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Jihad and the complexities of immigration

It’s time for Catholics to move beyond the level of “If you close the door on immigrants, you’re closing the door on Jesus,” and think more rigorously about the subject.

People in Boulder, Colo., lay flowers on the police car of Officer Eric Talley March 24, 2021, who died two days earlier while responding to a call about a mass shooter at a King Soopers grocery store. Talley and nine others were killed. (CNS photo/Kevin Mohatt, Reuters)

In a recent CWR essay on the massacre of 10 people in Boulder, Colorado by a Muslim, I made the point that the media, with few exceptions, wants us to believe that jihad has nothing to do with Islam. Typically, reporters and commentators will go to great lengths to distract your attention from the Islamic nature of a jihad attack.

They also want you to believe that jihad has nothing to do with immigration. The March 22nd attack on the King Soopers supermarket in Boulder was framed as a gun control story by the media, but it might, more accurately, have been framed as a Muslim immigration control story.

As a child, the shooter, Ahmad Al Issa, immigrated with his family from Syria—a country that was subsequently placed along with six other nations on the Muslim travel ban list. Al Issa was able to commit jihad in Colorado because his family was allowed to immigrate to America from a volatile area in the Middle-East.

Many of the news reports did mention that Al Issa’s family came from Syria. But that was all. Although a large number of stories linked the massacre to the gun-control issue, none that I read made any connection to the immigration issue. Yet many jihad attacks in America have been committed by Muslim migrants or by a child of Muslim migrants or (as in the case of the 9/11 attack), by Muslims with visitor visas.

However, the pattern of Muslim immigrant jihad violence is much clearer to see in Europe. Although Americans rarely hear about it, knife, gun, and vehicular attacks by Muslims are now an almost daily occurrence in European cities and towns. But how did all those knife-wielding and gun-toting jihadists end up in Europe? Why are there now so many Muslims in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, the UK and France? The answer is immigration. And, in recent years, the immigration has been on a mass scale.

Of course, not all Muslim migrants to Europe end up as criminals, but as the Muslim population has increased, European crime rates have jumped dramatically. And so has the rate of violent jihad attacks. In fact, the number of large-scale jihad attacks in Europe far exceed those in the U.S. The Bataclan Theatre attack in Paris took over a hundred lives. So did the commuter train bombings in Madrid. The London tube and bus bombings resulted in 52 deaths. The truck jihadist in Nice took 86 lives, and injured over 450 others, many of them children. Less than a year later at an arena in Manchester, a jihadist killed 22 and injured over 1,000, many of them children. And that is only the short list.

There are many more jihad attacks in Europe than in the U.S. because there is much more Muslim migration into Europe. But the situation in the U.S. can change rapidly because of the new administration’s open borders policy and, in particular, its reversal of President Trump’s “Muslim travel ban.”

Unfortunately, the connection between violence and Muslim immigration into both the U.S. and Europe is rarely discussed—either in media circles or in Church circles. In his statement following the Boulder shooting, Archbishop Paul Coakley noted that the bishops “have long promoted prudent measures of gun control to limit mass shootings.” But when have the bishops ever promoted prudent measures to control Muslim migration in order to limit the resulting violence?

True, the American bishops have made an occasional nod in the direction of having Muslim migrants carefully vetted—but they don’t explain why such vetting might be needed. Indeed, the number of bishops in the U.S and Europe who have dared to acknowledge the connection between violence and Islamic immigration can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. Western bishops have been much more likely to encourage Muslim migration than to discourage it. In Europe, the Catholic Church has become the loudest voice in favor of Muslim migration. At the same time, however, polls show that a majority of Europeans now favor a complete halt to Muslim immigration.

Immigration is not a simple issue but many Catholic leaders have treated it in a simplistic way. The attitude of many in the hierarchy seems to be that immigration is an unreservedly good thing, and therefore all Catholics ought to be for it. Moreover, Church leaders tend to offer slogans rather than reasoned arguments, e.g., “in the face of the migrant we see the face of Jesus.”

There is of course a strong Biblical case for welcoming the immigrant because, as Jesus says in the Gospel, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” That in itself seems to make the case for opening the borders wide. But the Catholic Church has always emphasized the importance of reconciling scripture with reason. Jesus did not seem to be making an argument for mass migration or for throwing caution to the wind. In fact, many of Christ’s parables recommend caution and prudence. And inviting millions of strangers, many of whom bear contempt for your culture, into your nation seems neither prudent nor reasonable.

In short, it’s time for Catholics to move beyond the level of “If you close the door on immigrants, you’re closing the door on Jesus,” and think more rigorously about the subject. A good place to start is The Catechism of the Catholic Church. For example, it speaks of “the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption.” Thus, immigrants are “obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens” (2241).

Most of us have been brought up in the belief that human nature is the same everywhere, and so we tend to assume that most immigrants, once they see what a nice society we have, will be happy to assimilate. But if human nature is the same everywhere, cultures are certainly not. The differences between cultures can sometimes be quite radical. And religiously observant Muslims from sharia-compliant Islamic societies can be especially resistant to assimilation.

In fact, Islam is a supremacist religion that teaches that Muslims are “the best of peoples” and that non-Muslims are several rungs lower in the eyes of Allah. Individual Muslims can be fine and unassuming people, but they are under considerable social pressure to consider themselves, their culture, and their religion to be superior to the peoples, cultures, and religions of other societies. Why, then, should they be expected to assimilate to an inferior culture and “respect with gratitude [its] material and spiritual heritage”?

The answer is that many Muslims don’t—certainly not in comparison to other migrants from other societies where there is no obligation to hate your hosts. According to Islam scholar Raymond Ibrahim, a fatwa issued by the nation of Qatar (a supposed U.S. friend and ally) requires any Muslim who lives in a non-Muslim nation “to hate his adopted nation and its ‘infidel’ citizens.” The fatwa, which is based on Koranic texts, states that Muslims who emigrate must have “enmity and hatred for the infidels, staying far from their loyalty and love—for loyalty and love for them contradicts the faith.”

Why would Muslims want to live among infidels in the first place? Well, for the same reasons that non-Muslims emigrate—for more opportunities, for better wages, to escape persecution, and so on. But for some Muslims there is an additional motive—namely, to spread the faith. As Solomon and Maqdisi point out in thier 2009 book Modern Day Trojan Horse, Islam seems to be the only religion with a well-established doctrine of conquest through immigration.

Countries which receive migrants ought to be able to take these distinctive features of Islamic culture and religion into consideration, but most do not. To do so would be considered “nationalistic,” “xenophobic,” and “Islamophobic.” This self-imposed blindness ensures that what is now a very bad situation will only grow worse. Not a few observers have predicted that the combination of politically correct immigration policies and jihad intimidation will eventually lead to the Islamization of Europe—and probably sooner rather than later.

Of course, Boulder is a long way from Berlin, and we can comfort ourselves with the thought that it can’t happen here. There may be a few jihad attacks in our future, we tell ourselves, but nothing on the scale of what’s happened in Europe or Nigeria—nothing we can’t handle.

But if the past year has taught us anything, it has taught us that many of the things we once thought couldn’t happen here are now happening here. And worse is yet to come if we don’t rethink our fashionable but naïve policies about Islam and immigration.

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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. The RC hierarchy has accepted the myths and lies put forth by the oligarchs and cultural revolutionaries in defense of unqualified immigration, multiculturalism, and diversity. Now we have to live with the consequences.

        • Thank you so much for the link Ken.
          Yes Dubai looks like an interesting place to visit. I’ve seen some travel channel videos about it and the food looks wonderful.

      • Well there was a British woman a few years ago who flew into Dubai from London. She had a glass or two of wine on the flight, served by the attendants on the Emirates airline, I.e., the national airline of the UAE. She was arrested and imprisoned for having alcohol in her system in the UAE. I knew of another young man a few decades ago who was working for an oil company in Saudi Arabia. Someone back home sent him a porno magazine. Porn might well be illegal in Saudi Arabia but this young man didn’t break any laws. His friend back in the US was the one who violated their sensibilities. They couldn’t even blame the young oil worker for viewing the porn. He never got it because every the SA police found it inspecting his mail. Didn’t matter. He went to jail for 20 years. Then there’s Khashoggi…

        • UAE has a veneer of religious tolerance. If the State Dept article is still accurate it is still illegal to convert from Islam or to proselytize. Another problem is you don’t know when it will go toward fundamentalism. Iran and Turkey are examples of countries which went from tolerance to fundamentalism. If anyone thinks Islam is a “religion of peace” hasn’t read the Quran – and yes, I have read it.

  2. You cannot welcome the stranger if the stranger wants to kill you, rape you or enslave you. That’s why the Bible also requires the stranger to accept our laws as condition for being welcomed, which teaching is reiterated by St Thomas Aquinas and the Catechism as Mr Kilpatrick noted above.

  3. People who want to continue increased immigration of people who have noting in common with us culturally and want to kill us, subjugate us or bomb us ( Boston Bombers) bring to mind the phrase “useful idiots”.In their rush to virtue signal, in spite of the evidence in front of their nose, and refusal to see the danger in an avowed enemy,they are opening the entire population to danger. In this I include those who voted for the Biden democrats, who seem intent on destroying our culture, eradicating Christianity and degrading our nation. My husband was murdered in the 9/11 attacks. Some among those attackers had overstayed their visa, which means they were here illegally, yet no one from our govt followed up or questioned where they were, what they were doing, and why, or forced them to leave. No doubt they feared the reaction of how it would look making “people of color” obey the rules like everyone else. The result of this politically correct incompetence was 3,000 American murdered and our lives changed forever. If you think you or someone you love can never be a victim like me, I say, think again. And ask the Democrats why they want open borders?? How does this benefit AMERICANS?? The answer is, it doesn’t.

    • LJ – I’m sorry for you loss. BTW – I shared an office with an immigrant from Iran may years ago. His career at the company ended with being escorted out of the building by security – while he was screaming he would kill his supervisor. I should mention that this supervisor helped him retain his job after said immigrant didn’t renew his green card in a timely manner. I know you can’t paint with a broad brush based on a single data point, but unfortunately, there are many, many such data points.

      • Its my opinion that anyone, of any citizenship , religion or color should be exited from a company if they threaten to kill someone. Permanently. Your supervisor must have been a classic bleeding heart liberal.He did no one any favors helping this person to remain in the US because a volatile personality like that is apt to be easily triggered again and it may not end well. To be an uninformed liberal often means being so blind to reality and truth as to help cooperate in your own death.
        Thank you for your condolences. My husband was a wonderful man who liked everyone he met, and everyone liked him. All he did was go to work that day to support his family. Yet the Democrats and Biden are making it possible for more men like those who murdered him to enter the country with impunity. The 4 middle easterners on the watch list that were recently caught on our southern border coming in illegally are sadly, likely not all that actually got through.

  4. To extrapolate Jesus’s saying “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” into a mandate for open immigration is simply ridiculous and akin to interpreting “turn the other cheek” as a prohibition of self-defense. These arguments appear to have surfaced only in modern times. I can imagine what popes and bishops from earlier centuries who were leading the efforts to save Europe from Islamic conquest would have thought of such assertions.

  5. Extremists are in every religion, even Buddhism which calls itself peaceful. If you dwell on the hate you encourage counter-hate. In Rwanda people who committed genocide started off responding to a real wrong

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  1. A Jihad e as Outras Consequências da Imigração Muçulmana. – Mulheres Brasileiras Contra a Lei Sharia/ Islamização.

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