U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Callista Gingrich, in an official January 16, 2020 written statement on the launching, at her residence, of the so-called “Abrahamic Faiths Initiative,” (AFI) opined, rapturously:
“The Abrahamic Faiths Initiative serves as a powerful demonstration that, through fraternity, cooperation, and mutual respect between the Abrahamic faiths, peace in our world is possible.”
Last February, 2019, to commemorate the signing of the Abu Dhabi Declaration, in conjunction with a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Pope Francis and Ahmad al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University—Sunni Islam’s Papal equivalent of its Vatican—UAE despot Sheikh Al-Nayan ordered the construction of the Abrahamic Family House on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. When Ambassador Gingrich gave her live remarks to the AFI at Villa Richardson on January 14, 2020, she acknowledged Grand Imam Tayeb’s signing of the Abu Dhabi “Document on Human Fraternity” as critical inspiration for the initiative:
“The Abrahamic Faiths Initiative was inspired in part by the seminal Document on Human Fraternity and Living Together, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi last year.”
Affording Grand Imam al-Tayeb a prominent foundational role in the AFI, by itself, should have given the Jewish (especially), and Christian participants, pause.
As Egypt’s Grand Mufti, and since 2010, till now, Grand Imam Papal equivalent of Sunni Islam’s Vatican, Al-Azhar University, Al-Tayeb has sanctioned homicide bombing murder of Israeli Jews, including non-combatants; condemned Jews, eternally, openly equating them with Zionists, while invoking Koran 5:82—a central Antisemitic verse—for causing “Muslim distress…since the inception of Islam 1400 years ago”; accused “Global Zionism” of midwifing ISIS and related jihad terror groups to “destroy the Middle East”; claimed the “Zionist entity,” i.e., Israel, was plotting to “march on the Kaaba [in Mecca] and on the Prophet’s Mosque [in Medina]. This is on their minds and in their hearts”; denied (notwithstanding his own blatant examples!) the very existence of antisemitism, “the issue of antisemitism is a lie that continues to deceive nations to this day”; and rejected basic freedom of conscience and sanctioned the Sharia-based killing of “unrepentant” apostates from Islam.
Al-Tayeb’s intimate involvement with the AFI, and the movement’s clear UAE rootedness, in the heartland of Islamdom, is pathognomonic of the fact that “Abrahamism” is quintessential Islamic supremacism.
Islam’s authoritative “Abrahamic” theology is rooted in Koran 3:67, and its exegesis. This is perhaps best demonstrated through the prism of al-Tayeb’s immediate predecessor as Al-Azhar Grand Imam, the late Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi (d. 2010), arguably Sunni Islam’s greatest modern Koranic commentator. Tantawi maintained:
This noble verse [Koran 3:67] mentions Abraham and exposes those unbelievers from the People of the Book [Scripture] who claimed the Abraham was a Jew or a Christian as it shows that, unlike Abraham, it was they who were polytheists…There is an insinuation here concerning the Islamic nation (Umma) and an acknowledgment that the followers of Muhammad are more worthy of being affiliated with Abraham than the People of the Book because the believers sought the truth and believed in it. Conversely, the People of the Book sought worldly and material things in place of things heavenly and spiritual. They forsook the truth and went after their lusts and desires.
Tantawi’s gloss on Koran 3:67 ends with an avowal of conspiratorial Islamic Jew-hatred:
After these repeated appeals to the People of the Book, and after all the brilliant arguments and proofs presented to vouch for the validity and truthfulness of this religion [Islam], and after all the reprimands and admonitions hurled at them for turning away from the truth and turning others from it as well, the Koran recounted some of the malicious paths that the Jews embarked upon to deceive and deal with Islam and Muslims with craftiness and cunningness.
The late Professor Ismail al-Faruqi (d. 1986) was the Muslim godfather of the modern “Abrahamic faith” paradigm for interfaith dialogue. Faruqi was Al-Azhar University-trained in Islamic Studies (1954-1958), and a fellow at McGill University, where he studied Judaism and Christianity, before teaching Islamic Studies in Karachi, Pakistan, and the History of Religions at Chicago University, and Syracuse University. From 1968, until his death in 1986, Faruqi was both a Professor of Islamic Studies, and History of Religions, at Temple University. As noted in the Foreword to Faruqi’s, “Islam and Other Faiths”, a compendium of his essays spanning over two decades, written by Georgetown University Professor, and Director of its Center For Muslim-Christian Understanding, John Esposito,
His [Faruqi’s] speeches, participation and leadership role in inter-religious meetings and organizations sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Vatican, and the Inter-Religious Peace Colloquium of which he was Vice-President from 1977 to 1982, made him the most visible Muslim contributor to the dialogue of world religions. In his writings, he set out the principles and bases for Muslim participation in inter-religious dialogue..
Bat Ye’or’s 2004 Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, summarized with frank incisiveness how Faruqi’s “Abrahamic” conception of “interfaith dialogue” was a toxic brew of Islamic supremacism, brooking only apologetic, bowdlerized discussion of Islam, while concurrently sanctioning jihad war to impose Islam’s universal, Sharia-based order—in particular upon Jewish Israel.
Faruqi’s own words provide irrefragable confirmation of Bat Ye’or’s synopsis, including the classical-cum-modern Islamic theological bases for “Abrahamism,” and jihadism.
[Faruqi on Abrahamic interfaith dialogue] “Islam’s theory of other faiths, backed by the experience of fourteen centuries still commands the loyalty and support of a billion Muslims around the world…If inter-religious dialogue is to move beyond the exchange of information and courtesies, it has to have a religious norm in terms of which it can compose the differences between the religions. This religious norm must be common to the dialoguing parties. Islam finds this norm in din al-fitrah (i.e., Islam, the primal religion common to humanity)…Islam’s suggestion [was] that the religious tradition is a human outgrowth from primal din al-fitrah. It was this [an] Islamic idea…An Abrahamic unity of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam based on the Hanifi religion [see Koran 3:67] of Abraham, the din al-fitrah, is a real possibility. It did in fact exist in the Muslim world, until Western imperialism, colonialism, and Zionism came to subvert it. Their effort has been in vain. The Muslim will continue to believe in and work for this unity, confident that his God [i.e., Allah!] Whom he knows to be one as truth is one, and the moral law is one, cannot but desire one religion…[T]he Islamic stand toward other faiths, having brought all faiths under a single roof or din al-fitrah, satisfies the only condition for constructive dialogue and inter-relation…Compared with the histories of other religions, the history of Islam is categorically white as far as toleration of other religions is concerned…Nothing is farther from the truth and more inimical to Muslim-non-Muslim relations than the claim that Islam spread by the sword.”
[Faruqi on jihad war and Islamic imperialism] “The Islamic State is hoped by all Muslims some day to include the whole world. The Pax Islamica which the Islamic State offers… The doctrine of Jihad or Holy War is valid in Islam…Like the Muslim individual within Dar al-Islam (lands under Muslim rule), the Islamic state regards itself, and does so rightly, as vicegerent of God (Allah) in space and time, a vocation which lays a great responsibility upon the Islamic state. The Islamic state acknowledges with enthusiasm and pride her responsibility to redress injustice wherever men have caused it—even if that has been the other side of the moon..[A]pplying these theories to the case of Arab resistance against Zionism…the Muslim view is that the Zionists are the aggressors in Palestine…The principles of Islam being what they are, the Muslims are obliged under their faith to rise in resistance to that robbery in order to set the balance of justice right again.”
Farqui’s modern application of this Islamic religious doctrine to “Abrahamic dialogue” has engendered an interfaith dialogue entirely submissive to Islam. Christian and Jewish religious and diplomatic leaders appear willfully ignorant of the classical and modern Sharia-based Islamic supremacism which animates their Muslim counterparts’ participation in the Abrahamic Faiths Initiative. Such uninformed and recklessly submissive pursuit of “interfaith dialogue” within parameters set by Islam, actualizes the conception of al-Faruqi, modern godfather of “Abrahamic unity”, as “the only condition for constructive dialogue and inter-relation,” and “Nothing is farther from the truth and more inimical to Muslim-non-Muslim relations than the claim that Islam spread by the sword.”
An historian par excellence of Muslim relations with Jews and Christians, Bat Ye’or, provided this gimlet-eyed, remarkably compendious deconstruction of Faruqi’s vision, and the consequences of abiding the “Faruqi Rules” governing “Abrahamic” interfaith dialogue:
“Muslims, says al-Faruqi, believe in and will continue to strive for this unification of world religions until there is only one religion prevailing in the world, which is Islam.”
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