CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 31, 2015 – Barack Obama would take issue with Father Douglas Al Bazi, an Iraqi Catholic parish priest in Erbil, who has a totally different perspective on Islam than the president.
Of course, Bazi lives in Iraq in the midst of Islamic extremism, while Obama kicks back in the comfort of the White House and Air Force One and only philosophizes about it.
Speaking at an intervention meeting in Rimini, Bazi said, “Rome. Please, if there’s anyone who still thinks ISIS doesn’t represent Islam, know that they are wrong. ISIS represents Islam one hundred percent.”
Continuing his warning, Father Al Bazi said, “I’m proud to be an Iraqi, I love my country. But my country is not proud that I’m part of it. What is happening to my people is nothing other than genocide. I beg you: Do not call it a conflict. It’s genocide.”
The priest’s point is simple in its perspective, but controversial in its content because he refutes the concept of “moderate Islam.” Unfortunately, Al Bazi is correct. More worrisome, however, is that the politically correct crowd, and even not-so-politically-correct analysts continue to believe that extremism in Islam represents only a small portion of the faith.
What is more accurate is that there are Muslims, most of them, in fact, who simply want to get on with there lives without perpetuating the tenets of Islamic jihad.
What is not true, however, is that Islam itself is a “religion of peace.” Millions upon millions of Muslims do not know or understand the basics of their faith. Countless others may comprehend it, but they choose not to exercise the inherent violence of Muhammad’s seventh-century world. Even so, that does not change the basic ideals of the religion, and, like it or not, ISIS, and those of its ilk, are simply adhering to the lessons taught by the prophet in the Quran and the Hadith.
Father al Bazi nails it when he says, “When Islam lives amidst you, the situation might appear acceptable. But when one lives amidst Muslims, everything becomes impossible. I’m not here to instigate you to hate Islam. I was born amid Muslims and I have more friends among them than I have with Christians. But people change and if we go to my country, no one will be able to distinguish the light from the darkness. There are those who say: ‘but I have lots of Muslim friends who are very nice.’ Yes, certainly! They are nice over here! Over there the situation is very different!”
At the French Conference for Imams last July, Hocine Drouiche, the imam of Nimes, had strong words for the European Parliament: “In the world, Christians are being persecuted, hunted down, deprived of work, imprisoned, tortured and murdered. All means are being used to force them to deny their faith, including the ritual of collective rape, considered in some states a form of penal sanction. Owning a Bible has become a crime, religious worship is prohibited and there has been a return to the times of Masses in the caves and the first martyrs.”
Drouiche added that the fault is “contemporary Islam, which is much closer to sectarianism rather than a universal, open religion.”
Al Bazi is living proof of the ordeals many Christians endure when living in the Islamic world. Nine years ago, jihadists kidnapped him for nine days. He was blindfolded and held in chains. “For the first four days they didn’t even give me anything to drink,” said Bazi. “They would walk past me saying ‘Father, do you want some water?’ All day long they would listen to the reading of the Quran and let the neighbours hear what good believers they were.”
Today the priest is in charge of two refugee shelters for Christian survivors whose houses were marked with the letter “n” of the Nazarene a year ago. Then came the advance of the black horde and, as Father Al Bazi says, “from morning to night we receive thousands of refugees.”
“Wake up!” warns the father. “The cancer is at your door. They will destroy you. We, the Christians of the Middle East, are the only group that has seen the face of evil: Islam.”
In the final analysis, there is no such thing as “moderate” Islam.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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