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 July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Archbishop Chaput Speaks at the Napa Institute Conference on Pope Francis and Economic Justice

Image of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is one of the preeminent Churchmen of our age. He offers a prophetic voice for this important time. He not only grasps and articulates Catholic Social Doctrine well, he also understands the real treasure we have been given in this Pope who took the name Francis. I believe that his insights into Pope Francis need to be read by as many people as possible.

By Catholic Online

In matters of economic justice, Francis' concerns are the same as Benedict's and John Paul II's and Pius XI's and Leo XIII's. He understands economic matters through the lens of Church teaching in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Like his ... continue reading


Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


Bridget of Sweden, Marriage and Family, and the Need for Canonized Married Saints Watch

Image of St Bridget of Sweden, her husband Ulf, and all the modern Popes call Christian married couples to become the 'Sweet and Smiling Face of the Church' in this age. This is an age which is desperately in need of all kinds of saints. I suggest we particularly need examples of married, canonized Saints. That is precisely because this is an age where faithful marriage is now counter-cultural. We need examples of men and women who not only embraced it in Christ, but lived it as a but a path to heroic virtue.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The clear teaching of the Bible, the Christian tradition and the re-emphasis of the last Council in the Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council, make clear - we are ALL called to holiness in life. That  is what the Catholic Church regularly refers to as ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading


Obama demands that illegals be allowed to enter U.S. Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of illegal, unaccompanied minors have flooded into the United States since 2014 began, often escaping violence in war torn Central American countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's administration is considering whether or not it will allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras and other war-torn Central American states to enter into the United States illegally and without crossing into the country ... continue reading


Are you ready for the next dust bowl? California is! Watch

Image of A new study suggests that the Colorado River Basin is rapidly running out of water, which may be disastrous for the seven states it supplies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report published by the American space agency and the University of California, the water crisis that is punishing the southwestern United States is likely to worsen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report found that the prime source of water ... continue reading


PLAGUE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Mayflies descend on Wisconsin Watch

Image of When summer arrives, Mayflies take flight and proceed to mate before immediately going back to the water to lay eggs and die.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a plague of Biblical proportions. Ugly mayflies have descended on the state of Wisconsin, covering up exterior services like so much black, metallic dust. Photos coming out of Wisconsin is sure to send viewers itching - so beware of some of the sights in ... continue reading


Catholic Bishops Decry Obama's LGBT executive order as imprudent act of religious discrimination Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth have been strong in their condemnation of President Obama's legislation on LGBT employees. "Today's ... continue reading


A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading


Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... 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

Gospel, John 11:19-27
19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 29th, 2014 Image

St. Martha
July 29: "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique ... 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