Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 12:57 PM
By Edward Pentin
A decline in moral values in the West, together with Islam’s history of violent conquest and dire education system, are major causes fueling the "diabolical" atrocities committed by Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria.
This is according to Father Samir Khalil Samir, a respected Jesuit professor of Islamic studies and Vatican consulter, who believes today’s moral decadence in the West is a “very important” factor in the rise of Islamism and most Westerners “are not aware of it.”
Although once looked up to in the Arab world, over the past 50 years the West “has given a very bad image of itself, mainly regarding the questions on sexual liberation,” Samir told Newsmax. “Everything about modernity is seen as wrong for these people [Islamists],” and the West is viewed as “imposing” these values on the Arab world through wars, “whether just or not.”
The Egyptian-born Jesuit also warns of a growing “clash of civilizations” as the intolerance of Western moral relativism and Islamism increase. But he directs much of his criticism towards Islam and its inability to reform itself.
“We hear very often Muslims say: ‘This has nothing to do with Islam’”, he said. “This is a spontaneous reaction of Muslims on the street, but in fact it’s a false reaction. This is a part of Islam, and we can find it in the Koran itself, and much more in the life of Muhammad who had a very strong and violent attitude to unbelievers.”
Samir said although Muhammad was “somewhat tolerant” of Jews and Christians, “he was absolutely intolerant” of those who did not believe. “The only solution for them in the Koran and in the life of Muhammad was to convert or die.” But he pointed out that today’s Islamists “are following this line with one difference: They call ‟unbeliever” (kāfir) anyone who is not like them, even the Shia, the Yazīdi, or the Christian.”
“The main thing to note is that violence is an element of Islam,” he continued. “Violence is not an element of Christianity. When Christians were using violence in wars and so on, they were not following the Gospel, nor the life of Christ. When Muslims are using it, they are following the Koran and the sunnah and Muhammad’s model. This is a very important point.”
Samir, a former student of Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), said Muslims “have to rethink Islam for today’s world,” as today the religion has “regressed” to the 7th century. To overcome the problem, he said the Islamic world needs to “overhaul its education system” which “is very, very poor.” Currently, Islam is learned through repetition and memory, he said, but Muslims need to learn how to “interpret a text,” and this should begin at a young age.
Asked whether ISIS has a future, Samir said in the short term they are likely to advance. “It’s unthinkable what they are doing. It is so inhuman that people don’t know how to react,” he said.
“They are operating exactly as the prophet did at the beginning, with war and conquest,” he continued, adding they will be hard to stop if they are well armed and equipped. “In each case they are winners: If they kill, they win; if they are killed they win, because they believe they have won paradise . . . They have no principles or norms or values or standards, other than to literally apply Shariah.”
“The astonishing thing,” he added, “is that they are fighting the immorality of the West and Western hedonism. But they are doing many more immoral things in the name of Islam.”
“I don’t like to say this word, but in a way what they are doing is diabolical, it’s something the world has never seen in history,” Samir declared. “We’ve seen a lot of cruelty, but this is a planned cruelty. This is why I think there’s no future for them in the long term. But in the short term, they will win more and more and we have to stop them. Now.”
Edward Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002. He has covered the Pope and the Holy See for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times. Read more reports from Edward Pentin — Click Here Now.
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