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People attend a Mass in tribute to priest Jacques Hamel in the Rouen Cathedral on July 31, 2016. Muslims across France were invited to participate in Catholic ceremonies today to mourn a priest whose murder by jihadist teenagers sparked fears of religious tension. Masses will be celebrated across the country in honour of octogenarian Father Jacques Hamel, whose throat was cut in his church on July 26, 2016 in the latest jihadist attack on France. / AFP / CHARLY TRIBALLEAU (Photo credit should read CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images)

People attend a Mass in tribute to priest Jacques Hamel in the Rouen Cathedral on July 31, 2016.
Muslims across France were invited to participate in Catholic ceremonies today to mourn a priest whose murder by jihadist teenagers sparked fears of religious tension. Masses will be celebrated across the country in honour of octogenarian Father Jacques Hamel, whose throat was cut in his church on July 26, 2016, in the latest jihadist attack on France. / AFP / CHARLY TRIBALLEAU (Photo credit: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images)


This is an extrapolation on Chalcedon’s post from Monday, ‘Islamic violence’? Shortly after reading his post, I came across this from Archbishop Cranmer on much the same subject, and it moved me, and I see much connection between the two.

Praying before a blasphemous icon of another Jesus, standing in the shadow of a sacrificial cross which they deny, beneath the dome of a cathedral church steeped in idolatry, myths and deception, Muslims throughout France and Italy attended Mass yesterday. From Rouen, Nice and Paris to Milan, Naples and Rome, hundreds flocked to express solidarity and compassion with Europe’s Roman Catholics, many still reeling, weeping and mourning the loss of a much-loved elderly priest, Abbé Jacques Hamel, whose throat was slit by Islamists as he celebrated Mass last week.

All Muslims are exhorted to the greater jihad, to strive against the flesh and persevere in the purposes of Allah, but not all jihad is holy war. All Muslims are not Islamists, but Muslims are becoming terrorists. It is futile, patronising and dangerous to deny it. Islamists are extremists who kill the innocent; Muslims who are moderate and enlightened seek to worship in peace. Islam is not all about oppressing, torturing, murdering and slaughtering. It just seems like it. […]

Behold! The disciples said: O Jesus, son of Mary, can your Lord send down to us a table from heaven? Jesus said: Fear Allah, if you are believers. They said: We only wish to eat of it and satisfy our hearts, and to know that you have indeed told us the truth and that we ourselves may be witnesses of it. Jesus, the son of Mary, said: O Allah our Lord! Send down to us a table from heaven, that there may be for us – the first and the last of us – a festival and a sign from you; and provide for our sustenance, for you are the best sustainer. Allah said: I will send it down to you; but if any of you after that resists faith I will punish him with a penalty such as I have not inflicted on anyone among all the peoples (Surah Al-Maida 5:112-115).

What is this table from heaven? What is this meal which satisfies hearts and witnesses to the truth? What is this festival and sign which provides spiritual sustenance? What peace and reconciliation does it bring to the hearts of those who share it? ‘This is my body...’ […]

There were tears during the sign of the peace. ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself‘ (2Cor 5:19). In their shared humanity, Muslims and Christians bore witness to the humanity of Jesus, his sacrifice and death, his reconciling love, his resurrection and glorification. ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them‘ (Mt 18:20). The Living God is present in the world, if not in bread and wine. We can meet Him, pray to Him and listen to Him. That is our privilege through Christ. And in that communion we stand with all believers in the world and throughout all history. And we stand with all participant peace-loving Muslims, too. ‘This is my blood…

via Archbishop Cranmer

And that is the thing, isn’t it? As always, we have to distinguish between enemies of our faith and our countries, and yes, our way of life, and those that have come to us for relief. And those seeking relief are multitudes, while those who seek to destroy are not.

This, of course, is something that our political class has trouble in understanding, most Moslems desire peace, but not all, most Christians also desire peace, but not all. Chalcedon said on Monday:

If we insist on mining the past so that we can use it to portray a religion as it is now, then we fall into the trap of those Muslims who pretend that the modern West is made up of ‘crusaders’ determined to reverse the defeats of the Middle Ages; the method is the same – they did it then, so they will do it now, they have not changed. The need to scapegoat and stigmatise the outside is a common enough one, found in all cultures. But the Pope, in his comments, refuses to go with it.

He and the Pope are correct. When we seek to stigmatize other groups of people, as enemies, as the other, we dishonor ourselves. Sometimes in order to defend ourselves, we will, however much we seek to avoid it, injure or kill the innocent. But we have the guide of Just War Doctrine to inform us, and our leaders, of how we should defend ourselves, and our countries, and yes, our co-religionists, or even other innocent bystanders. What have we heard lately of the Yazidi? Last I heard, the Kurds are doing a credible job, within their abilities to defend them, but we no longer hear much, do we?

So we should be not afraid to defend our faith, and our civilization, which has done much for the world, and has still more to offer. But we must remember the strictures that define us, and not target the innocent to do so.

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