(Image: National Cathedral – Source: DaKohlmeyer)
November 14, 2014, marked a dubious development regarding Islam’s rise in America. On that day, for the first time, Musilms were allowed to hold prayer inside of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.:
Washington National Cathedral and five Muslim groups announced today the first celebration of Muslim Friday prayers (Jumaa) at the Cathedral on Friday, November 14.
Leaders believe offering Muslim prayers at the Christian cathedral shows more than hospitality. It demonstrates an appreciation of one another’s prayer traditions and is a powerful symbolic gesture toward a deeper relationship between the two Abrahamic traditions
While the National Cathedral is Episcopalian and America is a “secular” nation, the National Cathedral is (a) a nominally Christian but nonetheless major edifice and (b) is an official and symbolic building used for national occasions. It represents, at least in theory, an important historical and cultural connection between the Christian roots of America’s founders, most of her people, and the present day.
The National Cathedral is not de facto becoming a mosque, even though the Cathedral will hold Muslim prayers in an area that CAIR has deemed “mosque-like.” It will still be used for Episcopalian services, and thus it will retain its “Christian” character. However, according to orthodox Islamic theological dogma, after Muslim prayers are said on site, it will officially become (per Islamic law) part of the Muslim world.
Drawing on the words from Ibn Taymiyya, the notable 14th century Islamic scholar, there are two domains of existence. The first is the Dar Al-Islam, or “house of Islam.” This includes all Muslim people and properties possessed by Muslims. The latter is the Dar Al-Harb, or “house of war.” This constitutes all non-Muslim persons and properties. According to Islamic theology, the Dar Al-Harb will, by Allah’s divine command, inevitably be assimilated into the Dar Al-Islam. This will come about either through voluntary conversion to Islam, or if this fails, through jihad:
I have been commanded to fight against mankind until he testifies that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his slave and messenger.
(Bukhari, Book 2, Hadith 24)
Physical possession of an area by Muslims is regarded as spiritual possession by Islam. If a Muslim owns or uses something, be it small or large, it is technically property of the Muslims, and it may not be used by non-Muslims. It is for this reason that in many Islamic societies throughout history where non-Muslims were present, there were strict and oppressive laws levied against non-Muslims. Islam regards enforcing temporal control over non-Muslims as a sign not only of their spiritual submission and slavery to the yoke of Islam, but also of the judicial leverage of Muslims to compel those under this control. Should a non-Muslim be accused of violating Islamic law, the expansion of the Dar Al-Islam is enforced through compulsory conversion of the accused to Islam, or by simply destroying him and confiscating his property. This was the exact same reasoning and process used by ISIS in their destruction of Assyrian Catholicism.
The greatest gesture of Islam’s dominance over a particular area is when Muslims pray in it. Most specifically, when they perform the obligatory Friday prayers a place. Muhammad himself said that all the earth is a mosque, and is thus, Dar Al-Islam:
Narrated Abu Huraira: While we were in the mosque, the Prophet came out and said, “Let us go to the Jews.” We went out till we reached Bait-ul-Midras. He said to them, “If you embrace Islam, you will be safe. You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I want to expel you from this land. So, if anyone amongst you owns some property, he is permitted to sell it, otherwise you should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle.”
(Bukhari, Book 53, Hadith 541)
Jabir b. ‘Abdullah al-Ansari reported: The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, “I have been conferred upon five (things) which were not granted to anyone before me (and these are): Every apostle was sent particularly to his own people, whereas I have been sent to all the red and the black. The spoils of war have been made lawful for me, and these were never made lawful to anyone before me, and the earth has been made sacred and pure and mosque for me, so whenever the time of prayer comes for any one of you he should pray whenever he is, and I have been supported by awe (by which the enemy is overwhelmed) from the distance (which one takes) one month to cover and I have been granted intercession.”
Hudhaifa reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be npon him) said, “We have been made to excel (other) people in three (things): Our rows have been made like the rows of the angels and the whole earth has been made a mosque for us, and its dust has been made a purifier for us in case water is not available.”
The National Cathedral said that the Islamic prayers were a “historic event” with the intended goal of leading to a “deeper conversation and partnership.” South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, who helped organize the meeting, said of it:
This is a dramatic moment in the world and in Muslim-Christian relations,” said Rasool. “This needs to be a world in which all are free to believe and practice and in which we avoid bigotry, Islamophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christianity and to embrace our humanity and to embrace faith.”
This statement is a perfect example of Islamic dissimulation, called taqiyya, in practice. Islam does not value the freedom of religion, as Muhammad himself stated, and Islam aggressively practices. Racism is irrelevant in this context, because Islam is not a race, as its own sacred scripture emphasizes. Islam is inherently anti-Semitic and anti-Christian, as countless passages in its sacred scripture and tradition promote and justify heinous and unprovoked violence against Jews and Christians on the basis of their disbelief in Islam. Islam does not regard the humanity of non-Muslims, because its own theology teaches that man’s humanity is conditional upon and proportional to his belief in and practice of Islam. The only true statement here is the part about “embracing faith,” which in Islamic terms means conversion to Islam.
Just as Muhammad’s armies marched out of the Arabian sands and began their century-long conquest of the Middle East and North Africa fourteen centuries ago in 636, the Catholic Patrarch of Jerusalem, St. Sophronius, met with Muslim Caliph Umar to discuss the terms of the surrender of Jerusalem. The outcome was the Pact of Umar, which permitted the survival of Christians in Muslim lands. During this meeting, St. Sophronius invited Caliph Umar to pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as a gesture of good will. Umar refused, saying that to do so would give the Muslims claim of ownership to the Church, and that he wanted it to remain in Christian hands. St. Sophronius, as evidenced by his own writings, knew nothing about Islam’s theology, and made this offer with the understanding that this was yet another pagan barbarian invasion which could be ultimately Christianized.
When the Muslims invaded Spain in 711, one of the first things they did after conquering an area was to convert the largest and most magnificent churches into mosques. All of the great Spanish Cathedrals today — St. Mary’s in Valencia, Our Lady of the Assumption in Cordoba, and St. Mary’s of the See in Seville to name a few — were at one time converted to mosques, and only later, after they were recovered, restored to their rightful place as Catholic churches. Islam’s external temporal domination is always regarded by Islam as a sign of spiritual domination, and this always goes hand-in-hand with the conversion of Christian churches into mosques.
For centuries, Catholics and other Christians fought against Islam to prevent this from happening. While it is true that the National Cathedral is Episcopalian, not Catholic, to a Muslim, the difference is irrelevant. As of today, the largest “national church” in America will be considered a Muslim place of worship according to Islamic theology.
My advice to fellow Catholics is twofold: First, do all in your power to prevent your local church from being used for Muslim prayers, because it is about domination, not dialogue. Second, prepare spiritually, mentally, and yes, even physically to combat an increasingly aggressive Islam. While this may be a “historic event,” seen only for its spiritual significance, it may well be the hallmark of much more.
If history is any indicator of what we are facing, we must ensure that it does not repeat itself.
This post has been updated.
Andrew Bieszad has an MA in Islamic Studies from Hartford Seminary with concentration in the Islamic equivalent of Dogmatic Theology. He is the author of Lions of the Faith: Saints, Blesseds, and Heroes of the Catholic Faith in the Struggle with Islam and 20 Answers: Islam. He is a sought after writer and speaker on Islamic topics.