Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick offered Islamic religious phrases and insisted that Islam shares foundational rules with Christianity, during a Sept. 10 press conference in D.C.
“In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate,” McCarrick said as he introduced himself to the audience at a meeting arranged by the Muslim Public Affairs Council. That praise of the Islamic deity is an important phrase in Islam, is found more than 100 times in the Koran, and is akin to the Catholic prayer, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
McCarrick next claimed that “Catholic social teaching is based on the dignity of the human person… [and] as you study the holy Koran, as you study Islam, basically, this is what Muhammad the prophet, peace be upon him, has been teaching.”
McCarrick was 71 when 19 Muslims brought Islam to the public eye by murdering 3,000 Americans on 9/11. He is one of the 213 Cardinals of the Catholic church, but is too old to vote in church debates.
“Either the cardinal has studied the whole thing and does not know what he’s talking about, or he is making a somewhat misleading statement,” said Michael Meunier, head of the U.S. Copts Association. “The practice of the Muslim majority people that adhere to the Koran… have proven that [claim of equivalence] is not correct,” he told The Daily Caller during a Sept. 11 trip to Jordan.
“Has Cardinal McCarrick converted to Islam?” asked a scornful critic, Robert Spencer, the best-selling author of many books on Islam.
“‘Peace be upon him’ is a phrase Muslims utter after they say the name of [their reputed] prophet… [so] probably he is unaware of the unintended Islamic confession of faith he has just made,”said Spencer, who runs the Jihadwatch.org website.
McCarrick is wrong to say “that Islam teaches the dignity of every human person,“ Spencer said. “Actually, it teaches a sharp dichotomy between the Muslims, [who are called] ‘the best of people’ and the unbelievers [are called] ‘the most vile of created beings,'” Spencer told TheDC.
“The Koran also says: ‘Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow him are merciful to one another, harsh to the unbelievers,’” Spencer said.
The same warning came from Archbishop Amel Nona, who was head of Chaldean Catholic Archeparch of Mosul in Iraq. In a August comment made to Europeans, he said that “You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal [and] your values are not their values.”
“If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the [immigrant] enemy you have welcomed in your home,” said Nona, who is now exiled — along with surviving Chaldean Catholics — in the Kurdish city of Erbil.
Islamic societies have routinely persecuted non-Muslims, including Christian Armenians in Turkey and Christian Copts in Egypt, said Taniel Koushakjian, a spokesman for the Armenian Assembly of America
During the First World War, more that 1.5 million Armenians were deliberately killed by Turkey’s Islamic government, he said.
In Egypt, Copts “seem to bear the brunt of the persecution… [which] comes from the religious divide [and] is an interpretation of the theology in which people who are not of the same [Islamic] belief are cast out as infidels, as unrighteous,” he said.
The Islamic Society of North America says Islam “recognize[s] plurality in human societies, including religious plurality.” The section of the Koran that endorses plurality, it is claimed, include verses 10:19, 11:118 and 11.19.
“Mankind was not but one community [united in religion], but [then] they differed. And if not for a word that preceded from your Lord, it would have been judged between them [immediately] concerning that over which they differ,” says verse 10:19, which ISNA says shows Islam’s tolerance for other religions — chiefly, Judaism and Christianity — that supposedly split off from Islam at least 2,000 years ago.
The Koran has some welcoming messages, but they’re from Islam’s early period, Meunier said. “When Islam became strong and had a strong army, the tougher verses came down from heaven — apparently — and according to Islamic teaching, those later verses abrogate the earlier verses [so] moderate Muslims have an uphill battle saying Islam is tolerant.”
“We have to encourage moderate Muslims to present a more moderate version of Islam and the Koran,” but they’re outgunned by Saudi clerics who have used petrodollars to make Islam tougher and less tolerant, he said.
But the Saudi clerics “won’t do it [because] they don’t believe in it,” he added.
For Muslims, the Koran is the unimpeachable transcript of commands from Allah, the single and all-powerful deity. Muslims believe that the Koran was dictated by an angel to Islam’s final prophet, Mohammad, 1,400 years ago. This rigidity sharply constrains Muslims’ use of alternative ideas, including elements of Christianity, or secular ethics and philosophy.
The Koran also include many passage urging the use of violence. “The penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land,” says Verse 33 of the Koran’s fifth book.
In contrast, the Christian Bible, including the almost-2,000 year-old New Testament, is based on the statements of witnesses. For example, Matthew the disciple provide the main account of the Beatitudes sermon, which includes the famous lines, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.”
The Christians’ reliance on witnesses allowed perpetual debate over the meaning and purpose of words from the twinned deity of Jesus and God. It also spurred a Christian search for evidence of God via the “natural sciences,” which gradually evolved into science. Christianity also endorsed separate roles for church and state, where Islam assumes that states’ laws and personal behavior comply with Koranic rules.
McCarrick, however, blended the two distinct religions in his comments at the press club.
“We are together on this against evil, we are against killing, we are against destruction… God bless you in this work you do,” McCarrick said to the Muslim speakers, which included representatives from one group — the Islamic Society of North America — that was implicated in a conspiracy to smuggle funds to the Hamas terror group that recently launched another bombardment of thousands of rockets at Israeli Jews.
“We believe that Islam is a religion which helps people, not kills them… the Muslim community has always taught this,” McCarrick said.
“I’m privileged to be able to lend my voice to the voice of many of my friends here,” he said about the Sept. 10 meeting, which was designed to help U.S.-based Islamic groups avoid the public disgust with The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Since early this year, the Islamic State group has killed and murdered thousands of Iraqis that don’t accept rule by the brutal Salafi variant of Islam. The victims include Shia Muslims, Christians and adherents of the pre-Christian Yazidi religion. Tens of thousands of non-Muslims have also been driven from their homes and fields.
McCarrick, however, downplayed ISIS’s attack on Christians in Iraq, and expressed more concerns for Muslim victims of ISIS attacks. “The truth of the matter is in these terrible massacres of the Islamic state, most of the victims have been Muslims, most of them have not been Christians,” he told his Sept. 10 audience.
“Many Christians, obviously, have suffered, so I am here to say that we stand with our brothers and sisters in the Muslim community, who here in the United States have been giving leadership in a very strong way,” he declared.
“They are proud to be Americans… they love America,” he said, without retuning to discuss the fate of his fellow Christians under Muslim rule.
Spencer urged McCarrick to challenge his Muslim hosts.
“Cardinal McCarrick, rather than indulge in this fond and ignorant wishful thinking, would have done better to have challenged his Muslim friends to match their lofty words with real action to combat the Islamic State and other Muslim persecutors of Christians,” Spencer said.
McCarrick should have “asked them to institute programs in mosques and Islamic schools to teach against the literal meaning of the verses I quoted above and others like them, so that they no longer incite Muslims to violence,” in the U.S. or abroad, Spencer said.