Christianity exhorts its adherents to be charitable, but it is really charitable to affirm people in a belief system that tells them that hatred, contempt, and violence are blessed by the deity? The question is pertinent because recently in Nigeria and France, Catholic bishops have used the money donated by their own Catholic people to build mosques for Muslims. Charity, foolishness, or both? History will be the judge, but we can see right now a great deal of what is coming.
Gloria.tv reported Saturday that in France, “Tours Diocese donated money for the construction of a local mosque,” and that “Tours Bishop Vincent Jordy justified his donation on April 15 with the fact that for John Paul II’s 1996 visit to the city, the local Muslims made a symbolic donation which the diocese wanted to reciprocate. Riposte-Catholique.fr adds that in 2015, Auch Diocese – where John Paul II never visited – donated €5000 for a mosque.” Also, the amount of the Muslims’ “symbolic donation” was not reported, but it is not likely to have been enough to build a church, much less two churches.
Meanwhile, Bishop Stephen Mamza of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Yola in Nigeria is building houses in Yola for people who have lost their homes due to jihad terror activity by the Islamic group Boko Haram, whose official name is People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings for Proselytizing and Jihad. Since many of those displaced are Muslims whom Boko Haram didn’t think were Islamic enough, Bishop Mamza also built them a mosque.
In an interview in Nigeria’s Punch, Bishop Mamza explained that “at a certain stage we had over 3,000 people living on our church premises,” and “we thought of what we could do to improve their living standards.” Ultimately, with help from German backers, “we started last year in January the construction of 86 units of houses to be built for the 86 families still in our camp. On the housing estate, we built a church and a mosque and a school for the IDPs,” that is, Internally Displaced People.
Mamza maintained that building the mosque was a simple act of charity: “In the first place, when we played host to these IDPs, we did not discriminate against any one of them. We didn’t ask what religion the IDPs belong to; we didn’t ask for their church denomination; we just treated them as human beings who are in need of help, irrespective of their religion, denomination or tribe.” He explained that “if we were able to build houses for all of them, and also built a church for the Christians among them, then it is only a matter of justice and fairness that we also provide a space of worship for the few Muslims among them….I just felt that since we didn’t leave out the Muslims while providing food for the Christians or leave the Muslims out while building houses for the Christians, it is only just that we also build a mosque for the Muslims as we built a church for Christians.”
As good as this bishop’s intentions were, his gesture didn’t sit well with many Christians in a country where Islamic jihadis murdered a Catholic priest in March and burned a Catholic Church to the ground in February, and where jihadis killed 2200 Christians during 2020, an average of six every day. Would the mosque that Mamza built stop this jihad violence against Christians in Nigeria? Not likely. And so, Mamza recounted, “even from within, people did not see it as a good gesture, at all….Some of them even pointed out that the Boko Haram insurgents are Muslims and they have caused a lot of the havoc for us; they ask, ‘Why should we even go ahead and build a mosque for them?’ But I say, ‘Well, not all the Muslims are Boko Haram (members), not all of them (Muslims) are evil. Those that I know, that we have been living together and taking care of them for the past seven years, I know them to be good. So, there should be no reason why I should discriminate against them. I think that is the reason we built the mosque.’”
Of course that is true that not all Muslims are evil. It is odd, however, for a Christian entity to spend money on building a structure in which congregants will be taught that Jesus is not the Son of God and belief in the Trinity is “excess” (Qur’an 4:171, 19:35), and that Jesus was not crucified (Qur’an 4:157), and that those who believe in the divinity of Christ (that would include Bishop Mamza) are unbelievers (Qur’an 5:17), and that those who (like Bishop Mamza) believe that Jesus is God’s Son are accursed (Qur’an 9:30), and that Christians who do not accept Muhammad and the Qur’an must be fought against and subjugated under Islamic hegemony (Qur’an 9:29).
Also, a hadith has Muhammad predicting that Jesus will return at the end of the world and break the cross, as it is an insult to Allah’s power to say that he would have allowed one of his prophets to be crucified: “Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, ‘By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary [Jesus] will shortly descend amongst you people [Muslims] as a just ruler and will break the Cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya [a tax taken from the non-Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government]. Then there will be abundance of money and nobody will accept charitable gifts.’” (Bukhari 3.34.425)
So the gestures of these two bishops may be dangerous: the jihadis who attack his own people could be incited in the mosque he built. Now that may not matter to Bishops Mamza and Jordy. They are Christian clerics, and Christians are taught to “love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing in return” (Luke 6:35). Very well. Still, in building a house where essential doctrines of Christianity will be denied, and the congregation will be exhorted to fight against Christians, subjugate them under Sharia, and make them pay the jizya (Qur’an 9:29), are they being loving to their Christian flocks? Does they have any obligation of charity to the Christians, or only to the Muslims? After all, it is their own people who may bear the consequences of what is taught in the mosques built with Church funds.
This mosque-building by Catholics is a mistaken idea of what constitutes charity, not surprising amid the general confusion of our age, in which being nice is routinely conflated with being charitable, when there are numerous instances in which they are not the same thing.
But for Catholics, what the Pope would say carries immense weight. Given Pope Francis’ actions since he became Bishop of Rome, Bishops Jordy and Mamza may be on the fast track to a Red Hat.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins―Revised and Expanded Edition. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.