Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By David Jones

9/14/2010 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (

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.


By David Jones

Catholic Online (

9/14/2010 (5 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 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 October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More U.S.

BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big and so powerful, you won't believe this MASSIVE SHOCKING fact about it! Watch

Image of Obama is the titular head of the world's most nefarious terrorist organization, a title he may have inherited from his predecessor, and that will be passed to his successor.


If you were asked, what is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in human history, how would you answer? Global warming? Vaccines? The Moon Landing? Entire religions?  (Not that we agree with these). But what would you say? In a moment, we're going to offer an answer ... continue reading

'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for best deals Watch

Image of Sales for pricey items such as electronic devices erupt into violence on


Everyone has had their turkey leftovers from the previous day's Thanksgiving Feast - and now it's out the door to the nearest "big box" store in a mad scavenger hunt called "Black Friday," where shoppers trample each other for the best deals then can get just before ... continue reading

President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in Thanksgiving address Watch

Image of The president then went on to say that, all Americans must open their neighborhoods, their homes, and hearts to Syrian refugees.


United States President Barack Obama called on Americans to welcome Syrian refugees this Thanksgiving season, who - like the pilgrims that set sail on the Mayflower, were likewise fleeing persecution in their native land. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart Watch

Image of Around tables throughout America, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gather with mothers and fathers, Grandpas and Grandmas, extended family, neighbors and friends to thank God and one another. And then, we feast; not only on the food, but even more importantly, on the gift of the love which informs all family relationships and true friendships, the real source of lasting joy, the love of the God who gave us life and liberty.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Happy Thanksgiving Day. May it be a day for love and gratitude. No matter how difficult the challenges we face as a Nation, we have much to be grateful for. As we give thanks, we will find the strength we need to love even more fully. As we practice regularly ... continue reading

New ISIS video taunts United States to 'bring it on' Watch

Image of While the video is pumping up Islamist State, the fact of the matter is is the group is suffering heavy losses on the ground form allied bombardment, especially since Russia began bombing the group


A new video from the Islamic State is highlighting the high number of U.S. soldiers who commit suicide, in effect to tell the world's last remaining superpower to "bring it on." U.S. President Barack Obama has since dismissed ISIS as "a bunch of killers with ... continue reading

Horrific outrage erupts over proposed mosque in Virginia after Paris attacks Watch

Image of The Muslim community in Fredericksburg, Virginia has received support from the local Christian and Jewish clergy.


"Nobody wants your evil cult," declared a man at a zoning meeting in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was lobbing his invective at several American Muslims there over a proposed mosque to be built there. "Every one of you are terrorists. I don't care what you say. ... continue reading

The revealing truth behind the traditional presidential Thanksgiving turkey pardon Watch

Image of President Ronald Reagan was the first U.S. president to use the word


President Obama will pardon two turkeys - named Tom One and Tom Two - from a turkey farm in Modesto California on Thanksgiving Eve as part of an annual presidential tradition. Obama will make a few jokes with his family and then pardon the turkeys to live out ... continue reading

'Domestic terrorism': 5 People shot during Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis Watch

Image of Despite a shooting at a Minneapolis Black Lives Matter protest, the group plans to return to the precinct to continue their protests.


Protesters were standing outside the 4th Precinct in Minneapolis for Black Lives Matter in the case of 24-year-old Jamar Clark when gunshots rang out. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -Five protesters were shot outside the police station Tuesday afternoon as one ... continue reading

Planned Parenthood sues the State of Texas: Find out why NOW Watch

Image of The complainants maintain that planned intervention of the government is a violation of the federal statute and the 14th Amendment, which ensures equal protection.


Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit this week against the State of Texas for blocking its Medicaid funding. Planned Parenthood says that the decision was motivated by politics - and not because of health care concerns. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading

Terror threats spark shocking WORLD WIDE TRAVEL ALERTS Watch

Image of In either case, travelers can expect beefed-up security at airports in the coming weeks - and longer lines.


It is the start of the holiday season in the United States - and with the world still thoroughly rattled after the attacks in Paris this past November 13, travel alerts are in high effect. Even worse, those who decide to stay home through Thanksgiving and ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Saturday, November 28, 2015
  • President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in ...
  • 'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for ...
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • St. Catherine Laboure: Saint of the Day for Saturday, November 28, 2015

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 7:15-27
15 'I, Daniel, was deeply disturbed and the visions that passed through ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87
82 Bless the Lord, all the human race: praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:34-36
34 'Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened by debauchery and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2015 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, ... Read More