Jihad, France and Christian Civilisation
Every new day is marked by the rising of the sun, and regrettably, we are getting another daily certainty and reality: every new day sees yet another Islamic terror attack. While they of course occur each and every day all around the world, increasingly they are becoming a daily event in the West.
Anyone can do the math here: since 9/11 there have been 28,895 Islamic terror attacks. In the full 15 years since that dark day there will be 5475 days. Thus we are getting over 5 jihad attacks on average each day somewhere in the world. That is a lot of attacks, and that is a lot of dead people.
If we just look at France over the past few years we see just how greatly these attacks are being stepped up. A graphic visual of this can be found in this article which documents just the past five years in France in which 16 major jihadi attacks are detailed: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33288542
The most recent (at least as of the time of this writing!) was the blatant attack in northern France:
26 July, Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray: A priest was killed in an attack by two armed men on a church in a suburb of Rouen in northern France. The attackers entered the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass, taking the priest, Fr Jacques Hamel, 84, and four other people hostage, before being shot dead by police. President Hollande said the men claimed to be from IS.
Plenty has been written about all this increased jihad activity in the West. If we focus on France only (and not Belgium and Germany and England and America, etc., as well), a number of commentaries have been penned, two of which struck my attention.
English commentator Douglas Murray examines Fr Hamel’s death and asks some key questions. He begins:
It is now 18 months since two gunmen forced their way into the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and set about murdering the staff of that magazine. The gunmen from al-Qaeda in Yemen called for the editor – “Charb” – by name before murdering him and most of his colleagues. In an interview shortly before his death, taking into account the threat to his life which entailed constant security protection, Stéphane Charbonnier had said, “I prefer to die standing than live on my knees.” Charb did die standing, in the office of the magazine he edited.
In the 18 months since the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the massive demonstrations in solidarity on the streets of Paris, France has suffered a terrible set of further terrorist assaults. The ISIS attack (which killed 130 people) last November on the Bataclan Theatre and other sites around Paris and the attack (which killed 84 people) in Nice on July 14 are the deadliest and most prominent. But other acts of terror – including the murder last month in their home of two members of the police, carried out by a man pledging allegiance to ISIS – have gone on and almost become normal.
What “provocation” had Father Hamel provided? If any good can come from an act of such savagery, it would be in the possibility of healing such a rift. Obviously the Pope has condemned the killing of a priest of his own church. But many other anti-clerical figures in France may well pause before the enormity of what the jihadists have once again done. You do not have to be religious to experience revulsion at such an act being done to a man of God in the act of celebrating the Eucharist. The usual debates in French life over the role of the church and its role in the state may be able at least to pause during this period, raising the possibility of a more suitable and lengthy pause in hostilities.
In these two attacks, eighteen months apart – on a magazine office in Paris and a church in Rouen – the nature of the enemy we all face stands clearly before us. An enemy willing to slaughter the most rollicking secularists and the most devout priest, both in their places of work, is an enemy with the entirety of French civilisation and culture in its sights. It is an enemy – extremist Islam – clearly intent not on some kind of tributary offering or suit for peace, but rather an enemy which seeks its opponent’s total and utter destruction. Should this not be the moment for the entirety of one of the greatest cultures on earth to unite as one, turn on this common enemy and destroy it first, in the name of civilisation?
Murray hints at the longstanding debate on church and state, one that cannot be resolved here. And of course much more important is the issue of mosque and state – the two are one and the same in Islam. But the West’s division of the two spheres of authority was fully based on Christian principles, as I have discussed elsewhere: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2012/03/03/islam-tolerance-and-religious-freedom/
Of course the West has gone a long way from the early days where the Judeo-Christian worldview helped to create Western civilisation, to a place where Christianity is now anathema. Today we want public society to be totally bereft of all religious influence.
That of course cannot work, and simply creates a religious vacuum. Secular humanism cannot fill that vacuum in any satisfactory way, while Islam is seeking to do it instead. But that does not save society of course, it enslaves it with everyone forced to submit to sharia law and the loss of freedom.
Seeking to make the West more secular is thus not the answer. Maybe returning to its roots is the real answer. An interesting piece has just appeared by a Paris correspondent for the BBC. He too writes about what is happening in France, and as far as I can tell, he does so from a secular perspective. He starts his piece this way:
The murder of Father Jacques Hamel has triggered a bout of reflection among the French on a subject they normally avoid: their relationship with Catholicism and Christian ethics. Like most European countries, France is in a post-religious phase of its history. Few attend church, and politicians who speak of “Judaeo-Christian” values are often dismissed as right-wing throwbacks.
And yet what the reaction to the jihadi murder campaign of the last 18 months shows is that people are far more influenced by their cultural and religious inheritance than they care to realise. Since the killings began, there have been no crowds on the streets of Nice or Paris chanting “Death to Islamic State”. Instead of flaming torches carried in angry procession, there are candles of remembrance.
And his closing paragraphs are also quite interesting, especially if he is in fact a secularist. He writes:
And yes, it does call for tough measures like the expulsion of foreign offenders and stringent limits on immigration. But there has been no visible far-right backlash. No arm-banded march-pasts in the banlieues. The Front National gives voice to an angry and often inarticulate part of the French population, but it has not gone down the way of violence.
Of course this might change – and the great fear today is that fringe elements on the nationalist far-right decide to take the law into their own hands. That way lies civil conflict and nightmare. But so far one is bound to observe that the country has reacted to this horrific succession of provocations with good sense and an eye on the higher values.
Most French people will argue that these values – tolerance, respect between peoples, forgiveness, eschewal of violence – are part of the country’s enlightened secular tradition. But of course before that they were something else. They were Christian.
Yes quite so. Everything that stands against the bloody values of political Islam is found in the Christian religion. And the ironic thing is, Europe and the West in general, and France in particular, have been working overtime the past century or two to get rid of all Christian influence.
Indeed, France sought to do this in its own bloody fashion back in 1789 with the French Revolution. Now that the secularist experiment is proving to be an abysmal failure, and Islam is rushing in to fill the gap in the West, and proving to also be an even worse failure, now we have not many options left to us.
The anti-Christian mindset of the West can continue, and then we can simply write off the West as a result. Or perhaps we can return to our roots, return to what made possible Western civilisation in the first place, and see if we can turn things around, before it is too late. The choice is ours as Westerners to make.
Let us choose wisely.
12 Replies to “Jihad, France and Christian Civilisation”
I don’t know whether this writer is correct in his analysis, but for me it does make for some sobering thinking:
A good place to start would be to ensure that Australian school children are taught about their Judeo Christian heritage and its influence upon our laws and social mores. In particular they need to understand the values that pertain to the sanctity of life and the intrinsic value of each individual.
This is an excellent article and needs to be shared widely.
Thank you Bill Muehlenberg????
My comment may be a little wide of the article but imagine a situation whereby a terrorist thought twice about killing because his atrocity would cause a mass defection from Islam. Such a condition could happen as Muslims are not the problem, rather Islam is. The first thing the terrorist does wrong is follow the instructions of Islam, fortunately most Muslims fall short of fulfilling that which is asked of them in their Koran. The real difficulty is how do we bring Muslims around to question the teachings of Islam, If only they did that they would convert in droves.
Great piece thanks Bill.
Interesting comments by the secular writer for the BBC. I have seen more and more secular people around me starting to contemplate matters such as ‘who defines good?” and “who defines evil?”. They are reflecting on the characters of the Christian grandparents, relatives etc and some are starting to see the bankruptcy of their worldview. There is a lot of evil change in the air, but there is a lot of positive developments, albeit quiet developments.
Of late, I have done a lot of reflection on the matter of how long does it take for a society to repent and recognise where its only true help, happiness and deliverance can come from.
In the OT, through countless cycles of reformation/deformation, Israel only looked up for help when they had nowhere else to go. Up till that point, they continued in arrogance and defiance.
In the case in the Book of Daniel, even the terrifying event of the ‘hand writing on the wall’, was short lived. They continued to party after the warning and died that very night at the hands of the Medes and Persians.
Likewise, our society seems unwilling to even give time to reflect on where things are going wrong until perhaps when the beer, internet and foxtel comes to a halt. It will be too late for many.
We can have a woe is us attitude. The case looks very hopeless at the moment.
Yet again and again in history, we see God’s power, mercy and deliverance come to the forefront right when everyone started thinking it was game over…
In the meantime it is the task of those of ‘The Way’ to care enough about the directionless souls around us to warn them. That includes warning lukewarm church goers.
I admire the work you do Bill. I wish many more will do the same!
In regard to the three forces contending for control of the West, you missed another very significant force: green paganism. It is highly religious in that it is all about Earth and Nature worship, but is militantly anti-Christian. And it has captured the minds of millions. Just look at the public advertisements proclaiming “green righteousness” and greener-than-thou phariseeism.
For that matter “secular” humanism is highly religious too, as you would well know.
The message needs to be clear: God is not essential to religion. Just look at Buddhism, Shamanism, various forms of animism, and the various forms of pantheism in our world.
The mujahidinat St Etienne must have known that “St Etienne” is French for “St Stephen”, the first martyr of the Jerusalem Church…
It is a bitter irony that Nietzsche, the godfather of modern nihilist atheism, the forerunner of Sartre’s amoral Existentialism, applauded the masculinity and cultural sophistication of early mediaeval Moorish southern Spain and derided the Christian monarchy which eventually overthrew Europe’s first Islamic state uncivilised in comparison to the domain it conquered in the name of Christendom.
The relative quiescence of the National Front in France is unsurprising: The European Axis powers, especially Nazi Germany, were avid supporters of Pan-Arab Nationalists in the Middle East and saw them as natural allies in the Third Reich’s Final Solution for the Jewish Question in the years leading up to and including World War II.
Thanks guys for the helpful comments. Yes Murray green paganism would be another one, although most folks might include it under the broader heading of secular humanism.
Bill, Noticed the word Refujihadis being used more on the net. A powerful word weapon better than rapeugees, ragheads, headchoppers etc. Hopefully it will come into mainstream use.
Wonderful thought provoking article . Thank you
In our local paper, The Sunshine Coast Daily, an article related to the Sonia Kruger issue included a comment from the Islamophobia Register Australia, which said in part that what was needed was a “fact-based conversation free from Hysteria about what is obviously a very inflammatory and sensitive topic”. The website has a section for reporting “islamophobic” incidents (these can be events that have happened to you, events you have witnessed and most concerning, events you have only heard about). The website also includes a comments section and as I am interested in having a “fact-based conversation” regarding Islam, I dashed off a short email. Within a short time, I received an acknowledgment that my “incident” had been logged on their registry! It would appear then, that what they are saying regarding “fact-based Conversation” is just more Taqquia to persuade the uninformed of their desire to contribute to the solution of the problem while in actual fact, they are kow-towing to Islamic propaganda.
Maybe some of your readers might like to check it out and add their own comments.
Regards, Vic Trudeau
I believe that Fr. Jacques Hamel refused to kneel before the jihadists, and so they cut his throat. One has to marvel at the great courage it must have taken to kill an unarmed man of peace who was 84 years old. I applaud the courageous stand taken by this old Priest, and only trust and pray, that if ever such a thing should happen to me that I would have the courage to stand before my accusers with such defiance – although, I wonder if, it was really the refusal to bend his knee to such a satanic force. Either way, this dear man was right.
God bless you
Apparently Fr Hamel “had good relations with those of the Islamic faith in the local area”….”He led a pure, simple life, with an emphasis on building friendships. Church authorities facilitated the giving of land beside his church to local Muslims to build a mosque, and they were given use of the parish hall and other facilities during Ramadan.”
“Efforts have been made by the Christian community to be welcoming to Muslims.”The Sisters even give reading lessons to Muslim kids in tower blocks.”
Sadly, appeasement did not work.