Britain Thrilled by Offer to Submit or Die

by Melanie Phillips

The open letter from 138 Muslim scholars to the Pope and the leaders of other Christian churches on the subject of peace between the faiths has got the British establishment purring with pleasure. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London have fallen on their knees and given thanks. The Times raved:

Rarely, indeed, has the Muslim world spoken out so clearly on the need for global peace or addressed Christianity in such terms of respect and acceptance of common beliefs" ¦ it will make it harder for those who thrive on a narrow, militant interpretation of Islam to pose as the true guardians of the faith.

The Telegraph gushed:

In an age when Islamic extremism, with its call for lethal revolution, appears to be making the running, it is deeply encouraging to hear a large group of Muslim leaders advocating peaceful coexistence with Christians.

I must have been reading a different document altogether. For it is a classic piece of manipulation and, I’m afraid to say, menace. Masquerading as the promotion of peace through emphasising characteristics that these religions apparently share, it instead effectively puts a scimitar to the neck of the Christian church and says: " ˜Peace on our terms’.

At least one cleric gets it. In the Times the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the one Anglican who understands the threat from Islamism, noted that the letter required Christians to adopt the Muslim belief in the oneness of God.

" ˜One partner cannot dictate the terms on which dialogue must be conducted. This document seems to be on the verge of doing that.’

Others, such as Ruth Gledhill and Robert Spencer have drawn attention to its theological slipperiness and the way it leaves out all the bits in the Koran which revile, curse and urge war upon Jews and Christians. But for me, the message was plain from the internal logic of the document’s argument.

First and foremost, it purports to be a plea to Muslims and Christians to make peace with each other. But this implies that both are at war with each other. This is untrue. The Islamic world " ” or part of it " ” has waged war on the Christian (and Jewish) western world. The Christian world is merely responding in self-defence. It is the Islamic world which says it wants to conquer the Christian. The Christian world does not say it wants to conquer Islam, merely that Islam should stop trying to conquer it. Yet the Islamic world pretends that the Christian world is engaged in an act of exterminatory aggression against it.

That lie is the motor of the jihad. That lie is fundamental to the absence of peace between the religions. Yet this letter fails totally to acknowledge this seminal fact. It says:

The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.

Very true; but for this piety to be any more than a meaningless truism, the Islamic world has to end its aggression. The letter makes no acknowledgement of this. All the emphasis is on the Christian world altering its behaviour. So its inescapable implication is that for peace to occur, the Christian world must abandon its own self-defence. In other words, there can be no peace without the Christian world surrendering to Islam.

Conspicuously, the letter does not rule out all justification for Islam waging war on Christians. Indeed, by saying that Muslims won’t attack Christians unless Christians attack them, it threatens that it will indeed attack Christians if it thinks it is justified in doing so:

As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them" ”so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes, (in accordance with the verse of the Holy Qur’an [Al-Mumtahinah, 60:8] quoted above).

But since the global jihad is being conducted expressly on the false justification that the Christian west is indeed attacking the Islamic world, this amounts to a threat of more of the same unless the west desists. Considering whether Christianity is necessarily against Muslims, it does not answer but instead graciously declares:

We therefore invite Christians to consider Muslims not against and thus with them, in accordance with Jesus Christ’s words here.

In other words, the implication is that Christians are unjustifiably aggressive towards Muslims, and this is because they have failed to understand their own Scripture. And so when it says

So let our differences not cause hatred and strife between us. Let us vie with each other only in righteousness and good works. Let us respect each other, be fair, just and kind to another and live in sincere peace, harmony and mutual goodwill

it’s really a variation of the ancient adage: submit or die.