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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