Thursday, July 21, 2016

Top Muslim Ally of Pope Francis Reaffirms that Muslim Converts to Christianity Should be Killed

Cheek to Sheik

Two months ago, Pope Francis welcomed Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb, - the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and the highest scholarly authority in Sunni Islam - to the Vatican.

And a week ago, the Pope sent a representative to Al-Azhar as a follow-up and to "relaunch dialogue."

The original meeting, which included discussions between larger delegations from Al-Azhar and the Vatican, was characterized as extremely friendly - a sort of "re-set" of Catholic-Muslim relations after the iciness allegedly set off by Pope Benedict's Regensburg remarks in 2006.

According to Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, in their conversation 
they had focused mainly on the theme of the common commitment of the authorities and faithful of the great religions for peace in the world, the rejection of violence and terrorism, the situation of Christians in the context of the conflicts and the tensions in the Middle East and their protection.
The Pope gave Sheik el-Tayeb a number of gifts including a copy of Laudato si.

Then they spontaneously embraced.

Sheik el-Tayeb is often described as a "moderate." He looks rational and reasonable, without the crazy smile of the fanatic. He supported el-Sisi against the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt and has made a number of public statements against violent extremism and in favor of human rights in general.

A few months before meeting the Pope he declared in front of the German Parliament that the Koran guaranteed religious freedom.

However, as the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies recently pointed out (as highlighted by Raymond Ibrahim in a recent essay), el-Tayeb has a history of saying one thing to Western audiences and another to Arabic or Muslim ones.

For example, during this past Ramadan, el-Tayeb reaffirmed on his television show that Islam mandates death for apostates:
Contemporary apostasy presents itself in the guise of crimes, assaults, and grand treason, so we deal with it now as a crime that must be opposed and punished…. Those learned in Islam [al-fuqaha] and the imams of the four schools of jurisprudence consider apostasy a crime and agree that the apostate must either renounce his apostasy or else be killed.
The plucky Institute made a public statement calling on him to renounce this position, also making the general observation that 
Al Azhar adopts two contradictory speeches: one is open and directed externally, while the other supports violent extremism, and is directed internally.
Interestingly, it appears that the statement was not released in English or referenced on the English version of the site.

What are we to make of this?

Is Pope Francis aware that his new Muslim friend appears to believe that apostates from Islam should be killed? How does this comport with the "protection" of Christians in the region? Or perhaps the Pope, in his rejection of "proselytism," does not believe that Christian converts are worthy of protection, or should not be placed in the category of "Christians." Maybe it's more of an ethnic category.

Also, converts do tend to be a bit conservative, after all.

Actually, I suspect the Pope has no idea what el-Tayeb really believes or more to the point, doesn't really care. But he does seem to care very much about publicizing how dialogue with his quasi-peer distinguishes him from his predecessor:

In fairness to el-Tayeb, as the highest Sunni Muslim scholarly authority in the world it would be difficult if not impossible for him to declare to a Muslim audience that apostates shouldn't be put to death, as this is clearly stated in the Koran, the Hadith and Islamic history and tradition. In that context, advocating the death penalty for apostates is not an unusual or extreme position at all. Indeed, polls show that most Muslims in Egypt support it. Though, again, there is a tradition of not, as it were, making a big deal of this to Western audiences.

It may even be that el-Tayeb himself doesn't himself particularly want to execute apostates.

The problem with Islam is not that all Muslims are evil. It's that all Muslims are to one degree or another beholden to an evil ideology. Many Muslims (including most women) are enslaved to it.

So, why don't they just leave?

See above.

Who speaks for them?

Not Pope Francis, obviously.    


  1. Are there passages in the koran that could be interpreted as supporting religious freedom? Like, is there ANY basis for thinking that at all?

    1. Yes, actually: "There is no compulsion in religion," among others.

      However, two things need to be said about these:

      1. That particular quote comes from Muhammad's early period where Muhammad hoped he could get people on his side merely by persuasion. Standard Muslim scholarship holds that it was then "abrogated" by later statements.

      2. I think it's fair to say that traditional Muslim theology calls for worldwide Muslim rule - where other religions are heavily suppressed or discriminated against - not necessarily forcible conversion (although in practice, even that is arguable). You're "free" (sort of) to remain a Christian or a Jew, as long as you don't mind all sorts of harassment and the occasional pogrom, etc. But of course, once you're a Muslim, you can't go back.

    2. How is that different from Christendom in the time of say Pius V?

    3. Hello again Willard,

      I know you're well-schooled in magisterial documents. Perhaps you could point me to a teaching in which the Church calls for forced conversions or the death sentence for apostates?

  2. Hello Murray,

    Aquinas treats the subject in Article 3 of Question 2 as such:"With regard to heretics there are two points to be observed, one on their side, the other on the side of the Church. As for heretics their sin deserves banishment, not only from the Church by excommunication, but also from this world by death. To corrupt the faith, whereby the soul lives, is much graver than to counterfeit money, which supports temporal life. Since forgers and other malefactors are summarily condemned to death by the civil authorities, with much more reason may heretics as soon as they are convicted of heresy be not only excommunicated, but also justly be put to death.
    But on the side of the Church is mercy which seeks the conversion of the wanderer, and She condemns him not at once, but after the first and second admonition, as the Apostle directs. Afterwards, however, if he is still stubborn, the Church takes care of the salvation of others by separating him from the Church through excommunication, and delivers him to the secular court to be removed from this world by death."

    1. That's his opinion. Unanimous consent of the fathers? No? Based on Scripture and tradition? No? Okay.
      Also, the post is about apostasy, not heresy.
      So you're double wrong. :)

  3. "But he does seem to care very much about publicizing how dialogue with his quasi-peer distinguishes him from his predecessor"

    I think that drives pretty much everything he does. Like the singing genie in 'Aladdin', every public statement is a performance of "You ain't never seen a pope like ME!"

  4. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?" ~ Matthew 7:15-16

    Are there any fruits associated with Bergoglio that aren't deceptively rotten under the surface?

    Any at all?

  5. Don't worry, it's not like the pope will try to convert anyone.

  6. Who was the early Church Father who said that in religion there should be no compulsion? St. Ignatius of Antioch?

    It seems that in this, as in so many other things, Muhammad selectively plagiarized.

  7. Bergoglio Judas Traitor
    This is not new Bergoglio has betrayed Christ since he was in Argentina. He is a false pope.