Reflections on the Power of Islam

It was on April 1, 2013 (April Fool’s Day) that the following headline appeared on MSN News: Lego scraps Star Wars toy Jabba after ‘anti-Muslim’ complaints. A group called the Turkish Cultural Association of Austria complained that Jabba, a Star Wars crime king-pin figure inhabiting his mosque-like desert palace, depicted Moslems as “terrorists.” Moreover, the Association claimed that the play set presents Asians and Oriental figures, which are part of this set, as “deceitful” and “criminal” characters who killed others, ran guns, and were slave masters. The presence of guns and weapons inside of Jabba’s Palace, which resembled Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia (the Church made mosque, then museum, and soon to be mosque again) and Beirut’s Jami el-Kabir mosque, was called an “act of sacrilege.”

The Turkish Cultural Association’s general secretary, Melissa Gunes, was quoted as saying: “In this Lego set Jabba is portrayed as a bad man. He smokes an oriental water pipe (a hookah) and keeps a princess as a belly dancer in chains. That is the sort of thing that should not be in a child’s bedroom.” The general secretary then concluded by stating that the Satanic-horned creature, Darth Maul, on the packing was “shocking.”

In light of the preceding complaints, the Lego Group decided to curtail the production of the Jabba Palace play set. That’s right! The Lego Group, which sells products in over 130 countries and is the world’s third largest manufacturer of play materials bent its knee to the Turkish Cultural Association of Austria by agreeing to stop the production of what the Association considered to be an offensive toy. In their attempt to save face, the Lego Group contended that the toy had run its course in the “business cycle” and was to be discontinued in 2013 anyway. However, the Turkish Cultural Association believed otherwise, claiming that it was their initiative that led to the decision to stop the production of this anti-Muslim play set. Those of us who have witnessed the rise of Islam over the last fifty years might be inclined to agree with the Turks on this. The Lego Group, although they are unlikely to admit it, recognized that offending Islam could lead to vastly negative consequences, which they naturally preferred to avoid. Hence, good-bye to the infamous Jabba and the mosque-like Palace, in which he resided.

The fact that the Islamists are feared and have the power to intimidate has increased exponentially with the erosion of the Catholic Church over the past fifty years. For me, this erosion of influence became blatantly evident in December of last year. An article entitled “American Atheists Place 2012 ‘Myth’ Holiday Billboard in Times Square: ‘Keep The Merry, Dump The Myth,’” appeared in The Huffington Post on December 12, 2012. In the article a picture of a billboard was presented, the purpose of which was to mock and eradicate the true meaning of Christmas. This billboard was a caustic insult to the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It presented a picture of a smiling Santa Clause with a subtitle underneath stating “Keep the MERRY!” Below this was a picture of the suffering Christ followed by the statement, “Dump the MYTH!” The billboard, which was right in the middle of Times Square, was signed by American atheistswith the URL to the web site of the American Atheists Center — atheists.org.

This brazen “in your face” insult was bound to arouse righteous anger in those of us who still have retained the Catholic backbone passed on to us by a Hierarchy that believed it was, after all, leading the “Church Militant.” However, it was obvious that arousing our indignation was of little concern to those atheists and their business associates who allowed this blasphemy to be displayed during the Christmas Season. One might ask whether the American Atheists would dare create and display a billboard, which mocked Milad un Nabi, the birthday of Mohammed on January 13, or poked fun at Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. How would the Islamists react to such a “Keep the Merry, Dump the Myth” billboard mocking their religion right in the middle of Times Square?

The answer to this question is obvious. The threat of retaliation keeps groups, such as the American Atheists, from publicly mocking Allah and Mohammed. The Islamists strike fear into the hearts of those who make fun of what they consider to be sacred. And as the Turkish Cultural Association of Austria showed, they mean “business” in the true sense of the word, enough so that even the Lego Group, a rich and influential global enterprise, acquiesced to their demands. As practicing Catholics, we, too, must mean business by openly opposing those who mock Jesus Christ and His Church. As the last fifty years have shown, ignoring, dialoguing, and compromising with the diehard enemies of our Savior have only weakened, not strengthened, the Church Militant. Not only has the Church failed to obtain the respect of Its adversaries, but it has become the laughing stock of the secular world. The Church’s enemies have feasted on the hypocrisy and scandals, which have compromised Its ability to influence those moral issues currently plaguing our nation.

In the days when the Church Militant better lived up to its name, the Hierarchy was not only respected, but it had such moral authority and applied it accordingly. A good example of this occurred in December of 1956, fifty-seven years ago, when the movie Baby Doll staring Carroll Baker was condemned by the Legion of Decency. It was described as, “grievously offensive to Christian and traditional standards of morality and decency” (Wikipedia). Cardinal Francis J. Spellman, Archbishop of New York called the movie “sinful” and forbade Catholics to see it. He denounced the movie from the pulpit in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Other Cardinals, Bishops, and clergy followed his lead. The laity clearly understood that it was a mortal sin to ignore the Archbishop’s directive and they behaved accordingly. To do otherwise could lead to the loss of one’s soul. The fear of going to Hell was taken seriously back then, not to be ignored as it is today. Unlike current times, the Church Hierarchy and the laity were joined together as an army that fought together to protect Christ’s Church when She was assailed by Her enemies.

Baby Doll was banned in many countries such as Sweden. Even Time magazine was on board with the Catholic Church, condemning the movie and describing it as the, “dirtiest American made motion picture that had ever been legally exhibited” (“New Picture,” Time, December 14, 1956, cited in Wikipedia). Would anyone believe that this could happen today? Thanks largely to the Church’s opposition, Baby Doll was withdrawn from being released in most U.S. theaters. The movie was never commercially successful, failing to make a profit. Where are such Cardinals, Bishops, and Priests today?

(True enough, the Church of that era was not as impregnable as many thought it to be. Americanism, latent Modernism, and Liberalism weakened her even then — even in “The Good Old Days.”But the cancer had not done so much damage yet.)

In the days gone by, the billboard campaign by the American Atheists would have never been attempted. And if it had occurred, marked vocal opposition, moral indignation, and economic repercussions against them and the businesses allowing this to occur would have been enacted. The Church Militant has turned into the Church Marshmallow. Unless we return to the former, more and continued insults can be expected. Unfortunately, given the current state of affairs, such a change is unlikely to come about soon.

In light of the preceding, we need to solicit the help of Saint Michael the Archangel more than ever. Saint Michael, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. Give us the strength to stand firmly and forthrightly for those dogmas of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Let not the quest for human respect lead to us to make concessions and compromises, which weaken the Faith and the Church founded by Jesus Christ. Rather, help us to stand with courage in defense of this Church, outside of which there is no salvation.

  • GeneDe

    In the article: ‘Eurabia’ Demographics a Myth?, Mr. Jenkins points out the declining birth rates in the various Muslim countries and implies that they may not take over the western, “civilized” European nations as some think will happen. I commented on that post… But note that everything is connected; that includes their “power” to influence such things as this post points out. I contend that it is not just the demographics involved, but all aspects of the “power” of Islam. The same can be said regarding the onslaught of the homosexual movement to affect laws as well as make the sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance acceptable as a “normal” part of the makeup of society. True, they — the homosexuals — can’t reproduce, but they can get their filthy hands on children that eventually can, and they might continue the agenda of the radicals. The Church must stand up to these and other elements of the culture of death, especially the killing of the pre-born if there is to be the slightest hope of countering these horrible trends. But will they? I believe it was Pope Leo XIII that condemned Americanism and feared that the Church in America would “make nice” so as not to offend our non-Catholic brothers. His fears have come to fruition. Mother of God, help us!

  • Gregory

    Let me add my two cents. Islam has been around for fourteen centuries. I tend to agree with Hillaire Belloc that Islam is more of a Christian heresy than a new religion. This is based on the fact that all of the personalities in the Old and New Testaments are found in Islam – with the exception of St. Paul. As I understand it, the Muslims believe that St. Paul corrupted the New Testament and originated the idea that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Muslims revere Christ as a prophet and also honor His mother.

    Muslims recognize both the Old and New Testament (called the Injil in Arabic). Where we part company with the Muslims is in their acceptance of the Qu’ran and their prophet Muhammed. The Muslims do not recognize the Trinity, but then neither do the Jews.

    As regards the name Allah, this translates as “the God” in Arabic. And Allah is the word used by Arab Christians centuries before Islam came into existence, and is still in Arabic versions of the Bible.

    That said, I would like to point out that we are not witnessing a sudden assault on Christianity by Islam because they have decided that we cannot coexist. We coexisted for centuries. What we are seeing is radical elements within Islam that have been inflamed by an aggressive, intrusive foreign policy that includes sanctions, bombing and invasions of Muslim nations. At the same time, they see how Muslims are portrayed in the West, and they see all sorts of perversions that some Muslims associate with Christianity. This includes the glamorization of the homosexual lifestyle, abortion, and other things that are completely incompatible with Christianity – and Islam.

    Because many Muslims identify the West with Christianity (!), and they see our foreign policy as attempting to demonize them and destroy their religion, a small percentage of them attack Christians in the Middle East. Christians and Jews lived for centuries in Muslim lands generally without persecution. There are still about 20,000 Jews living in Iran. There have always been intolerant groups in the Middle East, usually targeting Muslims with whom they disagreed. But then, we have seen the same thing in Europe – Catholics and Protestants killing each other. And we still see this type of mentality in Northern Ireland.

    My point it, it is our own politicians who are responsible for the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. But this is what politicians do.

  • GeneDe

    As you point out, most of the antagonism of the Muslims toward Christianity and the West, is due to our pathetic, failed foreign policy. We invade and we expect those peoples not to defend themselves, however they choose to do it? We classify them as “terrorists”, vilify them, and claim that the only way to nip the potential acts of “terrorism” on our shores is to sacrifice our liberties for “security.” And now, of all things, we — you and I — are the suspected “terrorists” because we are children of God, not of Adam. We refuse to bow down to the secular humanists that are running and ruining our country, and that is a sure sign that WE are now the targets of the so-called DOJ and DHS. A lot can be said here…

  • Fulton

    I do not agree with you at all GeneDe. Did we provoke Islam when they took by blade our Holy Lands? What about when they took the blade to the pilgrims and spilled so much blood that we went on march with a crusade? How about when they stormed North and took the blade to the Byzantine Empire? What about when America had no previous history in the East and had sailors taken in as slaves in the early 19th century, and when Jefferson asked why he received the reply:

    It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise – Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman

    You can take up the argument that we “deserve” to be the victims because of our meddling in the East but history shows us whether you meddle or not you are an infidel and the ideal Islamic state is a political theocracy the likes we see in Iran & Saudi Arabia. How peaceful are they towards their minority Christian populations?

  • GeneDe

    You are entitled to your historical opinion. I am talking about the current policies of our last few presidents: Kennedy onward. We covertly help to set up regimes that are bound to fail; we provide weapons to the “rebels” who fight — who? The Russians were beaten by tribesmen — that WE supported. So, by proxy, we were fighting the Russians in Afghanistan. The Muslims that we armed are the same ones we have been fighting for 12 years now. We use drones to kill the “bad guys”, but oh, so what if we take out a few innocents. The button pushers don’t care, so long as they get their pay and promotions. We invade sovereign countries to bring American style “democracy” — and we know what that means! I stand by what I said: we are despised for our pathetic, failed foreign policies. And yes, of course, we Catholic Christians have to defend ourselves — whether from Muslims who land on our shores, or from the tyrant in Washington: foreign or DOMESTIC enemies. The oath I took twice — I served in two branches of the military. God bless.

  • schmenz

    Much of what you say is not in dispute, Fulton. But what sense does it make to take a stick and poke it into a hornet’s nest? Relatively speaking Islam was in a quiescent period for a few centuries…until 1948 when the Zionists invaded Palestine and began the troubles there with the help and blessings of the USA. And the USA has been helping the Israeli ethnic cleansers ever since. And stirring up the hornet’s nest.

    Much if not most of the current problems we here have with Islam can be traced to that, I’m afraid.