The Adult Catholic Education program, held recently at a local Catholic parish hall, was entitled, “Under Abraham’s Tent: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the World Today.” The evening, designed to “foster peaceful relationships” of three religions through their shared patriarch, Abraham, attracted about 200 guests.
The first speaker, Rabbi “J,” related the story of Abram, who smashed all but one of his father’s idols, leaving a hammer in the hand of the largest. When his father, Terach the idol carver, returned to the store and saw the damage, Abram alibied that a war had ensued among the gods, and the largest idol won. Terach scoffed, saying, “The idols have no life or power,” to which Abraham responded, “Then why do you worship them?”
Thus did Abram show the folly of idol worship and introduce the belief of monotheism into civilization. “J” further explained that the Jews, through Moses, were also the first to bring laws of morality and humanity to humankind, the rules by which civilizations have prospered since. Regrettably, she did not offer a definition of Judaism, the role of Jews in world history, or the significance of Israel to the Jewish people.
Although Jews had resided in Egypt, Iraq, Iran, and Mesopotamia, and despite their persecution through the centuries, they nevertheless did not declare these lands as theirs. She might have dismantled the accusation that Jews are colonialists, had she noted the Jewish claim to the land has very specific boundaries set forth in the ancient Torah – the same boundaries established by the League of Nations in 1920, and again by the United Nations in 1948. .
It may be that the rabbi simply forgot these exhaustively documented facts, or she felt compelled to abandon her own and her religion’s survival for the fashionable multiculturalism and diversity.
“J” related an anecdote about being asked about the origin of people Cain met after his banishment from Eden. The Torah explains that Adam fathered many children before he died at age 930, and Cain may well have met these others in Nod, where he married and built a city. Rather, she responded that she told “our story,” and that could be another’s story, thereby allowing for the intrusion of a revisionist narrative!
She also mistakenly said that Ishmael was Muslim. In this, her timeline was off because it is well known that Mohammad did not proselytize for Islam until the 7th century AD, some two and a half millennia later. In fact, Ishmael was an Arab, but not a Muslim.
Another fact is that Muhammad’s conquests for an Islamic people began with the slaying of Jews, Christians, and idolaters of Mecca and Medina – beheading the men and raping and enslaving their women and children. Hence, the first Muslims were children of all four groups in the Middle East.
To a prompt about the 1967 origin of “Palestinians” (in quotation marks because before that date, the term meant any Jew or Arab who lived in that geographical area), “J” replied, “I don’t want to go there.” It is a well-documented reality that Yasser Arafat began using that terminology to provide a false bond for these usurpers to the land, but she saw it as a threat to multiculturalism and Islamic revisionism.
A reminder to the rabbi: throughout history, Jews have argued that if they abandoned their traditions and rituals, and conformed to their host society, they would be less likely to face persecution. But during the Spanish Inquisition, Jews who embraced their heritage were either converted, murdered, or expelled en masse in 1492. And, of course, during the Holocaust, Jews who trusted the concept in the 1930s and ‘40s were savagely annihilated.
Father “C,” the second speaker, also referred to Abram’s belief system as the beginning of monotheism, and to Jesus Christ’s ministry for the beginning of Christianity. He seemed distressed when an audience member asked, “Do Muslims and Jews need to trust in Jesus to get into heaven?” Whereas the Catholic Church may mandate conversion as an entrée to heaven, the Father seemed to abjure an exclusionary viewpoint. He did not reference Catholic Charities’ efforts to convert Muslims to Christianity or Muslim efforts to convert Jews and Christians to Islam. Neither did he reveal that the Qur’an restricts Muslims from designating zakat (charity) to any but Muslims, except for outreach and conversion.
Imam “M,” the last of the three, speakers, stated he would discuss historical accounts, revisionism, the universalism of Islam, and the “pre-Islamists” (Jews and Christians) who rejected Muhammad’s message.
His claim that Islam’s history is akin to Judaism’s, and that the two religions “shared ethics,” is fallacious. The Jewish Bible exclusively introduced the early Noahide Laws and Ten Commandments that provided God’s universal and timeless standard of right and wrong for all civilizations. In stark contrast, Islam’s laws contain none of those ethics and morals, and their purpose, as stated by modern-day imams and throughout the Qur’an, is to require strict adherence to Mohammed’s stern teachings of Mohammed by virtually everyone.
Further omitted was that Islam combines both political ideology and religion; they are inextricably linked. “M” stated that Sharia law is based on scripture, words of the prophet, and human intellect (an ambiguous statement), but failed to inform that 83% of the Qur’an deals severely with the infidel. Shari’a laws are meant to regulate non-Muslim as well as Muslim life.
At this point, “M” reminded us of earlier statements – that Jews argued with God (that God must live up to His promise to the Jewish people), that Christians agree with Jesus, and that, “Under the Qur’an, all people would agree to be one faith, one religion, follow the laws of their prophet/role model, have the same behavior, attitude, and there would be no fighting. A quick check at the countries around the world disproves that easily enough. He also assured the audience that Muslims kill other Muslims more than they kill Jews and Christians – a hardly comforting gen.
He went on to say that Muslims have a high degree of illiteracy. It is a fact that domination and oppression thrive as long as the masses are kept in ignorance. The importance of education goes back to Biblical times and is inherent in our Constitution.
Before closing, the imam added, “The ethnic people of the Middle East includes Palestinians,” yet another invention left unchallenged. The Philistines from Crete are long gone, and the current Palestinians are traceable to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen, from which they came to the nascent Israel in search of employment. Adopting “Palestinians” for their appellation was a stealth war tactic to provide a false bond to the region they coveted.
It became quite evident that a mountain of historical revisionism was required to create a very false and tenuous harmony. Only when the Jews diminished their history, when the Christians moderated their beliefs, and when Muslims eluded questions that there could be any semblance of sharing and understanding. So this was not educational, but in doctrinal.
If the church members brought these three philosophies together in the name of harmony and understanding, then at least harmony prevailed for a couple of hours. But I knew that the morrow would bring more news of violent Jew-hatred, church burnings, and other catastrophic acts of jihad, and the parishioners would remain terribly misinformed. In the name of multiculturalism, diversity, and political-correctness, they were left with dishonesty and self-congratulatory egotism.