Cardinal Timothy Dolan: Islamic State Is Muslim Like Irish Republican Army Was Catholic

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said Islamic State militants terrorizing the Middle East are a distortion of “genuine” Islam much as the Irish Republican Army was a “perversion” of Catholicism.

Dolan’s comments to CNN on Tuesday (March 3) reflect similar statements about the Islamic State group from Pope Francis, but they also echo some of President Obama’s controversial remarks on Islam, Christianity and the history of violence carried out in the name of religion.

“The IRA claimed to be Catholic,” Dolan told CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. “They were baptized. They had a Catholic identity.” But, he continued, “what they were doing was a perversion of everything the church stood for.”

The spiritual leader of New York’s 2.8 million Catholics, Dolan said that likewise, the Islamic State extremists “do not represent genuine Islamic thought” but are “a particularly perverted form of Islam.”

“The analogy (to the IRA) is somewhat accurate,” said Dolan, an Irish-American who on March 17 will serve as grand marshal of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

“These are not pure, these are not real Muslims. Now what we need and what Pope Francis has led the world in saying, is we need the temperate, moderate, genuine forces of Islam to rise up and say this — they do not represent us. Now, that’s beginning to happen. God can bring good out of evil”…


Nice try, but he’s wrong. Yes, the antagonists in Northern Ireland are split Catholic/Protestant. But as even a casual observer may have noticed, the actual religious affiliations were often skimpy or missing altogether. It was an ethnic conflict: should Northern Ireland be part of the UK or part of Ireland?  It all traces back to England moving Protestants to Ireland in the 17th century.

Did they ever refer to actual verses in the Bible to support either side?  I cannot image what verse the IRA might have used for justification. 

By contrast, Islamic State cites specific verses of the Koran and Hadith to justify their actions. I first posted on it referencing the site Mahdi Watch. Timothy Furnish (who runs the site), in turn, asks why it took so long for other sources (The Atlantic and CNN) to notice this.   This is very important, so I will reproduce one of Furnish’s sections with links:

Why is there so much violence, misogyny and dislike for members of other religions in Islam? Because the Qur’an mandates fighting [Koran 9:5] fi sabil Allah, “on the path of Allah,” especially against “polytheists” (which includes Trinitarian Christians); prescribes crucifixion and dismemberment  [Koran 5:33] for enemies of Allah; mandates beheading [Koran 47:4] for “unbelievers” (the rest of the legion of jihad verses the reader can peruse at his leisure).

Regarding women, Islam’s holy book consigns them to subordinate status and allows men to strike them; it also permits sexual slavery of non-Muslim women [Koran 4:24]. According to dozens of Hadiths (alleged sayings of Muhammad’s), Islam’s founder extolled jihad and, according to his Muslim biographers, personally ordered torture by fire and decapitations.

He continues the discussion by addressing the question of whether or not these verses should be taken literally.

Unlike Christianity or Judaism regarding the Bible, however, mainstream Muslims in the largest branch—Sunnism—are prohibited from reading violent passages symbolically or allegorically. They must apply literally across space and time; so beheading cannot be construed as “defeating an opponent polemically” or said to only apply in Muhammad’s time.

(Some sects of Islam do allow for non-literalist interpretations, but these Ahmadis, Isma’ili Shi`is and Sufi mystics have a hard, uphill row to hoe if they hope to change hearts and minds among their much more numerous Sunni cousins. Ironically, and perhaps counter-intuitively for many, Twelver Shi`ism may hold the best hope for a legtimate reformation within Islam—since that largest minority branch still allows for ta`wil, or “esoteric” interpretation of the Qur’an and Hadiths. However, as long as the dour intellectual descendants of Ayatollah Khomeini run things in Iran, such will stay at best nascent.)

That a man of the Church should make such a gross mistake is alarming. I can only conclude his motives are political.

Finally, I will reproduce an earlier (but still modern) picture of the same phenomenon as Islamic State (again from site Mahdi Watch):

Soudanwar.jpg.w560h409 British troops fighting troops of the 19th c. apocalyptic Islamic State: the Mahdiyah of Sudan.

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  • SMC_BC

    He’s not only wrong about ISIS he’s also wrong about the IRA. Though most IRA members were Catholic many other members were Protestant. Because the IRA wasn’t about religion it about stopping British imperialism.

    • Yeah, I suspect there aren’t too many Yazidi members of ISIS. (That said, I take a bit of exception to the “British imperialism” line. Whatever happened in previous centuries, the Brits for a long time have been dearly wishing to wash their hands of Ireland. The Ulster Protestants are as Irish as the Catholic majority are.)

  • David Murrell

    Cardinal Timothy Dolan is a look-alike to former Senator Hugh Segal (now happily having a cushy job at Massey College, doing and saying what is anybody’s guess).

    • SMC_BC

      Dolan has ticked off most Catholic by leading this years St. Patrick’s Day Parade. There’s been a problem since parade organizers decided to allow homosexual activists to march under their own banner. BTW, they disallowed pro lifer from marching under their own banner. In Catholicism homosexual act are sinful, Dolan leading the parade makes it look like he endorses the gay lifestyle. I think he’ll live to regret his decision.

  • sandy

    Ok, so they are a breakaway bit. The choppers, beheaders, rapists, pedo bit.

    A nasty, spoilt little boy rendition of the pussful original version.

  • Great post, Frau. You’re 100% right, the analogy doesn’t hold up to any serious analysis for a minute. Presumably Dolan isn’t so stupid that he doesn’t realize this. Therefore he’s lying for some weird ideological or psychological reason.

    I much prefer Catholicism to Protestantism but even if I got religion (could happen) I don’t think I could ever join the Church. I cannot respect men like Dolan, or Cardinal O’Malley (who gave that disgusting abortion-enabling psychopath Ted Kennedy the Catholic equivalent of a state funeral, because, after all, God is a respecter of persons) or even, I’m sorry to say, the Pope, who is surely a good man but is also a fool. I could never join a religion that said I had to accord people like this respect.

  • Dana Garcia

    Another non-Muslim expert on the True Islam, RoP. The list is growing.

    Any professional catholic should know something about the history of the church, including how the Middle East and north Africa went from Christian to Islam. Hint: the transformation was not the result of gentle entreaties or brilliant sermons. Jihad war changed those Christian lands to Allahstan.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    Cardinal Dolan is asking for it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ME98eas_uBo

    • Heh. My parents had a couple of his records in vinyl lying around when I was a kid. Funny (in small doses.)

  • MannieP

    Religion of peace, except that moslems have been violent, murdering savages since mohammed (Piss be upon him.) was a cattle thief.

  • WalterBannon

    Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York is Catholic like Charles Manson is a nice guy.

  • Jason

    I personally believe that there are still good people in the Catholic and various Protestant Churches. People who are passionate about helping others (the message of Christianity, in a nutshell) and we don’t tend to hear about them because they’re too busy doing just that. Then there are people like Dolan, who may be a reasonably well meaning fellow but his politically correct gibberish is not just unhelpful, it’s harmful.

    I sometimes think about the first Christians who often chose to face the lions rather than betray their beliefs by saying the Emperor was a god, etc. And then there are Church leaders like Dolan … rather sad, all in all.

  • P_F

    The fundamental difference between two:
    One was fighting for national viz. Irish identity the other is terrorizing the whole world in the name of their religion.
    The goal of IRA was to establish independent state for Irish ethnic people whereas islamic state aims for world subjugation in the name of islam.
    Is he mentally deranged or just vile??

    • Frau Katze

      Good point. It was (is?) a local conflict. Neither side wanted to take over the world.

    • T.C.

      Everybody seems to forget that the IRA were on the loosing end in the Irish Civil war. That was the war that established the Republic in the south. Funny how the IRA never seemed to gain any traction as a “rebel” movement in the Republic after that. Maybe it was because the Republic simply brought the hammer down on their local provos every time they got uppity. The British in Ulster were as handicapped by their media and leftists as the Yanks were during Vietnam. And still are.

  • luna

    The Irish republican army self identified as Irish first and foremost hence the name.

  • dukestreet

    I wonder if he’s ever read the Koran & Hadith. Maybe he would think twice about repeating such nonsense if did. Most of these people, commenting as if they were experts,have nev er read anything that would inform them of reality.

  • Xavier

    If ISIS isn’t Islamic, then we can expect the Moderate Moslems to fight the extremists when they take over Europe, right?

  • barryjr

    He must have gotten Syphilis from one of the young boys he was counseling.