Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By David Jones

9/14/2010 (3 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 (3 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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More U.S.

Why I Said No to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Deadly Watch

Image of I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly unwilling to support a noble cause such as the eradication of a debilitating disease. However, it is vital that we stand for for the fundamental and foundational moral truth which underlies every effort to end disease, the dignity of every human person, including embryonic human persons.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly ... continue reading


Toward a Christian Vision of Human Work On Labor Day Watch

Image of Christians need to bear witness in the real world to the true value, purpose, meaning and dignity of all human work - just as we bear witness to the inherent value and dignity of every human worker. This is a vital part of our witness to an age which has lost its way.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Adam and Eve worked in the garden and it brought them great joy. For the Christian, work is meant to become a participation in the continuing redemptive mission of Jesus, and His ongoing work. Jesus viewed his entire life and mission as work. He was always doing ... continue reading


American Islamic terrorist Fort Hood shooter requests to join Islamic State as a 'citizen' Watch

Image of Nadal Hasan, the man who killed 13 people during a rampage at Fort Hood in 2009, has written a letter to the Islamic State asking to join the terrorist organization as a citizen.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. Army psychiatrist, Nadal Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood back in November 2009 has written a letter to the leader of the Islamic State, asking to become a citizen of the Islamic State's caliphate, an attorney of Husan reported on August 28. LOS ... continue reading


St Augustine on a Personal Relationship with Jesus Watch

Image of St Augustine

By Deacon Keith Fournier

But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we ... continue reading


SHAKEN WINE: Strong earthquake jolts California's wine region Watch

Image of The weekend's temblor was felt widely throughout the region, from more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rumbled through the early Sunday morning hours in the heart of California's wine country. The epicenter was near the city of Napa in the Golden State's north. Fires erupted in a mobile home park where four homes were destroyed and two ... continue reading


Money is NOT the Root of Evil: Living Simplicity Watch

Image of Simplicity is not about the quantity of the goods of the earth we possess. It is about our relationship to them. Jesus said - Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21).

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Learning to live in evangelical Simplicity strips away what impedes love. In finding our proper relationship to the goods of the earth- not rejecting them, craving them, or turning them into an idol- we can learn true freedom. Our eyes are opened and everything begins ... continue reading


Is Transgenderism a Mental Disorder or a Right? Watch

Image of Pope Emeritus Benedict was absolutely correct when he said, - the profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. - Gender is a gift. It is also a given. The dangers of the Gender Identity Movement are becoming increasingly clear.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In a culture where freedom has been redefined as a right to choose anything and liberty has degenerated into license, the newspeak of the age has declared the instrumental use of the body of another to be sexual freedom. It is not freedom. It turns people into ... continue reading


WORST YET TO COME? Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen,' Pentagon says Watch

Image of IS is

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online has been keeping very close watch on the atrocities being committed by Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, and according to a top government official - the worst is yet to come. According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the sophistication, ... continue reading


Lawsuit dropped against devil worshiper in Oklahoma Watch

Image of Lawyers representing Archbishop Paul Coakley had earlier demanded the return of a communion wafer obtained by the group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The leader of a satanic group in Oklahoma City had threatened that he and his followers would defile a consecrated communion wafer as an offering to Satan as a carnal sacrifice at a "Black Mass" ceremony inside Oklahoma City's Civic Center Music Hall. The ... continue reading


Should Americans have job preference over unskilled-illegal immigrants? President Obama doesn't think so Watch

Image of New polls are showing that Americans are tired of illegal immigrants getting benefits at the expense of citizens and legal immigrants.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to the Associated Press: "one of the more popular requests among business and family groups is a change in the way green cards are counted," which would "essentially free up some 800,000 additional visas the first year." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... 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, First Corinthians 2:10-16
10 to us, though, God has given revelation through ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 13-14
8 Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger, full ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:31-37
31 He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Ingrid of Sweden
September 2: Born in Skänninge, Sweden, in the 13th century, St. Ingrid lived ... 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