A group of Algerian and French converts to Christianity have launched an online petition urging Pope Francis to abandon his conciliatory attitudes to the Islamic faith and Muslim immigration to Europe.
The petition, signed initially by Algerian-French convert Mohammed Christophe Bilek, a published author of two books who now runs a religious discussion blog in France, was published a few days ago.
It has gathered more than 2740 signatures from around the world, with Christians and others joining in. The signatories come from Africa, Europe, the US and Australia.
“You do not like to beat around the bush, and neither do we, so allow us to say frankly that we do not understand your teaching about Islam,’’ the petition says in part. “It does not account for the fact that Islam came AFTER Christ, and so is, and can only be, an Antichrist and one of the most dangerous because it presents itself as the fulfilment of Revelation (of which Jesus would have been only a prophet). Are we not in a good position to talk to you about Islam.
“If Islam is a good religion in itself, as you seem to teach, why did we become Catholic? Do not your words question the soundness of the choice we made at the risk of our lives? Islam prescribes death for apostates (Koran 4.89, 8.7-11), do you know?’’
The letter also contrasts the stance of Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia who “do not welcome any refugee” while Pope Francis has consistently preached opening Europe’s doors to Islamic migrants.
In March last year, in a speech to a world meeting of populist movements, Francis claimed that “Muslim terrorism does not exist … there are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions’’. His affirmation of inter-religious harmony came as more than 300 Christians a month were being killed, 700 injured and dozens of churches destroyed.
“We do not wish the West to continue with Islamisation, nor that your actions contribute to it,’’ the petition says. “Where then would we go to seek refuge?
“Allow us to ask Your Holiness to quickly convene a synod on the dangers of Islam. What remains of the Church where Islam has installed itself?
“As it was in the face of Nazism and communism, naivety in the face of Islam is suicidal and very dangerous.’’
The petitioners also argue: “That the Pope seems to propose the Koran as a way of salvation, is that not cause for worry? Should we return to Islam?” They do so in response to a statement from Francis in 2014 in which he urged people of all faiths to “wring from our hearts the disease that plagues our lives’’ — with Christians doing so with the Bible and Muslims with the Koran.