When Britain had an Empire, its administrators were in direct contact with peoples, races and religions all over the world, and they were apt to speak from experience. Today, by and large, the rulers of Britain have only their liberalism and its unreal ideology, which is why so few of them know what they are talking about. On the contrary Fr. Henry Boulad is an old-school Jesuit priest born 86 years ago in Alexandria, Egypt, of an old Syrian Christian family of the Melkite rite, former Professor of Theology in Cairo, Superior of the Jesuits in Alexandria and of the Jesuits in Egypt, with, obviously, a direct life-long experience of Islam and Muslims. The terrorist attacks last spring on two Christian Churches in Egypt impelled him to give an interview in France and to write a book from which the following remarks are adapted. He certainly knows what he is talking about! –
“I accuse Islam but not individual Muslims, who are the prime victims of Islam. I have made up my mind to denounce the source of the terrorism: the main source of Islamic radicalism in the world is the University of al-Azhar” in Cairo, Egypt, where the deadly ideology is taught as the official doctrine of Islam. I accuse the University of al-Azhar in Cairo, supposedly the embodiment of moderate Islam, of creating a spirit of fanaticism, intolerance and hatred in millions of students and Muslim clerics coming from all over the world to receive a formation in its institutes. By this means al-Azhar becomes one of the main sources of terrorism worldwide.
I accuse Islam itself and not just “extremist Islamism,” because Islam is by nature both political and radical. 25 years ago I wrote that Islamism is merely Islam stripped bare, in all its logic and rigour. It plans for a society aiming for a worldwide caliphate based on Shariah law, which is the only legitimate law, as coming from God. It is a plan taking in the entire globe, all-encompassing and wholly totalitarian. I accuse all those who pretend that the crimes committed by Muslims “have nothing to do with Islam,” of being deliberate liars. These crimes are committed in the name of the Koran and its clear instructions. The mere fact that the Muslim call to prayer and the call to kill non-Muslims are preceded by the same cry “Allah-ou Akhbar” (God is great), is highly significant.
I accuse learned Muslims of the 10th century of promulgating the decrees, now irreversible, which have led Islam into its present frozen state. The first of these decrees cancelled every kind of precedence for the Koran’s verses from Mecca calling for peace and harmony, and it gave priority instead to the verses from Medina which call for intolerance and violence. Two further decrees were promulgated to make this first decree irreversible: the Koran was decreed to be the uncreated word of Allah, hence immutable; and any further effort at reflection was forbidden by “the gate of ijtihad (reflection) being closed once and for all.” These three decrees, made sacred, have fossilized Muslim thinking, and contributed to the keeping of Muslim countries in a state of backwardness and chronic stagnation.
I accuse the Vatican II Decree “Nostra Aetate” of launching an inter-religious dialogue meant to be open, welcoming and understanding of Muslims, because for 50 years we have not taken one step forward, and now we are stopped dead. The dialogue with a sheikh from al-Azhar ended up with his proclaiming that “all Christians are going to Hell.” Nothing is moving, just as nothing has moved for the last 11 centuries. Dialogue, yes, but I want a dialogue based on truth. Charity without truth goes nowhere! I accuse the Catholic Church of pursuing a dialogue with Islam based on seeking to please, on making compromises and on double-dealing. After 50 years of initiatives all going one way, the Church’s monologue has got nowhere. By giving way to the “politically correct,” by pretending that the dialogue must not offend the Muslims because we must “live together,” all thorny but vital questions are studiously avoided. But true dialogue begins with the truth. I have asked to meet Pope Francis. No reply.