Culture

Muslims Needed a Mosque. The Catholic Church Built One for Them.

(L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

Although this happened in Nigeria, it is emblematic of what is happening all over the West today, including in the U.S. Non-Muslims are being generous, welcoming, and kind, without any particular concern for the possibility that not all of the recipients of their largesse might be interested in reciprocating their kindness. Bishop Stephen Mamza of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Yola, is building houses in Yola for people who have lost their homes due to jihad terror activity by the Islamic group Boko Haram, whose official name is People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings for Proselytizing and Jihad. Since many of those displaced are Muslims whom Boko Haram didn’t think were Islamic enough, Bishop Mamza also built them a mosque. What could possibly go wrong?

In an interview Sunday in Nigeria’s Punch, Bishop Mamza explained that “at a certain stage we had over 3,000 people living on our church premises,” and “we thought of what we could do to improve their living standards.” Ultimately, with help from German backers, “we started last year in January the construction of 86 units of houses to be built for the 86 families still in our camp. On the housing estate, we built a church and a mosque and a school for the IDPs,” that is, Internally Displaced People.

Mamza maintained that building the mosque was a simple act of charity: “In the first place, when we played host to these IDPs, we did not discriminate against any one of them. We didn’t ask what religion the IDPs belong to; we didn’t ask for their church denomination; we just treated them as human beings who are in need of help, irrespective of their religion, denomination or tribe.” He explained that “if we were able to build houses for all of them, and also built a church for the Christians among them, then it is only a matter of justice and fairness that we also provide a space of worship for the few Muslims among them….I just felt that since we didn’t leave out the Muslims while providing food for the Christians or leave the Muslims out while building houses for the Christians, it is only just that we also build a mosque for the Muslims as we built a church for Christians.”

As good as this bishop’s intentions were, his gesture didn’t sit well with many Christians in a country where Islamic jihadis murdered a Catholic priest in March and burned a Catholic Church to the ground in February, and where jihadis killed 2200 Christians during 2020, an average of six every day. Would the mosque that Mamza built stop this jihad violence against Christians in Nigeria? Not likely. And so, Mamza recounted, “even from within, people did not see it as a good gesture, at all….Some of them even pointed out that the Boko Haram insurgents are Muslims and they have caused a lot of the havoc for us; they ask, ‘Why should we even go ahead and build a mosque for them?’ But I say, ‘Well, not all the Muslims are Boko Haram (members), not all of them (Muslims) are evil. Those that I know, that we have been living together and taking care of them for the past seven years, I know them to be good. So, there should be no reason why I should discriminate against them. I think that is the reason we built the mosque.’”

Of course that is true that not all Muslims are evil. It is odd, however, for a Christian entity to spend money on building a structure in which congregants will be taught that Jesus is not the Son of God and belief in the Trinity is “excess” (Qur’an 4:171, 19:35), and that Jesus was not crucified (Qur’an 4:157), and that those who believe in the divinity of Christ (that would include Bishop Mamza) are unbelievers (Qur’an 5:17), and that those who (like Bishop Mamza) believe that Jesus is God’s Son are accursed (Qur’an 9:30), and that Christians who do not accept Muhammad and the Qur’an must be fought against and subjugated under Islamic hegemony (Qur’an 9:29).

Also, a hadith has Muhammad predicting that Jesus will return at the end of the world and break the cross, as it is an insult to Allah’s power to say that he would have allowed one of his prophets to be crucified: “Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, ‘By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary [Jesus] will shortly descend amongst you people [Muslims] as a just ruler and will break the Cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya [a tax taken from the non-Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government]. Then there will be abundance of money and nobody will accept charitable gifts.’” (Bukhari 3.34.425)

So Bishop Mamza’s gesture is beautiful, but it may also be dangerous: The jihadis who attack his own people could be incited in the mosque he built. Also, if the situation were reversed, would the Muslims build a church? Of course not. There is no chance of that whatsoever.

Now, all that may not be probative for Bishop Mamza. He is a Christian cleric, and Christians are taught to “love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing in return” (Luke 6:35). Very well. Still, in building a house where essential doctrines of Christianity will be denied, and the congregation will be exhorted to fight against Christians, subjugate them under Sharia, and make them pay the jizya (Qur’an 9:29), is Bishop Mamza being loving to his Christian flock by building this mosque? Does he have any obligation of charity to the Christians, or only to the Muslims? Well, what would the Pope say? Given Pope Francis’ actions since he became Bishop of Rome, Bishop Mamza may be on the fast track to a Red Hat.