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The problem is not “Islamophobia” but ignorance of Islam

An Open Letter to Bishop Joseph Bambera, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Interreligious Affairs

Blood stains are seen Dec. 29 on the floor of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Mar Mina in Helwan, Egypt, near Cairo. At least nine people were killed in attacks on the church and a Christian-owned shop, authorities said. (CNS photo/Amr Abdallah Dalsh, Reuters)

Your Excellency,

You are to be commended for your December 29th statement asking Catholics to pray for “our Coptic brethren who are enduring martyrdom for the sake of Christ.” Catholics need to know the extent of the attacks on Christians in the Muslim world. As you point out, there have been 2,000 attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt in just the last three years. These have included several horrific church bombings and the slaughter of 35 Christians who refused to convert to Islam when their buses were ambushed by Islamic gunmen.

Deadly anti-Christian attacks have become commonplace in the Muslim world. Catholics need to know about them, and they also need to know the “why” of these attacks. There will be no end of the bloodshed unless we understand why it’s happening.

On this point, the USCCB has been remiss. Numerous USCCB statements over the last 17 years have, in effect, absolved Islam of the crimes committed in the name of Islam. Instead of naming the religious ideology that motivates the terrorists, Church officials have been content to echo the mantra that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.

Meanwhile, in the face of the Islam-inspired genocide of Christians, the USCCB has joined up with the problematic campaign against “Islamophobia.” This strikes me as a grotesque inversion of priorities. At a time when Christians need to be alerted to the dangers posed by the spread of Islam, why are bishops throwing themselves into the Muslim Brotherhood-manufactured battle against “Islamophobia”?

I put “Islamophobia” in quotes because a phobia is an irrational fear. But many people—including Christians living in Egypt—have good reason to be afraid. It does a disservice to them to say that their fears are baseless. Or to say that they have nothing to fear from authentic Islam.

Your own statement mentions various bloody terrorist attacks in Egypt, but the words “Islam” and “Islamic” do not appear in it. By contrast, an article in Coptic Solidarity states that “Islamic oppression” is the main driving force of persecution. Is the Coptic fear of Islamic oppression “Islamophobic”? Or is it a perfectly rational fear?

Your statement calls attention to terror attacks in Egypt. It’s important that Christians know about them. At the same time, a singular focus on atrocities can be misleading. It tends to feed into the PC narrative that the threat to Christians is limited to a handful of extremists. But there is a much bigger problem to contend with—namely, a widespread, daily, and unrelenting persecution of Christians which includes discrimination, intimidation, rapes, abductions, forced conversions and the destruction of Christian homes and churches. According to the Coptic Solidarity article, this persecution comes from every level of Egyptian society, and includes Muslim clerics, local officials, “normal citizens,” and one’s own family (in the case of Muslim converts to Christianity).

The widespread persecution of Christians that exists in Egypt can also be found in almost every Muslim majority society—in Pakistan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Sudan, Indonesia, and elsewhere. The pervasive nature of the persecution in Islamic countries suggests that it does not stem from any distortion of Islam, but rather from the core texts and teachings of mainstream Islam itself.

Which raises a question. Could it be that all these Muslims in diverse parts of the world have misinterpreted Islam? Or is it more likely that the real misunderstanders are Catholic prelates who, though well-intentioned, have no lived experience of Islam?

Various USCCB statements over the years present Islam as a religion of peace and justice—a religion not unlike Catholicism. Indeed, one keynote address to a USCCB-sponsored Muslim-Catholic dialogue was titled “Living our faith together”—as though Muslims and Catholics share a common faith. But, of course, they don’t. The idea that they do is not based on the texts, teachings, law books, and history of Islam, but on wishful thinking.

This is not to suggest that Catholic leaders should attack Islam, but that they should provide Catholics with a more realistic picture of the Islamic faith. The current policy of glossing over the problematic aspects of Islam is highly misleading, and it has several harmful consequences. Let’s focus on just one of them.

If Church leaders continue to downplay and even deny the supremacist aspect of Islam, many Catholics will be unprepared for the kind of aggression now endured by Christians in Egypt, and elsewhere.

This aggressively anti-Western culture—let’s call it “Egypt” for short—has already entered Europe. What now appears to be an Islamic invasion was enabled by naïve immigration policies based on the same uncritical view of Islam embraced by the USCCB. Like Egyptian Christians, Europeans must now worry about being attacked at any time or place—on buses, trains, in concert halls, and Christmas markets.

Europeans were also unprepared for the cultural aspect of the invasion. It was naively assumed that Muslims would assimilate to Western values. Instead, Europeans are being forced to accommodate themselves to Islamic values—to polygamy, misogyny, honor violence, and FGM. And also to anti-Semitism. Jews are now fleeing Europe in numbers not seen since the Nazi era.

Europeans are losing their civilization not because they are “Islamophobic,” but because they were ignorant of Islam. They obediently accepted the smiley-faced depiction of Islam presented to them by social and governmental elites, and now they are paying the price.

Will “Egypt” come to America? It’s a possibility that the USCCB should contemplate. America’s bishops have been guilty of promoting the same pleasant picture of Islam and Islamic immigration that has thrown Europe into chaos. That approach hasn’t worked there. Why suppose it will work here?

It seems reckless to continue along that path. For the sake of Christians all over the world, America’s bishops need to rediscover the Catholic tradition of realism, and reconsider their Islam policy. It’s not too late for a course correction.

Respectfully yours in Christ,

William Kilpatrick, Ph.D

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About William Kilpatrick 81 Articles
William Kilpatrick is the author of several books on religion and culture including Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West (Ignatius Press) and What Catholics Need to Know About Islam (Sophia Institute Press). For more on his work and writings, visit his Turning Point Project website.


  1. I am baffled by the repeated ignorance of some Catholic bishops. Enough is enough and calling a spade ignorant and stupid should be the norm. Those people should never be in a position of leadership, they are doing more harm to humanity and Christ’s Church.

    Thank you and may God bless you Dr. Kilpatrick.


  3. Spot on, Dr Kilpatrick. Our fearful bishops want to be liked no matter what the cost. Fourteen hundred year of muslim history tell he bishops all they need to know. But the bishops ignore history and are indifferent to the Christian blood spilled over the centuries by this violent cult.
    The muslim answer to most everything is violence and death. Hmmmm ….. got religion??

  4. Sadly, the USCCB was given BIG money, ($ 91 million, I believe I read), by Soros &/or Obama for bringing in “refugees” (Muslim “refugees”) into America. I’m not making any of this up, you can find this information online from solid websites like LifeSiteNews, etc. The USCCB should not be allowed to take money from politicians with evil anti-Catholic agendas.

  5. The article is well-stated and well-founded but misses the main point: the USCCB and its bishops are taking their position from Pope Bergoglio and his continuous erroneous insistence that Islam is a religion of peace and Islamic terrorism is not Islamic.

  6. Excellent letter Dr. Kilpatrick, and I sincerely hope that the USCCB takes note. Inter-religious dialogue would be all the more honest if priests, bishops, cardinals and popes simply preached what the church clearly teaches about islam i.e. it is a non-revealed religion, with a false prophet and a false book.

    • Christians, who read their bible, know who the enemy is. That the enemy is not flesh and blood. It is principalities and powers and so-on…. I invite you to read a Bible. The enemy of a Christian can never be a Muslim, or other man.

    • Yes indeed.Those Zionists are responsible for all sorts of evils and mayhem, including the Seattle pass on the one inch line in the Super Bowl, Kaitlyn Jenner and the movie Ishtar bombing at the box office.

  7. Pope Francis was not the first Pope to look at Islam through rose-colored glasses. I was in East Africa when Pope John Paul II ordered the Catholic members of the Muslim-Catholic dialogue in Dar es Salaam (and, I presume, elsewhere) to cease any criticism of Islam during meetings of the dialogue. The Catholic dialogue member who told me this was furious. All the Muslim members tried to do, he told me, was to try to convert the Catholic members! And Pope John Paul (who kissed the Koran in a stolen cathedral in Damascus) was tying their hands behind their backs. The Catholic Church, I fear, will be Islam’s last defenders. Anyone who reads the Koran (in any language) will be impressed by its frequent exhortations to violence, including 120 repetitions of “Kill the unbelievers!”, as well as numerous expressions of scorn for Jews and Christians. It is my impression that, since the Crusades (which, thank God, kept Islam at bay for seven centuries), at least some Muslims have reclassified Christians from a ‘people of the book’ to plain enemies, to whom the Koran allows Muslims to do any kind of violence. As Dr. Kilpatrick points out, ignorance of Islam and its intent is not bliss.

  8. Wish this letter could go out to Bishop Bambera with a few thousands of signature from Catholics. But realistically the Catholic Bishops, nor other clergy, will engage in this type of educational effort on understanding the true nature of Islam, as it carries huge risks. Mostly, reactive violence from some Muslims on the innocent. I cannot blame their hesitation. But they can certainly stop asserting that Islam is a religion of peace. Many Muslims are peaceful, but Islam is not. This educational effort is up to lay people like here with Dr. Kilpatrick, and others such as Dr Bill Warner, John Guandolo, Dr. Raad Salam Naaman, Robert Spencer and others. This is not an easy topic to deal with.

  9. Hello everyone

    I am Egyptian. I have Coptic and catholic colleagues at work. we live peacefully. We live as one community. We go to parties, weddings, funerals of each other. Extremists destroy mosques and kill hundreds. Every church in the country has its assigned security forces 24/7 h. Claiming Islam orders its followers to attack innocent Coptics is baseless.

    • Thank you Abdo. Just know that actual truth about this issue is not tolerated among “conservative” Catholics because they have been programmed into hatred of Muslims by propagandists like kilpatrick and the immense propaganda campaign by Israel and the US government to demonize Muslims so that zionists can fulfill the Oded Yinon plan to take over the entirety of the land from the Nile to the Euphrates. The War of Terror based on the 9/11 false flag psy op sets the stage for the final ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. The US and Israel fund and arm the fake Muslim Terrorists, who always kill many more Muslims than Christians and never Israelis. Don’t believe Kilpatrick’s lies.

      • Frank just to let you know that our issue is not with Muslims. Christians love everybody. Our issue is with Islam, the religion. If your brother was near a snake and about to be bitten by this snake, would you not warn him? Our job as Christians is to help our fellow brothers find and come to the narrow gate which is Christ. We do not hate other men. That is a misunderstanding of our criticisms.

  10. Kilpatrick does Christendom a great service with this letter. Sign me on.
    We Catholics are, when all is said and done, Crusaders, and Islam is the creed of the infidels.
    Viva Cristo Rey!

  11. This is part and parcel of many clerics to please ‘others’. to forget the flock.. very ‘Bergoglian. the perifieries! whoever they are! Islamic terrorists are ‘periferies people’?, as if the total flock , who do all the work and pay the bills , should be forgotten! The bishops will not be written up nicely in history for the biases they embrace. In short, they are cowards. The over whelming evidence of Muslims murdering Christians in massive numbers is available for all. Sometimes, I believe, as Pope Benedict stated, many of these clerics have lost the faith. The rule of man, as in socialism, is the law, the point of deparure. .. not the resurrection, salvation of souls, Scripture, tradition, canon law.. they constantly ignore’s the goal of man, who always fails, as socialism constantly does. The bishops fear and bias suggest a lack of faith, certainly Catholic faith, which has made them cowards. We pay their bills, defend us, ALL Chrisians! Do not try to tell us to protect Islamic terrorism, do not tell us about the religion of peace.. by now, we know better.

  12. Wow, this was a letter of all letters! Oh how I wish I could make about 500 copies, and have it sent to everyone in the catholic church, and to all the many leaders of all the many countries, that, with their ignorance, have opened their doors, to these “people”.
    Mr. Kilpatrick, you are a diamond in the coal mine! I can only wish, there were so many more, like you, who could spread this message, far and wide. Your the only person, that I know, who has said exactly, what need to be said. I’m happy I got the privilege to read this. I want to say so much more, but I’ll end with “Thank You”! Please, keep up the good work!

  13. For 70 years “liberal” leaders in politics, media, academia, etc. assured us that Communism was just an economic system and free people could peacefully co-exist with it. Now that plea for tolerance is being applied to Islam by the same voices – including, sadly, many Christian leaders who should know better.

  14. Wow! What a well written piece. It boggles my mind how so many people of today are so ignorant of Islamist aggression across the centuries. What do the bishops think the Crusades were about, and why were they called into action in the first place? Like the brothers of Lazarus in the parable, if they wouldn’t listen to the prophets about the promise of salvation through a Messiah, why would anyone expect the convicted Islamist to receive the Gospel message?

    My last comment: Frank, conspiracy much? By their fruits you will know them!

  15. Well written and to the point. I can always assess the stage of a Christian’s maturity in their faith by their attitude towards other religions, especially Islam. Demons is another topic, but I won’t comment on that. I have often heard Christians state that Mohamud is not mentioned in our Bible. But he is. The false prophet of Revelation. He is the first of many more to come. The job of a Prophet was to prophesy – tell the future. The prophecy was the coming of Christ. That is why there can be no prophets any more. Any one who claims to be a prophet since Christ is a false one. Simple as that. We are now in the age of the Saints and Martyrs. The age of the prophets has passed.

  16. On tarket, but we must realize that the vast number of our Bishops are suffering from misdirected piety at best. Look at their history of promoting the evils of contraception!

  17. I used to wonder why the Pope is so pro Islam and how this is effecting all Christians. (And this goes for the USCCB)
    Well as he endorses a common word between Christianity and Islam the next thing is Amoris Laectia: if Muslims are polygamous and that is ok with their Allah, why not Christians too?

    • Fair point Gloria, thank you for bringing this passage it to my attention. Maybe it is possible to have more prophets for the second coming, but I would ask: were these two prophets new ones, or ones from before? Anyone who calls themselves a prophet is on dangerous ground. A prophet’s job is to tell the future, and only God knows the future. If you aren’t appointed by God for that role, you better be careful. People use this word to describe other people far to loosely in my opinion. I have Christian friends who believe there are prophets alive today. I beg to differ. A prophet is a very rare individual. Whenever I hear someone describe a “prophet” who does not prophecy, I know he isn’t a prophet. God explained this point to Moses very clearly on the mountain, when he explained who a prophet was. Moses asked – how will I know they from you.? He replied – what they say, shall come to pass. In other words they will correctly foretell the future. This is why divination is a sin – because it is a lie.

  18. Thank you, Mr. Kirkpatrick (I think that means the church of Patrick, no?) for this informative essay. Why our bishops perceive Islam as a religion, rather than the vague theosophy or ideology that it is, is more than I can understand.
    Mohammed had a personal experience of a god that Jews and Christians do not recognize. There were no witnesses to his personal experience. Why millions subscribe to that I, again, do not understand. It would be like St. Teresa of Avila claiming that her personal experience of God (or mine!) could be the foundation of a whole new faith orientation.

    If our bishops call Islam a religion, then they are inadvertently subscribing to it by giving it the patina of legitimacy. That would make them all heretics.

  19. Bravo! In my fifty years of living, the only people who have actively tried to take my life (coming close to success) and taken the life of a friend did so in the name of Islam. I’ve had no such experience with Jews, Rastafarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Amish, Buddists, Zaroastrians, Taoists, or even agnostics or atheists.

  20. When will the world be safe from the Islam? The ideal man in Christendom is Christ, who loves his enemies and gave of Himself purely for the spiritual welfare of women. The ideal man in Islam is Mohammed, who slaughtered anyone who opposed him and took little girls for his own sensual pleasure. The world will be safe from Islam when Islam recognizes Mohammed for what he was. Credit is due Franklin Graham for promulgating this straightforward assessment.

  21. Dr. Kilpatrick,

    OUTSTANDING LETTER!!!!!!!!!! Someone needs to wake up our Dhimmi leadership in the Catholic Church!!!!!! You and I are looking at the history as well as the current events and not in denial!!!!!! Many thanks and blessings to you!!!!!

  22. The people in North America who care about Israel have had an awful time of it without support from their own leftist leadership (I refer to some Jewish and many Christian left-wing churches and institutions). The left always side with Islamists when it comes to Israel and are eager to punish Israel with sanctions, excuse the terrorism it has suffered at hands of terrorists and promote “solutions” which shrink and belittle Israel into submission to Islam and to leftism.

    The terrorism we see in Egypt, Europe, throughout Africa and the world is just a taste of what is to come if we allow the Obama-Soros-Leftist conspiracy to continue unopposed.

    Is the Church so blind that they cannot see what average people do – people who are being called names by governments and Church leaders for seeing reality of the death and carnage caused by the conquest?

  23. Thank you so much for making this article public. I don’t think the USCCB has taken the responsibility to study Islam before taking the money from the U.S. government to bring in Muslims, while ignoring the Christians suffering under their hands. Now we are being made aware of other torments being inflicted upon the Christians in the Middle East: the slave trade and organ-gathering that is taking place. It’s hard to go to Mass right now.

  24. Our strongest tool is prair pray for the world to see the truth and to believe and that good shall
    Always prevail in Christ the lord.Blessed be the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit as it was in
    the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end Love is the most powerful force we can possess
    Use it for good

  25. To carry this article and comments one step further, it should be noted that accompanying all these facts is the concerted cover up and ignoring the basic tenants of Islam by those on the left. The intense desire to make them appear the “victim” engenders a schizophrenic reaction that seeks the excuse Muslim predations and blame westerners for Islam’s self induced problems. It is no coincidence that the Islamic countries that were colonized by Europeans had the worst of their traditions kept in check during that period.

  26. I participated for 17 years in the Midwest Muslim-Catholic dialogue so I suppose some of you will consider me part of the problem. I can assure you that the Catholic participants did not wear rose-colored glasses as if there were no problems within Islam. I can also assure you that the Islamic participants were people of good will and in no way condoned persecution of Christians. Our participation was always in conformity with Catholic teaching on Islam. So if you have a problem with that, you have a problem with Catholic teaching.

5 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Why the USCCB (US Bishops) are Wrong about Islam | Defenders of the Catholic Faith | Hosted by Stephen K. Ray
  2. The problem is not “Islamophobia” but ignorance of Islam | The United West
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  4. Le problème n’est pas l’islamophobie mais l’islam | Espace détente, poésie, judaïsme et lutte contre la désinformation
  5. Le problème n’est pas l’l’homophobie mais l’islam – La Lumière du monde

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