'Militant religion' shows no tolerance toward those who dare to disagree A bishop's perspective on Islam

Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2001

One sees many white, Anglo-Saxon, mostly Protestant members of Congress and others on television today vouching for the "peaceful" nature and intent of Islam. Oprah Winfrey has done a show on "modern Muslim women" -- none of whom would be allowed to dress in contemporary clothing, be educated or even appear on television if they lived in radical Muslim states.

I asked the Right Rev. Bullen Dolli, an Episcopal bishop in Sudan, what he believes about the nature and intent of contemporary Islam. "It is a militant religion," he tells me and laughs at those who serve as its character witnesses.

Bishop Dolli was in Washington last week at the invitation of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. He attempted to warn Congress and anyone else who would listen of the dangers to his country and the United States posed by Islam, especially in its militant form.

In Sudan, says Bishop Dolli, the coercive instruments of the state use brutal force to ensure that no other religion but Islam is practiced. The congregation of All Saints Cathedral in Khartoum, a peaceful assembly of Christians, was recently disbanded and many members were arrested, tried in kangaroo courts and either imprisoned or punished by caning.

Bishop Dolli says former Sudanese President Sadiq el-Mahdi has prophesied that by 2010, the world will be dominated by Islam. His prophecy is written in Sudanese school textbooks.

In Sudan, says Bishop Dolli, many Christian church buildings have been either bulldozed or bombed from the air. Non-Muslims suffer persecution in employment, and all women, whether Muslim or not, are forced to wear the black chador and veil. The government army has been renamed "Jundy Allah" (the Army of Allah) and they fight jihad (holy war) against those in Southern Sudan and non-militant Moslems.

Slavery continues to be practiced by the murahaleen, members of government-backed militias who regularly conduct raids against Christians in Southern Sudan. The murahaleen have killed thousands, enslaved children and young women, stolen cattle, plundered and burned food stores and crops and are reported by various human rights organizations to have raped both men and women.

Over 2 million Sudanese civilians are estimated to have died since 1983 as a result of the continuing warfare, according to the IRD. Many millions more have been forced to flee their homes.

Bishop Dolli says radical Islam's goal is to dominate the entire African continent with its militant, oppressive, dangerous and increasingly popular brand of religion. So-called "Islamic moderates," in the bishop's view, are among the first targeted for extermination by the extremists, even before they go after Jews and Christians.

If Sudan is too far away to worry about, is Potomac, Md., close enough?

The Washington Post's Marc Fisher recently visited a Muslim school in that D.C. suburb. What he found ought to send chills up every American spine. An eighth-grader told Fisher: "If I had to choose sides, I'd stay with being Muslim. Being an American means nothing to me. I'm not even proud of telling my cousins in Pakistan that I'm American."

The school principal said: "Allegiance to national authority is one thing, but the one who gives us life is more entitled to that authority. This is the story of religion through all time. When national laws and values go counter to what the Creator believes, we are 100 percent against it."

When Christians, Jews and those of most other faiths disagree with the American government, they have worked within the system to change it, or in extreme cases (as with Martin Luther King Jr.) have been willing to suffer government's punishment for violating our laws for a nobler purpose. It is different with militant Islam, which seeks to dominate the nation in which it grows and, when in control, diminishes the rights of all who disagree.

Don't think so? Is there a country controlled by Islamic militants that guarantees equal rights for all? Why are we allowing Muslim schools in this country to promote ideas that are seditious? Bishop Dolli knows better. Why don't the rest of us, especially after Sept. 11?

Cal Thomas writes for Tribune Media Services.



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