Our local parish recently recommended John Esposito's booklet Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Islam, published and distributed by the Columban Mission Institute's Centre for Christian and Muslim Relations. It deals with what the Muslims believe, the Arabic language, division in Islam, Wahhabi Islam, tolerance of other religions, terrorism, and Islamic law. The booklet presents a favourable picture of Islam.
However, in the last chapter on Islamic Law we read: "Muslims must strive or struggle (jihad) in the path (sharia) of God in order to implement God's will on earth, expand and defend the Muslim community, and establish a just society."
The Koranic equivalent of the above is given in Sura 2:193: "Fight against them until Idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme", and Sura 8:39: "Make war on them until God's religion shall reign supreme."
Mark Durie writes in his book The Third Choice: "At its core Islam is a religious mission to all humanity. The duty of every true Muslim is to disseminate the Islamic faith throughout the world. 'We have sent you forth to all mankind' (Sura 34:28). If non-Muslims submit to conversion or subjugation, this call ( da'wa) can be pursued peacefully. If they do not, Muslims are obliged to wage war against them. World peace is reached only with the conversion or submission of all mankind to Islam."
John Esposito is silent about Islam's mission to world hegemony, thus his booklet is not a reliable guide.
It is said that any religion, which considers itself the only true religion, must condemn contradictory religions as false and so cannot be "dogmatically tolerant". However there is another form of tolerance, "political tolerance", which displays willingness to let others profess the religion they accept even though they consider that religion false. This would be the path for the future. A change in the fundamentalist Muslim attitude in this regard would be most welcome. The final solution is in Our Lord's hands.
JOHN FREY (DR)