Vatican warns of ‘the Islamisation of Europe’
But the theme is clearly Benedict’s, and concerns the desperate need for Europe to rediscover its ‘Christian roots’ as the only bulwark against ‘attempts to Islamise the West’. In defending the Pope’s Regensburg address, Mgr Gaenswein says: ‘The danger for the identity of Europe that is connected with it should not be ignored out of a wrongly understood respectfulness’. Regensburg, he insists, was an attempt to ‘act against a certain naivety’, observing the increasing reluctance (BBC, take note) to juxtapose Islam and violence, when they are quite plainly linked in both the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Thus does the Monsignor speak of Islam as ‘not being a single force but a religion of extremes’, with extremists who ‘turn to rifles for their goals’.
You see, Islamists do not need to constitute a majority in any country; they simply have to possess bombs and guns, and be dedicated to ‘jihad’. If Ulster is anything to go by (or South Africa, or Israel), such a strategy will eventually lead to participation in government and the fulfilment of one’s religio-political objectives.
Of course, one needs a pope like Benedict to make such points, especially when archbishops like Rowan are still on ‘study leave’, but there is an inescapable tension for the Roman Catholic Church in the articulation of such views.
It was not so long ago that Roman Catholics were the demonised minority religion in England, and suffered as a consequence of their religio-political convictions. Jews, of course, have suffered similarly for centuries. Talk of an Islamic take-over of Europe is a precursor to hysteria, which, if left unchallenged, leads at best to alienation or stigmatisation, or, at worst, to the abhorrent persecution and genocidal tendencies associated with fascism.
And it is not as if Islam, unlike Roman Catholicism, has a single leader under whose unified authority the worldwide brotherhood sits. Islam is divided and disparate; it is secular and religious; it is obsessive and indifferent. But it is unified in its cult, and the object of its reverence is Mohammed. And it is the imitation of his 7th-century exploits which constitutes either the ‘extremism’ or ‘devotion’.
But speaking as one who suffered directly at the hands of Roman Catholic extremists, Cranmer would remind the Pope of Rome that his predecessors were once quite happy to burn people who did not toe the party line, and wage 'holy war' against the infidel. Islam is now where Rome was until just four centuries ago, and since Islam is about four centuries younger than Roman Catholicism, a little more understanding of the struggles and traumas intrinsic to the process of reformation might be in order.