Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By David Jones

9/14/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

David Jones, a former Muslim and Iraq veteran, weighs in on the teachings of Islam and the need for dialogue.

David Jones, a former Muslim and Iraq veteran, weighs in on the teachings of Islam and the need for dialogue: 'I must publicly speak out in recognition of the Truth I have lived - and to Whom I owe everything. Christ blows our hearts wide open to all of reality.  I believe that as Catholics in America we should support the building of this Islamic Center and mosque. The truth, beauty and goodness of the Catholic faith should not make us afraid. It should make us bold.' 

The building where the Islamic Center, which will house the Mosque, is proposed to be built.

The building where the Islamic Center, which will house the Mosque, is proposed to be built.

Highlights

By David Jones

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/14/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.


ST. JOSEPH, MO. (Catholic Online) - I feel it's time to have a serious dialogue about Islam and religious freedom in the U.S. It is my hope that my Catholic brethren and anyone else who reads this article will finds my position a reasonable one to hold. 

If anyone on this planet understands the concerns of those who are against the building the Ground Zero Mosque, I do.  This includes not building the proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero out of respect for all those who lost their lives there on September 11, 2001. 

However, I am absolutely convinced that most Americans don't have a clue about Islam. Many are completely ignorant as to what it really teaches and the threat it poses to both Europe and the U.S.  Islam by its nature is an ideology, which is inherently political. In many regards, Islam is a closed system, which is not open to reality.  It does not organically develop as Catholicism has done throughout its history. 

Islam considers itself to be a completed (and total) system to be imposed on the rest of the non-Muslim world by any and all means necessary, both through peaceful and non-peaceful means. Therefore, Islam struggles with this concept of religious freedom. 

If your system or ideology is closed, how can you really be free? Many good Muslims are attempting to answer this question though and many others related to it.  We should be open to dialogue with them.  We should offer our friendship.

At this juncture, I think it would be helpful to give a little historical background on myself. After studying Islam for several years during college in the early 1990s, I converted to Islam in my senior year in college.  I was a practicing Muslim during that year.  In fact I was able to attend the convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) the year when it was held in Kansas City.

It was at that convention that I met face-to-face with advocates and recruiters for Khalif'ornia Publication, a play on the word because they were based in California. They were a radical and militant group of Muslims who promoted the formation of Khalifas, Islamic nation-states, here in America, in Europe, and throughout the world. 

I studied their material and listened to their audios.  I became convinced that to be a true Muslim I had to follow their ideology, so I had a decision to make.  If I wanted to remain an American who believed deeply in the right of religious freedom, I needed to leave Islam, and that's exactly what I did.  Eventually, I became an Eastern Rite Catholic.

Fast-forwarding several years...

Recently I returned from a deployment to Iraq.  In fact, my unit was replaced by the unit you have seen all over the news as the last combat unit to leave Iraq.  It was there that I saw the devastating results of this radical and militant version of Islam. 

Once you have smelled burning flesh you will never forget it.  Once you have had to write home to the spouses and parents of soldiers who have been killed in action, you will never forget it. Everyday innocent Iraqi civilians, including women and children, were being targeted by insurgents and brutally killed because of a perceived, real or not, support for the Iraqi government, military or police. 

Most were simply trying to live their lives and just survive. For a year, the valiant soldiers of my unit worked day and night to bring freedom to the Iraqi people, as did so many before them and as others will do after them.  Let us not forget our brethren who have served and are serving so courageously in Afghanistan as well.

As an Eastern Catholic, a Melkite Greek Byzantine Catholic, my heart goes out to the Chaldeans in Iraq, to the Copts in Egypt, and to the Christians throughout the Holy Land and Turkey who have been persecuted for their Christian faith. 

In many countries in the Middle East, religious freedom does not apply to the lives of the common man as it does for us here in America.  What is so desperately needed there must never be forgotten by us here in the U.S.  In many ways it is what sets us apart as a beacon for others to follow.

I do not wish to add to the already hyper-sensitized rhetoric of the mainstream media and of those with political ideologies trying to exploit this issue to advance their own agendas.  The Ground Zero Mosque controversy, though, is something that has weighed heavily on me these days. 

Frankly, the answer I have come to even surprises me in many ways, but I feel I must publicly speak out in recognition of the Truth I have lived - and to Whom I owe everything. This is not something I take lightly for it goes to the core of who I am as a person and who we all are as humans. 

Christ blows our hearts wide open to all of reality.  He gives us an infinite desire to know Him in this world in which He inhabits - if only we have the eyes to see Him. I believe that as Catholics in America we should support the building of this Islamic Center and mosque. The truth, beauty and goodness of the Catholic faith should not make us afraid.  It should make us bold. 

We must be open to dialogue with those who we don't agree with or with those who we don't fully understand.  We must give them the freedom to follow their own religious sense. 

I believe this is what it means to be most fully Catholic - and to be most fully American. Let us continue to honor all those that have fallen in foreign lands to bring freedom to our fellow human beings and to those that lost their lives on 9-11.  I leave everything in the hands of Our Lady.

Disclaimer - The opinions expressed in this article are those solely of the author and not those of the U.S. Army.

---------------
David Jones holds a Masters in Theological Studies from the Institute of Religious and Pastoral Studies, University of Dallas.  While at UD he studied under Douglas Bushman, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ed Peters, and many other outstanding Catholic scholars. He is a member of theFraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Pontifically recognized and approved eccelsial movement.  He has spoken internationally in Italy at the Rimini Meeting and at the Assembly of International Responsibles in La Thuile in addition to speaking throughout much of the United States. 

This article first appeared on September 11, 2010 in the publication ilsussidiaro.net and is used with the kind permission of that publication and the author. His writings have been published in TRACES, God-Spy, Traditional Catholic Reflections and Reports, Catholic Online, The American Catholic, and Il Sussidiario.  He also runs a popular blog entitled La Nouvelle Theologie His conversion story is published in the Italian book entitled Sotto Il Cielo D'America (Under the American Sky) written by Marco Bardazzi.  The introduction of this book has been translated into English and is available on-line here 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Extending the Lie: Ken Blackwell Asks, Which Black Lives Matter? Watch

Image of J. Kenneth Blackwell

By J. Kenneth Blackwell

Almost seven months after the fateful, fatal encounter between Michael Brown and former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, Attorney General Eric Holder officially announced a truth he had been holding close for months - that the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" mantra ... continue reading


Americans gassed up their cars and took to the roads in a big, big way last year Watch

Image of In December, record-breaking traffic volume was reported with drivers logging 251.4 billion miles. Indiana led the pack with the highest single-state increase at 10.5 percent for that month.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's an American trait to gas up the car and take a drive - anywhere, and that certainly proved to be true last year. According to the Federal Highway Administration, or FHWA, Americans drove 3.02 trillion miles last year, the second-highest level of vehicle ... continue reading


Is the U.S. under Invasion? In nine U.S. States, troops to 'operate undetected amongst civilian population' Watch

Image of Despite assurances that the training is to prepare troops for overseas missions, Army documents in the past have made clear that plans for martial law are in place for within the Continental United States, or CONUS.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The military exercise is both mysterious and just a little bit threatening. The controversial Jade Helm military exercise, scheduled to take part in nine U.S. states this summer will involve soldiers operating "undetected amongst civilian populations." The ... continue reading


OPEN BORDERS: Children without guardians continue to stream into the United States Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Children without adult guardians, from the southern border that the United States shares with Mexico, continue to stream into the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, speaking to Congress last week, says that these child immigrants number in the ... continue reading


Bella's Gift: The Santorum Book that Keeps on Giving Watch

Image of The book, Bella's Gift, has shaken me. On more than one occasion, it has forced me to my knees in tears. That is because, in a candid, honest, profoundly spiritual way, this splendidly written book puts the reader in the presence of unconditional love. then, through its deep spiritual truths, it unleashes the dynamic power of amazing grace.

By Keith A Fournier

I was with Rick Santorum at the Awakening Conference in Orlando, Florida. Rick and Karen Santorum are personal friends. Their whole family is a source of inspiration to me. But most especially, that little Princess named Bella Santorum. She is the center, the ... continue reading


Play-doh Christianity and the Vanishing Cross

Image of Bell can have his happy-clappy, navel-centered religion and his wimpy god. He just can't call it Christianity, and he can't claim it's the Church.

By Jennifer Hartline

There is no Christianity without Christ, and no Christ without the cross. There was no need for the cross except for our Redemption, and no need for that except for our sin. To preach Christianity without preaching repentance from sin and taking up your cross is ... continue reading


McDonald's does the unthinkable - Big Mac Shop launches McFashion clothing line Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fast food conglomerate McDonald's had released its own fashion and lifestyle line, with the clothes full of Big Mac prints on them. The McFashion debuted on Tuesday in Sweden, in celebration of their most recent campaign, "I'm Lovin' It 24." Profit generated from the ... continue reading


Top Stories of the Week You Can't Miss Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

From a tragic airplane crash that killed 150 people to the blood of St. Januarius liquifying, this week in news has been quite a roller coaster. We saw nuns mob Pope Francis, a father lose seven of his eight children in a horrifying fire and the first announced ... continue reading


Majority of Latinos in United States speak English Watch

Image of  Latinos who only speak English are often ostracized by Latinos who only speak Spanish or are bilingual. Many Latinos, upon being hired for positions, are presumed to know and speak Spanish.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it would appear to some to be contrary, the majority of Latinos within the continental United States, 62 percent, speak English. A new analysis of the Pew Research Center's 2013 National Survey of Latinos has found that the current demographics will ... continue reading


The Christian Feast of the Annunciation is About More than Mary Watch

Image of The Annunciation: The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you. (Luke 1:26,27)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Walking along this Way of Yes, leads us into a dialogue, a conversation, a communion, a new Way of life, the Christian Way. By saying Yes, offering our own Fiat, we become consecrated and enlisted in the ongoing mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary shows us that ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 49:1-6
1 Coasts and islands, listen to me, pay attention, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put ... Read More

Gospel, John 13:21-33, 36-38
21 Having said this, Jesus was deeply disturbed and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 31st, 2015 Image

St. Benjamin
March 31: St. Benjamin, Martyr (Feast Day - March 31) The Christians in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter