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Prelate rues rising Islamophobia in wake of Islamic State atrocities

September 03, 2014

Auxiliary Bishop Denis Madden of Baltimore, who chairs the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, has expressed concern about rising fear of Islam in the wake of atrocities committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Stressing the importance of engaging in dialogue “with the religion many people automatically (and wrongly) blame for this violence,” Bishop Madden said in a September 2 blog post that “Muslim leaders in the United States, including the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, have been resolute in their condemnation of the violence in Iraq and Syria.”

Bishop Madden added:

In July, Newsweek reported that Islamophobia in America is on the rise. This is tragic, especially since one lesson we should take from these recent horrors is the danger posed to the whole human family whenever any minority, religious or otherwise, is perceived as an evil or a threat …

Unjust aggressors must be stopped, as Pope Francis has recently asserted ... Our response to evil and violence cannot be fear of others. Fear destroys everything it touches. By continually strengthening relationships with those of differing cultural, social and religious heritage, fear is overcome.


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  • Posted by: - Sep. 04, 2014 4:12 PM ET USA

    And so the bishop's counsel is that we need to keep our heads in dangeropus times like these. He seems to have some grasp after all.

  • Posted by: Defender - Sep. 03, 2014 10:58 PM ET USA

    A bishop who thinks he has the pulse of his flock? If the bishop has ever read the Quran, he would know that Islam calls for instilling fear into those who are not Muslim (like Catholics) and what we are seeing with ISIS (et al) is what the Quran calls for. Despite the political correctness of those who the bishop is probably surrounded by, most of the laity understands that real ecumenism is impossible with a religion that hates others and doesn't believe in the Blessed Trinity.

  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Sep. 03, 2014 3:23 PM ET USA

    In a contemporary Catholic Church in America, under the leadership of our bishops, where it is considered a sin to ever mention the word sin, a refusal to condemn Islamic evilness sounds like another episode of moralityphobia.

  • Posted by: shrink - Sep. 03, 2014 1:58 PM ET USA

    Yesterday we read that three Christian churches in sleepy Columbus, Indiana had Quaran citations painted on their outside walls. 19:88, 3:151, and the word "infidels". How cute. Just an innocent prank. Oh, did I mention that the passages refer to believers of the Incarnation as being liable to execution. Well, just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean there is nothing to be afraid of.

  • Posted by: bruno.cicconi7491 - Sep. 03, 2014 12:33 PM ET USA

    What a contrast to see what bishops and patriarchs who actually live with Islam say and what those who are far removed in comfort and safety say. I wish I could say that this Baltimore bishop says what he says because of a firm trust in God and Christlike meekness, but quite frankly it sounds like cowardice to my ears and I agree with jg in that his use of the word "Islamophobia" is telling.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Sep. 03, 2014 11:13 AM ET USA

    Not everyone loses their head under Sharia. Others are shot or lose hands or are enslaved, etc. Persons like Bishop Madden have lost their history books. 1600 years of experience is long enough to make a judgment. Muslims and the West are like oil and water. Muslims might sometimes be polite, sort of, but their only objective is 'submission'. Their only father is Adam. Ours is God.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Sep. 03, 2014 9:59 AM ET USA

    A perfect example of why bishops should never engage in politics, exactly what Bishop Madden is doing here. The awkward neologism "Islamophobia" resembles the equally ugly and awkward neologism "homophobia" in at least one respect: It tips the partisan hand of those who use it. While he may -- and I hope does -- know a lot about Catholicism, he knows nothing about Mohammedanism if the quote above reflects accurately his thinking.