-Muslim world.
If I can locate video of this I’ll post it here, but one exchange was particularly noteworthy: I was explaining that jihadists use core texts and teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah to recruit terrorists and justify violence, and that peaceful Muslims had to confront that fact and find some ways to counter it if it was ever going to stop. In response, one of the French interlocutors began speaking about Christian fundamentalists, violent texts in the Bible, and the Crusades.
Sanke didn’t let me respond to this immediately, but I returned to it later, pointing out that even if Christianity were evil and capable of being used to incite violence in a way identical to the way Islam is being used today, that doesn’t address the problem of jihad recruitment or offer any way to solve it. It is just a red herring, an exercise in denial, as if the fact that the Crusades happened excuses the worldwide Islamic jihad that threatens non-Muslims today.
This reflexive moral equivalence, which I’ve encountered on many, many other occasions as well, is why I wrote my forthcoming book, Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t, which will be out August 13 from Regnery Publishing. People point to the sins, real and imagined, of Christianity, and to the alleged attempt by Christian fundamentalists to subvert the U.S. Constitution, almost every time anyone speaks about the reality of the Islamic jihad threat. That’s why these notions have to be confronted, and why it was worth a book: the anti-Christianity hysteria is the single largest factor keeping people from thinking clearly about and acting upon the civilizational challenge that the Islamic jihadists present.
One other note about the new book: I got an email recently from someone taking issue with the title, saying that Judaism is a religion of peace also. Indeed it is, as are Hinduism and Buddhism, etc. I do not say that Christianity is the only religion of peace, and in fact in the book I call for (as I have called for many times) an alliance between all those whom the Islamic jihad threatens, be they believers in whatever creed or unbelievers. I am merely trying in the new book to clear away some of the principal myths, a large number of which center around Christianity, that cloud awareness of the jihad ideology of Islamic supremacism in the public square.