Is the CCP Buying the Pope’s Silence On the Uighurs?

So says one Chinese dissident.

That tireless advocate for Islam, Pope Francis, is facing criticism for his uncharacteristic silence over a Muslim population that is actually suffering injustice and persecution: the Uighurs of China. ChurchMilitant.com reported Tuesday that Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar, denounced “the potential genocide” of “one million Uighur and other Muslims in China.” But Francis remains resolutely silent. The reason why may be found in his bank balance.

Rahima Mahmut, head of the World Uighur Congress, declared: “Pope Francis, in particular, speaks almost every week at the Sunday Angelus, and on many other occasions, about issues of injustice in the world. He has often addressed the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims. Yet there is one country whose human rights record he has not highlighted — China — and one people whose suffering he has not spoken about — the Uighurs.”

A dissident who has been exiled from China, Guo Wengei, may have provided the key to the Pope’s curious silence in late June, when he charged the Chinese Communist Party pays the Vatican $2 billion each year in exchange for silence about the Chinese government’s human rights abuses.

If that is true, it explains everything. The Uighurs don’t pay Francis, but the ChiComs do. If the Uighurs did pay him, he might speak up on their behalf. As I told ChurchMilitant, his eye, in this case, appears to be squarely on the bottom line, not on the humanitarian concerns he speaks out about so enthusiastically in other contexts.

Up until now, it has seemed that if anyone was paying Francis, it was Islamic organizations. Or maybe he undertook his enthusiastic advocacy of Islam for free, out of love for the Religion of Peace. Whatever the case may be, his efforts have not gone unappreciated. In September 2017, Pope Francis met in the Vatican with Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, the secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), a group that has been linked to the financing of jihad terror. During the meeting, al-Issa thanked the pope for his “fair positions” on what he called the “false claims that link extremism and violence to Islam.”

Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar, has also thanked the Pope, for his “defense of Islam against the accusation of violence and terrorism.” Al-Tayeb is Pope Francis’ favored dialogue partner. In February 2019, they published “A Document On Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” during the Pope’s trip to the United Arab Emirates. It was as filled with falsehoods and wishful thinking as one would expect coming from a practiced deceiver such as el-Tayeb and someone so eager to be deceived as Pope Francis.

One of its egregiously false statements was this: Terrorism, it said, “is not due to religion, even when terrorists instrumentalize it. It is due, rather, to an accumulation of incorrect interpretations of religious texts and to policies linked to hunger, poverty, injustice, oppression and pride.”

So are the authoritative sources in Sunni Islam, the schools of Sunni jurisprudence (madhahib), all incorrect in their interpretations of the Qur’an and Sunnah when they say that Islam teaches warfare against unbelievers? Francis and al-Tayeb would apparently have us think so.

Meanwhile, if anyone is paying Francis, it isn’t persecuted Christians: the Pope has committed the Catholic Church to silence about Muslim persecution of Christians as the price for that dialogue. The Associated Press reported in 2016 that the pope “embraced the grand imam of Al-Azhar, the prestigious Sunni Muslim center of learning, reopening an important channel for Catholic-Muslim dialogue after a five-year lull and at a time of increased Islamic extremist attacks on Christians.”

Why had there been this “five-year lull”? Because “the Cairo-based Al-Azhar froze talks with the Vatican to protest comments by then-Pope Benedict XVI.” What did Benedict say? Andrea Gagliarducci of the Catholic News Agency explains that after a jihad terrorist murdered 23 Christians in a church in Alexandria 2011, Benedict decried “terrorism” and the “strategy of violence” against Christians, and called for the Christians of the Middle East to be protected.

So Pope Benedict condemned a jihad attack, one that al-Azhar also condemned, and yet al-Azhar suspended dialogue because of the pope’s condemnation. Then Pope Francis wrote to the Grand Imam of al-Azhar affirming his respect for Islam, and the Grand Imam warned him that criticizing Islam was a “red line” that he must not cross. That strongly suggests that the “dialogue” that Pope Francis has now reestablished will not be allowed to discuss the Muslim persecution of Christians that will escalate worldwide, especially since an incidence of that persecution led to the suspension of dialogue in the first place.

Francis, for his part, in sharp contrast to Benedict, has proclaimed that “authentic Islam and the proper understanding of the Koran reject every form of violence,” doing his bit to ensure that as many Christians as possible would remain ignorant and complacent about the jihad threat that his precious “dialogue” does nothing to mitigate.

All this makes his silence regarding the Uighurs all the more curious and self-contradictory. But whether Guo’s charges are true is something we are likely never to know: the Vatican is not exactly forthcoming with information that may make the Vicar of Christ look bad.

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

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 the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

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Photo credit: Long Thien

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