“The Pope has embraced jihad denialism at the historical moment that jihadists have declared war on Christianity”
The Pope’s recent denial that jihadism is rooted in Islamist theology, his selective criticism of Western secure border policy and his belief that the celebration of European Christianity amounts to colonialism, have many Catholics wondering whether he is capable of protecting the Church in a time of crisis. The jihadist murder of Jacques Hamel marked the end of innocence in the 21st-century Christian West. It is the first time Islamic State jihadists entered a Western church to kill a priest. The Pope said the world is at war, but he denied its roots were religious. Instead, he ascribed jihadism to a battle over resources and money. Empirical evidence suggests the Pope is wrong. The murder of Hamel was inspired by Islamism, motivated by hatred of Christians, enacted by jihadists and claimed by Islamic State (IS). In its mag Dabiq, IS vowed that Christians “will not have safety, even in your dreams, until you embrace Islam. We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women.” However, Pope Francis appears unable or unwilling to grasp the connection between political Islam, anti-Christian terror and jihadism. When a journalist asked why he hadn’t referred to Islamic terrorism or fundamentalism, he indulged in cultural relativism, comparing the system of transnational jihadism with individual instances of domestic violence. Western political and religious leaders commonly lapse into jihadist denialism, whose basic tenets are: a) a false distinction between Islamic scripture and Islamist terrorism; b) a cultural relativism that holds Christians and Jews equally responsible for modern terrorism; c) a sole focus on the militant expression of jihadism, while ignoring its political form. The aim of jihadists is a global caliphate governed by sharia law. To achieve it, they must destroy liberal democracy, Judeo-Christianity and the West’s freedoms. If the West is to survive the 21st-century war with Islamist terror, we must adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards jihadists and their ideology.