The Muslim Threat ?

anti-naziEmbarrassed, horrified and a little dirty. That’s how I felt last week when I discovered that an acquaintance who had been joining me in denouncing Israel’s slaughter of civilians in Gaza on a social networking site was possibly only doing so because he dislikes Jews. Cliché can be disturbingly real as well as disappointing.

My acquaintance describes himself as an ‘ethnonationalist’ and a ‘race realist.’ He resists the term ‘Nazi’ when I suggest it, not for any of the reasons you or I might, but because he rejects nationalism in favour of race-orientation and socialism just on principle. He believes races should not interbreed; that we should defend the ‘uniquely’ brilliant and beautiful accomplishments of white European culture against dilution by the ‘evil’ of multiculturalism (which, inexplicably, he blames for global capitalism) and that Islam is the greatest threat the world faces. He is a racist. He is more thoughtful and honest than most bigots, but that is also what he is. And he is not alone.

Last week saw a furore erupt over a Dutch politician, Geert Wilders being denied entry to the UK because of a film he made: a disgusting piece of Goebbels-style, violently anti-Muslim propaganda (I watched it on the internet – it really is), called Fitna. The film quotes (and, many Muslims online contend, misquotes) passages from the Quran and illustrates them with atrocities supposedly committed by Muslims. It then asserts that Muslim populations are growing in Europe and that we (supposedly White, Judeo-Christians) should fight Islam.

Many Christians will have some sympathy with these ideas. After all, growing Islam means fewer Christians and therefore fewer people in heaven, right? Maybe Christians should support the likes of Wilders, despite the racism?

I think not. The Quran may contain disturbing verses, but so does the Bible. Start from Deuteronomy 13 and work outward. Muslims have done terrible things, but so have Christians. Start from the first Crusade and the rape and murder of men women and children, Jew and Muslim by conquering Christians and move forward through Bosnia and Nigeria. Western European culture (calling it ‘white’ is ridiculous) has much to recommend it, but so does Islamic culture, and both have incubated extremists, evil, corruption and destructive forces.

Another example of why racism is stupid (from www.someofnothing.com)

Another example of why racism is stupid (from http://www.someofnothing.com)

To oppose the growth and spread of Islam on these grounds makes the fundamental mistake of secularised Christendom: confusing culture and nation with faith. The reason to follow Christianity is not found in its followers (though we hope we would give some reason). It is in the one whom we follow. So the spread of Islam can be seen either as an opportunity for witness or a failure on our part to do so because we are more concerned with outward culture than inner faith, more focused on worldly influence and power than the growth of the Kingdom. Hating our ‘enemies’ is a seductive temptation for all Christians, but racist Islamophobia should be resisted as the moral filth and intellectual excrement it is, while never being ashamed to proclaim the uniqueness and sufficiency of Christ. We may reject Islam’s truth claims, but never Muslims as people or their right to their own culture.

As the Bishop of Blackburn rightly said last week, in defence of banning Anglican clergy from BNP membership: ‘You cannot be a racist and speak on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ.’

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