Whenever the Pope speaks, it is worth considering what he says whether you are a Catholic or not. His worldview influence is considerable, and so we should pay attention to his words.
That is why I am concerned about his recent address on Muslim terrorism. He argued that: “Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist.” If his point was to say that not all Christians and not all Muslims are terrorists, that is obvious. It is a self-evident fact.
He also seemed to be arguing that terrorism is the result of economic inequalities rather than religious beliefs. Not only is that not true, it would come as a surprise to some of the rich, well-educated radical Muslim leaders and to some of the oil-rich regions that have been state sponsors of terrorism.
The Pope believes that all religions promote peace, and it is only a few that take a religion in the wrong direction. He said: “There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions—and with intolerant generalizations they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia.”
The problem for the peace-loving Muslims is the fact that radical Muslim terrorists point to many verses in the Qur’an and to the life of Muhammad to justify their terrorist actions. Our world today does not have to deal with Christian terrorists or Jewish terrorists. And even if they existed, there would be appropriate verses in the Bible to condemn their actions. Islam does not find itself in the same situation.
Once again, let’s state the obvious. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but nearly all terrorists are Muslim. Radical Muslim leaders are quoting from the Qur’an and calling for their fellows Muslims to emulate the lifestyle of the leader of Islam. That is why it is not helpful to say that: “Muslim terrorism does not exist.”