You Can’t Fight Religion without Religion

Matthew Hanley argues that tolerance of Islam can only go so far, and the limit must be Islam’s active anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism. Cold War anti-communist measures may guide us.

Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto by Paolo Veronese, 1572 [Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice]

What is to be done about the influx of Islam into the West – besides accepting carnage (most recently in Barcelona) as the “new normal”? Some prominent voices pin their hopes on “reform” of one stripe or another. For them, some aspects of Islam should be embraced with the proviso that certain others are to be excluded. Make it a matter of emphasis rather than a wholesale evaluation regarding the question of compatibility between Islam and the West.

I understand the appeal, but am not alone in thinking that this is too rosy a view. And unrealistic. Reform doesn’t seem a high priority within the Muslim world, nor where Muslims have taken up residence en masse in the West. In the final analysis, to “reform” Islam on Western principles is to sound its death knell; if you take away the rice, try making a reformed risotto.

St. Paul knew that a professing Christian would be pitiable if the Resurrection had not actually happened. For Muslims, everything hinges on the belief that Mohammed is the ultimate model for human conduct. You can’t disentangle that from the outbursts of malevolence that conform to his example.

A more prudent approach, it seems, would be to heed the rule of numbers. Violence, agitation, and demands for sharia compliance are quite rare at first, but steadily increase as the concentration of Muslims expands. Where enclaves are vanishingly scarce, so too are incidents; that’s why residents of Poland and Hungary can rest much easier than those of France, the U.K., and Sweden. This – astonishingly – seems lost on those who imagine the solution lies simply with heightened magnanimity, understood as boundless accommodation.

Once the scales tip too far, you wind up with fewer, and much less pleasant options. Majorities disinclined to violence may well populate certain enclaves, but they function nonetheless as harbors for the jihadi armada.

Click here to read the rest of Dr. Hanley’s column . . .

Matthew Hanley

Matthew Hanley

Matthew Hanley is senior fellow with the National Catholic Bioethics Center. With Jokin de Irala, M.D., he is the author of Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS: What Africa Can Teach the West, which recently won a best-book award from the Catholic Press Association. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Hanley’s and not those of the NCBC.


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