People send me this stuff

So I get this letter that’s one of those anonymous circular letters supposedly encapsulating the Wisdom of the People. In fact, it seems to be a pretty good snapshot of the urban legends, fears, prejudices, and myths of American Tea Party Style Conservatism c 2010. It’s not *completely* wrong and the general sense that Islam and American civilization are probably not a good fit is, I think, true. But the sheer woolly minded Know Nothingism of the thing should give pause to any Catholic with more than the historical memory of a fruit fly. Catholics who sign off on this thing uncritically will deserve it the next time some mob burns down a Catholic church and tells us furriners to get out of Protestant America.

To wit:

Can a good Muslim be a good American?

This question was forwarded to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years.

Ah! Well, when an anonymous writer tells me his anonymous friend worked in SA for 20 years, what further credentials do we need?

The following is his reply:

Theologically – no. . .. . Because his allegiance is to Allah, The moon god of Arabia …

Okay. Two things right away. The question is not “Can a good Muslim be a good Christian?” People applying for citizenship here are not required to fill out a theological exam. Also, the whole “Allah=moon god” thing is going to come as a shock to the millions of Maronite Catholics who worship Allah in their liturgies. Of course, Know Nothing Protestants will happily inform you that Catholics worship pagan deities too. But Catholics should really be cautious about declaring an entire rite of the Catholic communion to be pagan. They should also be cautious about people who confuse America with True Christianity.

Religiously – no.. . .. Because no other religion is accepted by His Allah except Islam .. (Quran, 2:256)(Koran)

Again, there’s no religious test to be an American. Muslims can believe what they like, just as Catholics can believe that the Church is the one true faith. The only issue is what those respective adherents do about their belief in the public square. If a Muslim wants to stand on the corner and shout at passersby that they are going to hell if they don’t convert, let him. If he wants to shoot those passersby, then put him in jail.

Scripturally – no. . .. Because his allegiance is to the five Pillars of Islam and the Quran.

Yes. And Catholics, if elected, will take their orders directly from the Pope. And we shouldn’t have Catholics on the Supreme Court because they will turn the US into a Catholic Confessional State.

Geographically – no . Because his allegiance is to Mecca , to which he turns in prayer five times a day..

“Geographically?” So when Tridentine Catholics face east to pray, they are committing treason?

Socially – no. . . Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews ..

A Muslim Mourns Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni

In the name of the compassionate and merciful God,

Ragheed, my brother,

I ask your forgiveness for not being with you when those criminals opened fire against you and your brothers. The bullets that have gone through your pure and innocent body have also gone through my heart and soul.

You were one of the first people I met when I arrived to Rome. We met in the halls of the Angelicum and we would drink our cappuccino in the university’s cafeteria. You impressed me with your innocence, joy, your pure and tender smile that never left you.

I always picture you smiling, joyful and full of zest for life. Ragheed is to me innocence personified; a wise innocence that carries in its heart the sorrows of his unhappy people. I remember the time, in the university’s dining room, when Iraq was under embargo and you told me that the price of a single cappuccino would have satisfied the needs of an Iraqi family for a whole day.

You told me this as if you were feeling guilty for being far away from your persecuted people and unable to share in their sufferings …

In fact, you returned to Iraq, not only to share the suffering and destiny of your people but also to join your blood to the blood of thousands of Iraqis killed each day. I will never forget the day of your ordination [Oct. 13, 2001] in the [Pontifical] Urbanian University … with tears in your eyes, you told me: “Today, I have died to self” … a hard thing to say.

I didn’t understand it right away, or maybe I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. … But today, through your martyrdom, I have understood that phrase. … You have died in your soul and body to be raised up in your beloved, in your teacher, and so that Christ would be raised up in you, despite the sufferings, sorrows, despite the chaos and madness.

In the name of what god of death have they killed you? In the name of which paganism have they crucified you? Did they truly know what they were doing?

O God, we don’t ask you for revenge or retaliation. We ask you for victory, a victory of justice over falsehood, life over death, innocence over treachery, blood over the sword. … Your blood will not have been shed in vain, dear Ragheed, because with it you have blessed the soil of your country. And from heaven, your tender smile will continue to light the darkness of our nights and announce to us a better tomorrow.

I ask your forgiveness, brother, for when the living get together they think they have all the time in the world to talk, visit, and share feelings and thoughts. You had invited me to Iraq … I dreamed of that visit, of visiting your house, your parents, your office. … It never occurred to me that it would be your tomb that one day I would visit or that it would be verses from my Quran that I would recite for the repose of your soul …

One day, before your first trip to Iraq after a prolonged absence, I went with you to buy souvenirs and presents for your family. You spoke with me of your future work: “I would like to preside over the people on the base of charity before justice” — you said.

It was difficult for me to imagine you a “canonical judge” … And today your blood and your martyrdom have spoken for you, a verdict of fidelity and patience, of hope against all suffering, of survival, in spite of death, in spite of everything.

Brother, your blood hasn’t been shed in vain, and your church’s altar wasn’t a masquerade. … You assumed your role with deep seriousness until the end, with a smile that would never be extinguished … ever.

Your loving brother,

Adnam Mokrani
Rome, June 4, 2007
Professor of Islamic Studies in the Institute for the Study of Religion and Culture,
Pontifical Gregorian University

Politically – no.. . .. Because he must submit to the mullahs (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America , the great Satan.

Much as all Protestants must submit to the pastors who support the KKK, prosperity gospel, abortion on demand, gay marriage, and six day creationism.

Moral: mullahs are not a Magisterium or a united front. They are all over the place.

Domestically – no. .. .. Because he is instructed to marry four Women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34 )

I’m not going to pretend that Islam is any great shakes in it’s treatment of women. However, the notion that all Muslims are polygamous wife beaters strikes as being as accurate as “All Irish are drunken wife beaters.”

Intellectually – no. .. Because he cannot accept the American
Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt.

This Light and Glory take on the Constitution is vintage Evangelicalism (and Mormonism) but I think you’d get an argument about what “biblical principles” is supposed to mean and about how biblical the Constitution is… and about how aware most Muslims are of the Constitution’s roots in English Christianity. All one needs to do, of course, if find a Muslim who has no problem with the Constitution to give this soul diagnosis the lie. But then, I suppose, one can simply play the “no true Scotsman” trick and declare that guy to be “not a real Muslim”.

Whatever the case, precisely the same claim can be and has been made against Catholics, since the Constitution is forged on “biblical” not “magisterial” principles according to Know Nothings. (See all those warnings above about seditious Catholics whose highest allegiance is to the Romish Pope.)

Philosophically – no. .. . . Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran does not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.

I won’t argue with this much. Islam, which sees the universe in terms of a Master/Slave relationship, recreates Master/slave relationships in its political expressions. If it gains the upper hand here, it will do it again, because its in the philosophical DNA to do so.

However, that said, I also note that exactly the same claim is made against Catholics by Know Nothings, whether of the 19th Century Protestant Nativist variety, or the 21st Century Pelvic Obsessive Variety. A civilization which is drunk on licentiousness sees *all* forms of moral restraint as an attack on “freedom”. Rome is as “dictatorial” as Mecca for much of our post-modern culture where consent is the sole criterion of the good and the Imperial Autonomous Self is the only god worth worshipping.

Spiritually – no.. . .. Because when we declare ‘one nation under God,’ The Christian’s God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as Heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in the Quran’s 99 excellent names.

Once again, we are back to the conflation of America with Christianity and, judging from what is written above, Evangelical Protestant Christianity. Allah is most certainly called Heavenly Father by Maronite Catholics. But our expert in etymology is still stuck on the “moon god” urban legend.

Therefore, after much study and deliberation…. Perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. – - – They obviously cannot be both ‘good’ Muslims and good Americans. Call it what you wish it’s still the truth. You had better believe it. The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future.

And now the ringing conclusion: They’re all alike and I am (anonymously) speaking THE TRVTH!

The frustrating thing is that he’s not completely wrong. Islam has real problem when it comes to reconciling with things like human freedom, modernity, and the American Experiment. But, of course, “Muslims” and “Islam in chemical purity” ain’t the same thing. And this wooly piece of jingoism and murky confusion of America with Evangelical Protestantism has a rather nasty pedigree that Catholics are fools to accept uncritically.