Islam the “Master Faith”
The Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and of all Greece Ieronymos, during an interview last week said that Islam was not a religion but a political party. “They are the people of war.”
Islamic expert Raymond Ibrahim recently showed that the number of Christians persecuted in 2020 were approximately. Of the top fifty countries where the persecution of Christians is at its worse — North Korea slightly edged out Afghanistan — thirty-nine of them are either from “Islamic oppression” or is occurring in Muslim majority nations. The overwhelming majority of these countries are governed by some form of sharia (Islamic law). “It is either directly enforced,” says Ibrahim, “by government or society or, more frequently, both, although societies — family members in particular — tend to be more zealous in its application.”
This is because Islam was not exclusively founded as a religion but as a socio-political entity that assumed certain religious traits from the Hebrew Scriptures and a portion of apocryphal Christian writings.
The genesis of Islam was inextricably tied with the formation of a sovereign society that was inherently universal and imperialist. Temporal and religious powers, which were both one and the same, were combined in the person of Muhammad as Prophet, who claimed that Allah invested him with this authority. Hence, the reason he assumed altogether the role of head of state and head of the religion, which permitted him to cloak his political ambitions with a religious aura. Consequently, he channeled Islam’s energies into its instrument of aggressive expansion, there being no internal organism of equal force to counterbalance it. As the historian Patricia Crone put it, “Muhammad offered a program of Arab state formation and conquest: the creation of an umma, the initiation of jihad.” In fact, he was a prophet with a political quest and not, as is so often presented, a prophet who just happened to become involved with politics.
The Islamic surge and the subsequent evolution of its culture can best be comprehended if one sees religion, in this particular instance, as satisfying the identifiable social needs of the people.
As I explain in my book Islam: Religion of Peace? – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up, Muhammad designed a new monotheism fitted to the contemporary demands of tribal society. To this purpose, he adapted current ideas and furnished a rationale for the Arabs to see themselves as the chosen people with a mission to convert or conquer the world, enabling them to actualize the transition from polytheism to monotheism simultaneously with its passage from tribalism to nationhood to internationalism, while still remaining tribal to this day.
At the very center of the umma (Islamic community) was going to be a transfer of authority, from empire to the Prophet. From the early stages of Muhammad’s teaching during the Medinan period (622-632 AD), his goal was to form out of tribal alliances — from the Arab tribes, not Jews or Christians — a new ethnic chosen people impelled by his own concept of a moral mission. Even though Judaism had proclaimed an all-embracing ethical law, and Christianity a spiritual and universal brotherhood, neither objectively confronted the problem of military power and political authority, for they both accepted life under alien pagan rule.
The conclusive analysis that Muslims are more susceptible to Islamic terrorism is an incomplete picture of the problem. Muslims abuse and kill each other over doctrinal conflicts at an alarming rate. Most of that violence and oppression, in fact, is not terrorism per se but rather comes from sectarian violence, military conflicts, and government crackdowns on religious minorities; nearly two-hundred-seventy-million have been killed since its inception fourteen hundred years ago: one-hundred-twenty-million Africans during the slave trade, sixty-million Christians, eighty-million Hindus, and ten million Buddhists. While the number of Jews killed in jihad does not significantly affect the final tally, the jihad in Arabia against them has been 100 percent effective.
There are many prominent individuals today who hold that Islam is a “religion of peace” — a term that came into use in modern times when Islamists ceased being aggressors and portrayed themselves as victims after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. This, of course, is sustained by the Muslims who seek to promote harmony.
The paradox is that while there are many passages in the Quran and the hadiths that speak of goodness and clemency, there are also verses calling for violence, presenting Muhammad as a military figure as opposed to a prophet. The truth of the matter is that Muhammad, as presented by the Islamic sources, personally participated or deputized eighty-six battles: an average of nine-plus battles a year, and they culminated in intensity until he died.
Islamic scholars and imams can pick and choose whatever verse is convenient to them, at times directed to ad hoc situations; fundamental and literal interpretations often materialize in despotic teachings. This has regrettably made Islam into a global political and military project, as opposed to a simple religion. Incidentally, while the canon law of the Catholic Church is applied to its own Catholics and rabbinical law to Jews, the sharia is to be applied to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
This is why, given Islam’s political and supremacist nature, on the thirteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared Islamist terrorist groups such as ISIS, Hamas and Hezbollah to Nazis: “We know this. We’ve seen this before. There’s a master race [referring to the Aryan race promoted by the Third Reich]; now there’s a master faith.”
Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He has a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; he also holds a M. A. in Medieval History from Fordham University, as well as a B.A. in Government & Politics from St. John’s University.
N. B. Sources not cited may be found in Islam: Religion of Peace? – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up.