I felt very discouraged at Mass this morning. The priest virtually incited hatred of Islam. In paraphrasing he said something like “The Boston Marathon bombings was part of the global jihad of Islamic supremacists on Christians.” He followed these loaded statements by talking about evil, the devil and how Islam has basically “always been this way.”
These threatening words are careless at best. Throwing the word jihad in a sermon without any context or discussion of the various forms of jihad might lead worshippers to believe that jihad is about only mass murder and destruction. The speech also hits on all the major stereotypes like “Muslims are inherently violent” and “Islam supports terrorism.” It’s truly shameful behaviour, especially considering it came from a “holy man.”
I don’t know about other worshippers, but I go to church for spiritual reasons, not to hear about someone’s political beliefs. I also don’t attend Mass to indulge in fear mongering. If I wanted to do that I would go to a lecture by some prominent bigot who bashes Islam for a living.
Politicizing the Marathon bombings, especially in a holy space, is outrageous and radical. I can only imagine what Pope Francis I, who has spoken so openly about improving relations between Catholics and Muslims, would say about these inflammatory remarks.
I plan on meeting with the priest and handing him a copy of the documentary I made called “Journey into America,” which examines American identity through the lens of Muslims and which calls for a return to the pluralist vision of the American founding fathers.