As discussed in two previous blogs (here; here), conservative taking heads such as Bill O’Reilly and Laura Ingraham, who have excoriated journalist/activist Pamela Geller over the Garland, Texas jihadist attack, manifest profound, and at this stage unacceptable lacunae in their basic doctrinal and historical understanding of Islam—not “radical Islam.”
Perhaps—hope against hope—willful, hardcore deniers of Islam as it is, such as O’Reilly and Ingraham, can be re-connected to reality via their own devout Catholic faith, albeit, indirectly, through the informed prism of another devout Catholic, the late Father Michel Hayek. O’Reilly and Ingraham and conservative Christians of their ilk would also do well to read the painstakingly documented work of Middle Eastern Jewess, and historian Bat Ye’or. A living contemporary of Hayek, Bat Ye’or chronicled in repellent detail the enduring historical impact of the continuum of Islamic depredations upon Christians and Christianity, in her magnum opus, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam.
Father Michel Hayek (1928-2005) was a Lebanese Maronite scholar who produced a corpus of work that included over forty published books, scores of treatises, and innumerable articles. His 1959 book Le Christ de L’Islam has been re-published in two revised editions, and remains an important reference work. Following its initial publication in 1959—reflecting the profundity of his understanding—Father Hayek became a widely sought after lecturer for talks and conferences on Muslim-Christian relations.
During a lecture entitled “Nouvelles approches de l’islam,” given on March 6, 1967, (recorded in Les Conférences du Cénacle, Beirut, 1968, Nos. 9-10, XXII année, p. 11), Father Hayek, spoke plainly about the chronic plight of Christianity, and Christians ravaged by Islam. Father Hayek’s comments as a contemporary priest living amongst Muslims in Lebanon, and Bat Ye’or’s copiously documented historical analyses place the current horrendous depredations against Middle East Christians in a larger historical context:
Why not admit it clearly, so as to break a taboo and a political interdict, which is felt in the flesh and the Christian conscience—that Islam has been the most appalling torment that ever struck the Church. Christian sensibility has remained traumatized until now.
Most importantly, O’Reilly and Ingraham would do well to consider the yawning gap difference between Jesus, and Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.
A century ago (in 1915), W.H.T. Gairdner, the great Arabic linguist and scholar of Islam, noted dispassionately what is readily apparent from Muhammad’s biography based exclusively on the reverent Muslim sources:
As incidents in the life of an Arab conqueror, the tales of raiding, private assassinations and public executions, perpetual enlargements of the harem, and so forth, might be historically explicable and therefore pardonable but it is another matter that they should be taken as a setting forth of the moral ideal for all time.
O’Reilly and Ingraham should review this tabular comparison of Muhammad and Jesus–based on corresponding canonical Islamic and Christian textual sources—reproduced from the invaluable The Religion of Peace website, in two tables below.