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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Or Confusion Worse Confounded
by Hugh Fitzgerald
What shall we make of the latest statement by the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury? Here is a report in The Independent, on remarks which the good Archbishop delivered himself of on the latest Muslim atrocity on the London Bridge and at the Borough Market:
He [Welby] said throughout history religious scriptures have “been twisted and misused” by people to justify hates [spates?] of violence and “We have got to say that if something happens within our own faith tradition we need to take responsibility for countering that”.
He said politicians should not just say “this is [has?] nothing to do with Islam” and focus on the security of[or] political aspects of it as it is also an ideological problem.
I suppose, in the world we live in, when the Archbishop of Canterbury states what should long have been obvious to anyone of sense, this should be taken as a sign of progress. What did he state? That politicians should stop saying “this is nothing to do with Islam.” But it’s not just politicians, of course, but many “experts” on Islam, and the many in the Muslim population of the United Kingdom, including the smarmy and self-righteous Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who have been saying that very thing — “this is nothing to do with Islam” — after every terror attack by Muslims. It’s both indecent and comical. How great must an atrocity be for politicians and others to change their tune? Welby might better have widened his criticism to include others aside from politicians, and said that “no one — not politicians nor pundits, neither non-Muslims nor Muslims themselves — can continue to claim that these attacks have ‘nothing to do with Islam.’” That would have infuriated Sadiq Khan and his ilk. That’s too bad.
However, having just said something both true and necessary about Islamic terrorism, the Archbishop immediately engaged in tu-quoque on behalf of Muslims, that is, offered a mea-culpa, “we [Christians] too are guilty of the same thing.”
His evidence for this is the same that has been trotted out over and over again, and not just by Archbishop Welby, of the single recent example in Europe of Christians killing Muslims (in the middle of a civil war), at Srebrenica:
“I don’t think it is getting us anywhere [to say that these attacks have ‘nothing to do with Islam’], just like saying Srebrenica had nothing to do with Christianity.”
But we do say that. The massacre by Serbians of Bosniak Muslims in July, 1995 did indeed have “nothing to do with Christianity.” There were no Christian texts that the Serbs invoked to justify their murders, because no such texts exist. The Serbians committing those massacres were violating, not following, the teachings of Christ. Surely the Archbishop of Canterbury is sufficiently steeped in the Christian texts to know that. Or does he have some reason to think the Serbians at Srebrenica quoted in justification of mass-murder some Christian texts that none of us knew about? We all know that there have always been people calling themselves Christians who have engaged in massacres, sometimes of non-Christians, sometimes of fellow Christians of other denominations. But that was done without the textual support of Christianity. Nowhere in the Bible are Christians instructed to slay non-Christians. It’s a very different situation from that of Muslim terrorists, who can and do invoke one or more of the 109 “Jihad verses” in the Qur’an to justify their actions, including Qur’anic verses specifically calling for “striking terror” in the hearts of the Infidels. Srebrenica is repeatedly mentioned by Welby (and others) because it is the only case in recent history where Muslims were the victims of Christians, whereas there have been, since 9/11/2001, more than 30,000 attacks by Muslim terrorists on non-Muslims — a grim embarras de richesses.
Why did the Archbishop feel he had to add that historically false remark seeming to blame Christianity for Srebrenica? The insensate urge always to offer some kind of false equivalence between Islam and Christianity, or Muslims and Christians, to always hasten to add, whenever daring to suggest that Islam does indeed have something to do with Muslim terrorism, that we must remember that “we are guilty too,” and to mention some atrocity committed against Muslims by Christians, and finally, the unwillingness to make a distinction between what Islamic texts inculcate and what Christian texts teach, needs to be abandoned. It’s doing none of us any good.
The Most Reverend Welby might have simply said this: “We cannot continue to pretend that these attacks ‘have nothing to do with Islam.’ So let’s find out exactly what is contained in the texts — the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira — that might have led some Muslims to engage in terror. And then we must discuss calmly, rationally, what, if anything, can be done to modify those texts, or to re-interpret them, where needed.” Such a statement would cause quite a stir among Muslims outraged by the suggestion that there might just be something in Islamic texts that contributes to Muslim aggression and violence against non-Muslims (examples of which can be seen, every day, all over the world), but the Archbishop should just keep on, undeterred. How long can he keep from looking at, studying intently, grasping the meaning of, quoting appositely from, the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira? He must know that his own willful ignorance has to end; he has a duty to his imperiled flock; continuing to ignore Islamic texts that justify violence and terrorism constitutes dereliction of that duty.
Rev Welby told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “From an outside perspective, one of the issues about dealing with Islam is that there is not much of a structure. There isn’t a pope or a bishop that you can go to and say these are the leaders.”
What does this mean? That the main problem is that there is no single Muslim authority to complain to? There are Muslim authorities who, while not equivalent to a Pope, do carry great weight in Islam, such as Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the leading Sunni school of theology. What has Ahmed Al-Tayeb said about Muslim terrorism? Has he denounced the Islamic State? Why yes, he has, so shouldn’t we all be satisfied? Well, not when we realize that Ahmed Al-Tayeb did indeed denounce the Islamic State, back in 2014, along with other other terrorist groups that, he claimed, are all “products of colonialism serving Zionism.” That’s not a problem resulting from Islam not having “much of a structure.” That’s a problem with minds on Islam, that refuse to accept any blaming of Islam for Islamic terrorism, and that point the blame instead at the hated Christians (the “colonialists”) and the even more hated Jews (the “Zionists”).
So with Al-Tayeb, Islam is still off the hook for Islamic terrorism. What has the leading popular Sunni writer, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, said about the same terrorism? Does the Archbishop know that Al-Qaradawi has endorsed suicide bombings as “martyrdom operations,” and has said that “it is allowed to jeopardise your soul and cross the path of the enemy and be killed, if this act of jeopardy affects the enemy, even if it only generates fear in their hearts, shaking their morale, making them fear Muslims.” However, while he has no moral objections to suicide bombing, especially against the hated Israelis, it is justified only if it works: “If it does not affect the enemy then it is not allowed.”
Of course, many Muslims, especially in the U.K., have expressed their shock, outrage, horror, as they do after every terror attack by Muslims. A group of Muslims even had their pictures taken laying flowers (with CNN carefully setting the stage, pushing non-Muslims back and the Muslims forward, so that they could be front and center for the video cameras) in honor of the dead. Meanwhile, in the real world, Saudi soccer players in Australia refused to observe a moment of silence for the murdered Infidels. Imam Mohammed Tawhidi, who is that bizarre thing, an imam who tells the truth about Islam to Infidels, told Daily Mail Australia that “They [the players] did not stop for a moment of silence because according to Wahhabi Islam – which governs Saudi Arabia – it is not wrong or a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim.” Tawhidi added that “it is a ‘lie’ to say the Muslim culture does not remember the dead with a moment of silence [which is what some Muslims were claiming in defense of the Saudi players], and instead argued that the football team did not partake in the mourning because they stand with the jihadist men.”
What does Archbishop Welby think of Imam Tawhidi’s no-nonsense observation that in Wahhabi Islam, the version of Islam that Saudi money has for the last four decades been spreading, by building mosques and madrasas, all over the world, “it is not wrong or or a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim”? And why was he so impressed with the “extraordinary level of condemnation” by Muslims, that is, the usual phrases (shock, outrage, horror — repeat the dose as needed) offered after every attack to assuage the gullible Infidels? How gullible can the Archbishop allow himself to be continue to be? “War is deceit,” said Muhammad, and “Allah is the best of deceivers,” but there’s no need, Archbishop Welby, to make it so easy for Muslims to deceive.
Archbishop Welby asks for little here below. He ought to be a bit more demanding. In short, he ought to publicly ask Muslims not for these formulaic condemnations, but instead to examine their own texts, to be prepared to discuss publicly those many Qur’anic verses that preach hostility and hatred for Unbelievers, and stories in the Hadith that do the same — if they want their condemnations of terrorism to be taken seriously.
At least seven people were killed and nearly 50 people were injured when a van carrying three terrorists rammed into pedestrians on London Bridge before they jumped out and began stabbing people at random on the street.
He said there was a type of theology behind the attacks, which can been seen in attacks by different faith groups all over the world, and “we need to counter that within our own tradition and teach people why that is unacceptable”.
Welby is here attempting to suggest that this “type of theology” is found in attacks by “different faith groups all over the world.” What “type of theology” is that, exactly? We are left in the dark. And where are all these attacks by non-Muslims to rival the 30,000 attacks by Muslims since 9/11/2001? He offers exactly one — Srebrenica. So let’s repeat ad nauseam: Srebrenica had nothing to do with, was not inspired by, not justified by, Christian doctrine. If the Archbishop knows of a single unprovoked attack by Christians on Muslims supported by textual authority, he should tell us.
One of the big problems for the secular authorities trying to combat this is that they do not seem to understand “the basic tenets of the faith they are dealing with”, he said.
Note that Welby is willing to attack “secular authorities” for not understanding “the basic tenets of the faith they are dealing with,” but still can’t bring himself to name that faith. Is it Islam? Is it both Islam and Christianity, equally opaque to those “secular authorities’”? If there is a word that means the opposite of “pellucid,” that’s what describes Archbishop Welby.
He explained: “They are often people who are unable to put themselves in the shoes of religious believers and understand a way of looking at the world that says that this defines your whole life, every single aspect of who you are and what you are.” Surely he must mean Islam, which does purport to regulate and define “every single aspect” of who and what you are. Why this inability to name it?
Rev Welby said Christianity had a similar “dark side” which it is also important to face up to.
That some Christians have a “dark side” no one can deny. But what “dark side” does Christianity have, what texts and teachings equivalent to what there is in Islam? If he thinks Christianity, as opposed to some who call themselves Christians, has a “dark side,” he should give us details. He does not. The Archbishop simply throws this in, continually aware, as he is, for the need to present a “balanced” view, where every charge made against Islam is promptly followed by his suggestion that similar charges can be levelled at Christianity.
This echoes comments he made last year during a lecture at the Catholic Institute of Paris while accepting an honourary doctorate.
He called on Europe to look to the “Judeo-Christian roots” of their culture to find solutions to the mass disenchantment which he says has led to the rise of extremism and hate groups.
This is a curious statement. I’m still not absolutely certain what he means. Welby appears to be appealing not to Muslims, but to the non-Muslims in Europe to “look to the Judeo-Christian roots” of their culture, to find solutions to the “mass disenchantment” which “has led to the rise of extremism and hate groups.” Is the “extremism” that of non-Muslims, as he seems to mean, reacting to Muslim terrorism? By “hate groups,” does the Most Reverend Welby mean “hate groups” composed of non-Muslims? We can supply Welby with tens of thousands of examples of Muslim terrorism against non-Muslims since 9/11/2001. Could he give us examples of a single attack by non-Muslim “extremists” and “hate groups” on Muslims in Europe during all that time? And what is the cause of the “mass disenchantment” of many among the indigenous non-Muslims, if not the failure of their governments to adequately deal with Muslim terrorism, which is only getting worse, their failure to put a halt to the steady onslaught of Muslim “refugees,” and the further failure to respond to the Stealth Jihad, that is, the steady encroachments that are made by Muslims on the laws and customs of Europe, and the constant efforts to make those justifiably anxious about Islamic terrorism and Islamic texts wary of expressing their perfectly understandable views, lest they be accused of “islamophobia”?
How can one “find solutions” to that supposed “mass disenchantment” if European governments remain unwilling to discuss truthfully the texts (Qur’an, Hadith, Sira) and teachings of Islam? It is this that leaves so many frustrated and anxious, and some of them, in Archbishop Welby’s understanding, open to “extremism and hate groups” — which means, in his alternative universe, the views of those, such as Tommy Robinson, Geert Wilders, and Marine Le Pen, who in speaking truthfully about Islam, are repeatedly calumniated as “far-right,” “extremists,” leaders of “hate groups,” and cast into the outer darkness. But where is the evidence that those who focus attention on what Islam teaches ought be considered members of “hate groups”? The solution to the “mass disenchantment” of young non-Muslims is for political and media elites to stop pretending that Islamic teachings do not justify Islamic terrorism; to stop demonizing those who, having studied Islam, want to forthrightly discuss its teachings; and to show more concern for their anxious citizens, who deserve far better from the political and media elites who presume to protect and instruct them.
Or is it just possible that by “extremism and hate groups,” the Most Reverend Justin Welby means “Islamic” extremism and “Islamic” hate groups? If he does, he’s wrong about one thing: Muslim terrorists are not suffering from “mass disenchantment” at all, but are only carrying out the Qur’anic commands to engage in Jihad, by whatever means, including terrorism, that prove effective, and eventually to subjugate all non-Muslims, so that Islam everywhere dominates, and Muslims rule, everywhere. I don’t think Welby did mean “Islamic” extremists, but in case he did, it must be pointed out further that instead of “mass disenchantment” among Muslims, they are doing quite well in the generous welfare states of Europe, all expenses paid (housing, education, medical care, family allowances, unemployment compensation), are able to conduct their Stealth Jihad without much opposition, while the most determined among them fulfill the duty of Jihad as shahids, or martyrs, sowing terror just as the Qur’an commands.
Back in March 2015, the Archbishop spoke to faith leaders and deplored the fact that some [Muslims] were being labelled “extremists,” when in fact, he said, they were merely young people who were turning to jihad because mainstream religion is not “‘exciting’ enough.” The Qur’an was not mentioned. He told his fellow clergy that Britain’s religious communities must do more to provide an alternative to extremism, something that gives young people a different “purpose in life.” To which one would like to respond: why is murderous “jihad” the only way for young Muslims to fight boredom? Apparently non-Muslim young people have managed to find ways to fight boredom without engaging in murder and mayhem. What could be their secret? Is it something that young Muslims can’t copy? Is the only way for Muslims to make life more exciting for themselves by inflicting death on Infidels, or by supporting other Muslims who do so? Is that really so much more interesting than playing or watching sports, binge-viewing on Netflix, or competing at cricket on a playing-field? And the Most Reverend Justin Welby said that Britain’s religious communities must do more to provide an alternative to that extremism which gives young people a “purpose in life.” But it’s precisely that “purpose in life” that Jihad so readily provides its adherents. In Islam, killing Infidels is the highest and best purpose. By doing so, the young Muslims fulfill the duty, incumbent on all Muslims, to engage in Jihad to subjugate Infidels, and work toward making Islam everywhere dominant, and Muslims rule, everywhere. And there are so many different ways to conduct Jihad; why, even the receipt of welfare benefits can be seen as the “Jizya-seekers’ allowance”; having lots of children — supported by generous family allowances from the Infidel state — contributes to the demographic Jihad.
Six months later, in October 2015, the Archbishop was urging that there be still more interfaith dialogue, in order to “ease the fears of the Muslim community.” Many must surely have thought that the people who most needed to have their fears eased would be the intended victims, that is, Infidels, rather than those who shared the faith of the murderous perpetrators. But not Archbishop Welby.
A month later, after the attacks in Paris, he had a different take: “Archbishop Welby also said the manner in which IS militants had distorted their faith, so that they believe their acts are glorifying their God, is ‘one of the most desperate aspects of our world today.’” At least he wasn’t still calling for interfaith dialogue, nor babbling on about the desperate need of “young people” (meaning young Muslims) to find something “exciting” other than Jihad, but he was still insisting that those IS militants “had distorted their faith” because…well, because if they weren’t distorting their faith, then what would that mean for Europeans who now had tens of millions of Muslims in their midst? And how would we know if they “had distorted their faith” unless we looked at the Islamic texts? Should we continue rely on assurances from Muslims — see Sadiq Khan, and a few million others — or take a look ourselves?
Archbishop Welby makes his next appearance in the annals of interfaith moral idiocy on July 18, 2016, when he greeted two Islamic preachers from Pakistan, Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman, “who have led a high-profile campaign in Pakistan in praise of assassin Mumtaz Qadri, who was executed in January after murdering liberal Pakistani politician Salmaan Taseer in 2011. The Punjab governor had criticised Pakistan’s strict anti-blasphemy laws, and Qadri claimed it was his religious duty to kill him.” In fact, Salman Taseer had been the leading Muslim defender of the persecuted Christians of Pakistan. He called for freeing Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been sentenced to be hanged for blasphemy (some Muslim women with whom she had been quarreling claimed she had criticized the Prophet Muhammad). And here, invited by Archbishop Welby, were two of the most fanatical of Muslim preachers, who for years had been trying to get Taseer’s murderer not just freed, but hailed as a hero of Islam.
What do you think Archbishop Welby was thinking as he greeted his guests? There are only two possibilities. One is that he simply didn’t know, because he hadn’t bothered to ask, or others hadn’t bothered to tell him, who these preachers were, what they had done, what they stood for: the judicial murder of a Christian woman, and the non-judicial murder (by his bodyguard) of the leading Muslim defender of Christians. If he hadn’t bothered to find out, that would constitute an unacceptable dereliction of duty. The other possibility is that he did know who these Pakistani fanatics were, and didn’t think their campaign to free the murderer of Salman Taseer, who had been killed because he dared to defend a Christian woman sentenced to death on trumped-up blasphemy charges, was reason enough not to welcome them. And if that were the case, it would not just be a dereliction of duty but, rather, an example, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, of beyond-the-pale moral indecency.
So here we are, in June 2017, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, as of now, no longer talks about the need for more interfaith dialogue “in order to ease the fears of the Muslim community.” Even he appears to know whose fears need to be eased, and it’s not those of the Muslims. Nor has he repeated his former theme that “young people” — that is, Muslim young people — needed something “exciting” in their lives, which explained, Welby formerly insisted, their embrace of Jihad.
It would be good if Archbishop Welby were now to clear a few things up. First, he might make a public apology for ever having met with those two Pakistani preachers, and to do in a public call for sparing the life of Asia Bibi. He has, after all, apologized for working at a holiday camp where sexual abuse of children was going on, so why not do it again, a mea culpa for the fanatical company he’s kept? Then he might admit that he was wrong to suggest that the attacks by Serbian Christians on Muslims at Srebrenica were like the attacks of Muslim terrorists, for the former were not supported by Christian doctrine, while the latter find their justification, and motivation, in the texts and teachings of Islam.
And finally he might read aloud a dozen or so verses — perhaps on the BBC itself, which could stand a little lesson in Islam, and is unlikely to refuse a request from the Archbishop of Canterbury — from the Qur’an, including the verses describing the Infidels as “the vilest of creatures” (98:6), and those that command Believers not to take Christians and Jews as their friends (for they are friends only with each other) and others still that describe the duty of Jihad, about when and how and why to kill the Kuffar. And then a chastened Archbishop Welby should then issue his very own mea culpa, as he asks aloud: “Should we continue to ignore these verses, as I confess I have done, and for far too long? Or should we have a long and serious discussion together, as to what is to be done?” Howls of protest from “wounded” Muslims will simply have to be ignored.
That’s fiction, of course, a hopeful fantasy, nothing more. Archbishop Welby will never refer to, much less quote, any of those Qur’anic verses, will never ask Muslims to discuss these passages. Nor will the Most Reverend Justin Welby ever admit to having been colossally wrong about the reasons for Islamic terrorism. Just the other day, on LBC Radio, Archbishop Welby showed me the folly of my fiction. For it turns out that I was dead wrong about him. He hasn’t learned a thing. For this is what he had to say in an interview after the third attack in recent weeks by Muslims in the U.K., in Manchester and in London.
“The terrorists want to divide us, they want to make us hate one another. They want to change our way of life.”
He added that the UK should concentrate in tackling the causes of extremism.
Justin Welby went on: “We must go on being profoundly and deeply hospitable…we mustn’t turn against people because of their faith or their category, but we must turn against people who seek to divide and destroy us.”
Andrew [the interviewer] asked the Archbishop whether he fears there may be a backlash against the Muslim community.
He replied: “I am anxious about that, yes, that there would be a backlash against the Islamic community.
“Anyone who thinks of that, saying anything insulting on the tube or on the bus, or in the street, let alone attacking a mosque, or something like that, or anyone, they need to remember that if they do that, the terrorists give them a triple cheer.
“Because they’re doing exactly what the terrorists want them to do.”
The breathtaking banality of this, and its fundamental untruth, and even its cruel indifference to non-Muslims, set one’s teeth on edge.
This absurd insistence that the terrorists want us to hate them, and so we must foil their plans by making sure we don’t hate them, don’t hate Muslims, don’t even display the slightest hostility to Muslims. Because to do so would be to “do exactly what the terrorists want them to do.”
There is no evidence that the terrorists “want us to hate them.” Muslim terrorists don’t care if the Kuffar “hate them” or not; what matters is that the Kuffar fear them. That’s all they want: fear. It says in the Qur’an, repeatedly, to “strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah” (Qur’an 8:60). As for “dividing us,” it is Islam itself that permanently divides us. And we deserve and reserve the right to hate those Muslims who hate, and try to, and do, murder us.
Perhaps a group of well-prepared and undeterred Infidels can go up to Lambeth Palace, where Archbishop Welby resides, and post on his door — let the television cameras roll — not 95 theses, but rather, a few well-chosen verses from the Qur’an (with copies of same to be distributed to the newsmen present).
Here is one such florilegium of Islamic ferocity:
(1) “Fight against those who do not obey Allah and do not believe in Allah or the Last Day and do not forbid what has been forbidden by Allah and His messenger even if they are of the People of the Book until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” 9:29
(2) “When the sacred months have passed, then kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them. Capture them. Besiege them. Lie in wait for them in each and every ambush but if they repent, and perform the prayers, and give zacat then leave their way free.” 9:5
(3) “Kill them wherever you find them and drive them out from where they drove you out. Persecution is worse than slaughter.” 2:191
(4) “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks.” 47:4
(5) “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” 5:51
(6) “You will see many of them befriending those who disbelieve; certainly evil is that which their souls have sent before for them, that Allah became displeased with them and in chastisement shall they abide.” Those Muslims who befriend unbelievers will abide in hell. 5:80
(7) “Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them…” This last means that the Muslim is allowed to feign friendship if it is of benefit. The Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathir glosses this passage thus: “believers are allowed to show friendship outwardly, but never inwardly.”3:28
Address it politely to The Most Reverend and Right Honourable the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. But say you’ll be back, again and again, until the Most Reverend Justin Welby agrees to discuss these passages.
It’s a way to both publicize those passages — they need to be constantly quoted, forced into the public consciousness — and to shame the Archbishop into acknowledging them, and discussing them. And what can he say? Can he deny their clear meaning? Or claim that Muslims pay no attention to what’s in their Qur’an? Or that even to discuss those passages would only be playing into the terrorists’ hands by raising disturbing matters that could “divide us,” even though it’s those very passages that permanently “divide us”? The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Archbishop of Canterbury is eventually going to have to come to grips with Islam’s texts, the ones he has been avoiding now for years, the ones that explain Islamic terrorism. Shame him into doing so. He may still be educable. He may still be able, if forced, to begin to think straight about Islam. So far, the signs are not good. But let’s hope.
First published in Jihad Watch.