Robert Spencer, Yes, it was a joke, but no one was laughing.
To be precise, it was Ireland’s Croke Park Stadium, not a proper mosque, but what happened there was no joke. ChurchMilitant.com reported that on Friday, July 31, Ireland’s top Catholic prelate, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, “joined Muslims in celebrating a key Islamic festival which falsifies the Bible by declaring that the patriarch Abraham took Ishmael, not Isaac, to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah.” Also present was Jewish Rabbi Zalman Lent, who enthused “it is special we can all sit here together … as brothers.”
Martin (pictured above) was just as enthusiastic, saying: “Today marks a new chapter in the history of Croke Park. Today our celebration is a gesture of recognizing publicly the place of the Muslim community as an integral part of the family of the Irish and to recognize the contribution of your Muslim community to the Ireland of today and to the Ireland of tomorrow.”
As I told Church Militant, Martin’s complacent satisfaction was all the more disgraceful in light of the fact that at the time the Eid celebration was held, the Catholic faithful still are in many places deprived of the sacraments and subject to immense and unprecedented restrictions on their worship, the bishops wouldn’t dare miss an Islamic celebration. In this event we see yet again the Catholic hierarchy’s endless solicitude for Muslims and Islam, and its disdain for actual Catholics.
What is unusual in this case is that some Catholics stood up against this exercise in a self-defeating and pointless dialogue that has never saved one single Christian from Muslim persecution, or prevented any jihadists from destroying even just one church.
Martin’s participation was all the more unconscionable that they would be celebrating Eid al-Adha, the day on which Muslims sacrifice animals in honor of Abraham sacrificing Ishmael — not Isaac.
When Diarmuid Martin and Zalman Lent think of Abraham, they probably think of Genesis 22:15-18, in which Abraham is rewarded for his faith and told he will become a blessing to the nations: “by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”
But their Muslim friends don’t read Genesis. They read the Qur’an. Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son (who is not named) is recounted in 37:102-109. Islamic tradition holds that the son Abraham sacrificed was Ishmael, and that the Bible’s saying he was Isaac is more evidence of the Bible’s corruption. Martin and Lent were inadvertently reinforcing that view by participating in this event.
Even worse, in sura 60, Allah says that Abraham is an “excellent example” (uswa hasana, أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ, a term applied also to Muhammad in 33:21) for the believers when he tells his pagan family and people that “there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred for ever, unless ye believe in Allah and him alone” (v. 4). The same verse goes on to say that Abraham is not an excellent example when he tells his father, “I will pray for forgiveness for you.” Hatred is held up as exemplary; forgiveness is explicitly declared to be not exemplary.
Martin and Lent were thus reinforcing a worldview that takes for granted the legitimacy of everlasting enmity and hatred between Muslims and non-Muslims — and doing so precisely in the context of trying to build bridges between Muslims and non-Muslims.
This disgraceful event shows the priorities of the Catholic hierarchy today, and those of Leftist clerics in general. Islam is the preferred religion of the Left, and that holds true even when the leftists in question are clerics of different faiths.
And even worse, the endless solicitude of Leftist Jewish and Christian clerics for Islam will never be reciprocated. The Muslims who greeted Martin and Lent at Croke Park Stadium thought of them as unbelievers from among the People of the Book, people whom the Qur’an terms “the most vile of created beings” (98:6). They almost certainly thought that before this event, and they continued to think it afterward. The words of the Qur’an will never be erased. A pious, knowledgeable, believing Muslim will never disregard those words just because an infidel, who is akin to an animal (Qur’an 8:55) shows him kindness.
The command will remain: “Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow him are ruthless to unbelievers, merciful to one another” (Qur’an 48:29). That is something you will never hear from the likes of Zalman Lent and Diarmuid Martin. But it remains in the Islamic holy book nevertheless.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster.