An expert on the advance of radical Islam in the United States says the Muslim Brotherhood is effectively employing a strategy of presenting “Islam lite” to organizations, including Christian churches.
A spokeswoman for an Islamic awareness program which monitors how Islamic law motivates Muslims to participate in jihad reported she heard of a United Church of Christ congregation where an Islamic speaker was a guest.
She contacted the church to see if she would be allowed to present some of the harsher truths about Islam.
“The pastor pushed the material back at me and said, ‘It’s people like you who are responsible for an escalation of the violence,’” the spokeswoman said.
She said organizations such as Hartford Seminary are sending imams “to condition members of the area churches to believe the light version of Islam.”
Steve Emerson, director of the Investigative Project for Terrorism, concurred.
“Hartford Seminary is a place that has been compromised by the Muslim
Brotherhood, and then there’s the Center for Christian and Muslim
Understanding at Georgetown University. The center is a de facto arm of
the Muslim Brotherhood,” Emerson said.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the Sunni transnational movement founded in Egypt in 1928 that has spawned most of the major terrorist movements in the world, including al-Qaida and Hamas. It’s aim is to make Islamic law supreme over the world.
Hartford Seminary’s website displays photos of smiling, hijab-wearing young women standing arm-in-arm with clergy women in clerical collars. But seminary spokesman David Barrett insists the goal is to foster open dialogue.
“I don’t know where to start. Interfaith dialogue and the understanding of other religions is essential to live faithfully in today’s multi-faith, pluralistic world,” Barrett said. “So we believe strongly and theologically that we need to understand the faith traditions of others and to relate to them and work with them to create a better and more productive, more harmonious world.”
That’s why, he said, seminary faculty members are familiar with the teachings of Islam.
“Obviously we have experts in Islamic law who are Muslim and we have Christian theologians who have studied other religions… If you’re asking if we know what we’re doing, the answer is yes,” Barrett said.
Asked about Islamic jihad, he said any religion can be misunderstood.
“You can make similar comments about Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism or any
other religion. You can take things out of context about any religion and make it look injurious or harmful,” Barrett said. “Yes, the faculty here is aware that this is something that it is claimed that Islam promotes violence, just as you can claim that Christianity promotes violence.”
But some mainline-denomination churches now are facilitating worship for Muslims, Emerson and the awareness program spokeswoman agreed.
“Just to show how far it’s gone, two weeks ago the priest at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Manchester, Conn., invited an area Muslim congregation to use St. Mary’s Church for their Friday prayers,” the spokeswoman said.
A St. Mary’s secretary said officials there could not comment on their actions.
But a report in the local Journal-Inquirer reported the development, noting the congregation had been pleased to find ways to “work together.”
Even high-profile leaders such as megachurch pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., have spoken to organizations such as the Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood group.
Saddleback officials did not respond to a request for comment.
But Emerson believes it’s more than just wrong; it’s dangerous.
“He’s been deceived into believing that … is a legitimately moderate group. In fact, it’s a radical organization,” Emerson said. “I think there’s been a major bit of deception that’s been perpetrated by these groups who pretend that they’re innocent religious groups looking for affiliations with other theological movements.”
A former FBI agent whose expertise is in Islamic issues confirmed the success of Islamic lobbying. He asked that his name be withheld.
“If you don’t believe the Brotherhood has been effective at neutralizing some church groups and public advocacy groups, look at this. Common Cause and Hartford Seminary support the Islamic Society of North America. The National Council of Churches and the American Baptist Churches do too,” he said.
The Muslim disinformation methodology is illustrated by the 2006 controversy over a speech by Pope Benedict XVI in Regensberg, Germany.
The pope quoted from Manuel II Palaiologos, a Byzantine emperor who was one of the last Christian rulers before the fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottoman Empire.
“Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,” the pope said, citing the emperor.
Objecting vehemently to the pope’s remarks, a group of 38 imams wrote an open letter to the pontiff.
“We would like to point out that ‘holy war’ is a term that does not exist in the Islamic languages,” the imams said. “Jihad, it must be emphasized, means struggle, and specifically struggle in way of God. This struggle may take many forms, including the use of force.”
One of the imams was the Islamic scholar Nuh Ha Mim Keller, who translated the classic book on Islamic Law, “Reliance of the Traveler.” The book states in section 09.0, “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and it is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.”
The effort to co-opt Christian churches includes an attempt to water down Christian theology.
CAIR headquarters in Washington
Islamization Watch published a photo on its website of a British Muslim banner on a railing in the Wood Green section of London. The
banner, which read “Jesus was a Muslim,” stalled traffic and created near-riot conditions so that police had to be called.
They report the training manual for the Council on Islamic-American Relations includes information about Jesus.
Among the materials CAIR distributes in its outreach efforts in the U.S. is the book “Jesus: Prophet of Islam” by Mohammad Ata-ur-Rehman and Muslim convert Ahmad Thomson. CAIR also launched a $60,000 advertising campaign on Florida buses with the message Jesus was a Muslim. The signs read: ‘ISLAM: The Way of Life of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.”
One Islamic expert who formerly worked with the U.S. government on terror said Muslims even use the writings of disaffected Christian.
“Muslims are making use of Bart Ehrman’s commentaries on the New Testament, books that now deny the authority of the New Testament and portray Jesus as simply a man,” he said. “You will never hear a Muslim say that Jesus is the Son of God.”