Catholic theologian: ‘Islamic State is no heresy, but … military expansion. The model is Muhammad himself’

Islam researcher Jørgen Simonsen brook published in 2001 the book ‘Det retfærdige samfund’ (The righteous society). He was in some ways describing the Islamic State.  From Kristeligt Dagblad (Christian Daily) – ‘Professor i teologi: Islam er krigerisk’ (Professor of theology, Islam is warlike)  [login required].

Where is the border between Islam and Islamism? The media says that the two are different as night and day; Islam is a religion of peace, and the Islamists have stolen the name. Others believe that Islamism represents the traditional, pure Islam, true to the Koran.

The latter view is advanced, remarkably enough, by a theologian from one of the pope’s endorsed universities, Martin Rhonheimer. He is a professor at the Pontifical Santa Croce University in Rome and wrote an essay on the distinction in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

You do not hear many official Muslim voices condemning Islamic State, says Rhonheimer. If they finally do, it is only to condemn bestiality of their behavior which harms Islam’s reputation, not as principled criticism. This is because the Islamic State is no heresy, but “a recurring pattern of belligerent expansion in Islamic history. The model is Muhammad himself.”

The basis of legitimization is the Koran itself and Sharia, says the Catholic professor. He states: “Muslim theology contains no arguments to condemn Islamic State’s behavior as un-Islamic…”

Martin Rhonheimer then points out the suras in the Quran that prescribe what should happen to the conquered Christians and Jews, and shows that the Islamic State strictly adheres to these regulations. Islam wants to influence the state and society in all details, emphasizes Rhonheimer.

“Islam is more than a religion. It is a set of political and social rules and with religious and political-social order as one. And it has always been violent,” he said.


Moderate Islam has its advocates, but they are often professors at Western universities.

“But they are confronted with their religion’s central problem: If they return to Islam’s origin, they find the warlike, expansionist Islam from Medina, the legitimacy of killing for Allah, honor and a violent Muhammad,” writes Rhonheimer.


(Edited machine translate from Danish, h/t Nicolai Sennels)