Two Syrian Catholic bishops living in Lebanon told the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East that the blossoming number of Catholic-Muslim dialogue projects has not and may never lead to real understanding. . . .If we had more Christian leaders like Archbishop Beylouni, there’d be a lot less dialogue -- and a lot more understanding. Dialogue is overrated, anyway. Not all dialogues turn out well, as Little Red Riding Hood discovered at grandma’s house when the topic turned to the size of grandma’s teeth.
Their statements differed significantly from most of the other synod members' speeches on dialogue with Muslims in the Middle East; the majority of synod members -- and the two Muslims Pope Benedict XVI invited to address the assembly -- focused instead on progress in understanding and cooperation.
In his written submission, Archbishop Raboula Beylouni, who works in the Syrian Catholic curia in Lebanon, wrote that formal Catholic-Muslim dialogues are "difficult and often ineffective," partially because the Quran tells Muslims they belong to "the only true and complete religion."
Muslims, he said, come "to dialogue with a sense of superiority and with the certitude of being victorious."
In addition, the archbishop said, "The Quran allows the Muslim to hide the truth from the Christian and to speak and act contrary to how he thinks and believes."
Islam does not recognize the equality of men and women and does not recognize the right of religious freedom, he also wrote. (“Two bishops at synod question effectiveness of dialogue with Muslims”).
Nor is understanding all that comes out -- if it ever really does -- of Muslim-Christian dialogues -- especially when one side is lying. Other harmful byproducts have included the spread of disinformation, a false sense of security, and fatal delays in identifying an enemy who means us harm.
The problems we’re having with Islamic jihad aren’t caused by a lack of understanding. They’re caused by our refusal to face what we already know.
Caroline Glick calls this the “Age of Dissimulation.” Dhimmi leaders, she writes, daren’t speak out loud what they know about their Islamic masters for fear of punishment and even annihilation. “But what can explain the West’s embrace of lies about Islam?”
Rather than discuss the nature and threat of Islamic supremacism, the Western media, Western political leaders and academics deny it.The CNS also confirms some of her observations, and those of Robert Spencer, that statements coming out of the Synod reflect the fact of Christian leaders in the Middle East being “so terrified of Islamic aggression” against their communities, whose only protection is their dhimmi status, which is no protection at all:
Years from now, when historians seek an overarching concept to define our times, they could do worse than refer to it as the Age of Dissimulation. Today our leading minds devote their energies and cognitive powers to figuring out new ways to hide reality from themselves and the general public.
Take US President Barack Obama’s senior counterterrorism advisor for example. On Sunday, John Brennan spoke on Fox News about the latest attempted Islamic terrorist attack on American soil.
Since the Obama administration has barred US officials from referring to terrorists as terrorists and effectively barred US officials from acknowledging that Islamic terrorists are Muslims, Brennan simply referred to the Islamic terrorists in Yemen who tried to send bombs to synagogues in Chicago as “individuals.”
Today, practically, the only individuals willing to speak honestly about who Islamic supremacists are and what they want are the Islamic supremacists themselves.
[Monsignor Robert Stern, secretary general of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association] also acknowledged that fear for the safety of Christians in some Muslim countries may have prompted the synod fathers to moderate their comments. This was, he said, a “prudential judgment,” since Christians throughout the region can suffer consequences of their leaders' remarks.It’s a pathetic admission, evasively phrased, (“a lot of social pressure living in an Islamic world . . . politically very uncertain circumstances”), but it tells the truth nonetheless. Christians in the Muslim Middle East fear for their safety. The shepherds can’t protect their flocks from the wolves.
“Most of these bishops come from ... places where they're a very small minority, they're bishops of a very small community, and they feel a lot of social pressure living in an Islamic world,” he observed. “A lot of them are in politically very uncertain circumstances-- where they're at risk, and their people are at risk. So, they don't have quite so open and expansive of a way of talking about the situation.”
“Just the experience for them to come to Rome, and talk to one another, and experience a kind of free ambiance where anything can be said ... was a very powerful experience for them-- to have solidarity, to be gathered around the Pope, and to be able to reflect.”
Maybe that lungful of free air, and proximity to Pope Benedict, who told some truth himself on Islam at Regensburg, liberated Archbishop Beylouni enough so he could utter aloud that a spade is a spade is a spade.