Dr. Fadi Yousef Kablawi, imam at the Masjid As-Sunnah An-Nabawiyyah in north Miami, struck a blow for interfaith harmony recently when he preached a sermon in which declared: “If you truly love Jesus, this [Islam] is the religion for you.” Kablawi’s sermon was an excellent illustration of why Muslim persecution of Christians continues unabated in Nigeria and elsewhere.
After declaring that Palestine is “the land of Islam – and we will take it back,” Kablawi began a lengthy expatiation on Islamic martyrdom. “Every true Muslim,” Kablawi asserted, “should talk to himself about dying as a martyr for the sake of Allah. The Prophet said whoever does not do that is a hypocrite. Can you imagine? There is nothing higher than to die for what you believe.”
Kablawi then struck the victimhood pose that is so very much in fashion nowadays among Islamic advocacy groups in the U.S.: “But they make people heroes because they die for what they believe. Only when it comes to Islam, our martyrs become terrorists. They come to talk to you about Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela didn’t die for that, but he fought his whole life, and he was imprisoned for years for his cause, for whatever he believed in… Even thought I have some reservations about what he believed… Gandhi, same story, [was considered] a hero because he died for what he believed in. The guy from Mexico [sic], Guevara, [Che] Guevara, or whatever, a big guy. Even Bob Marley died for his… You know what? [He is] a hero. Why do you praise these people? Because they died for what they believe in. So why is it forbidden for us, when we say that the greatest level that you can attain is to die for what you believe in – for Allah? Why? You have double standards, hypocrites, why?”
The biggest example of this hypocrisy, as far as Kablawi was concerned, was Christians’ reverence for Jesus: “All day long you are bugging us that Jesus died for us… We don’t believe that Jesus died for us, we don’t even believe that Jesus died, period. Yet. But here, you are praising Jesus because he died for what he believed in, to save you from your sins. Why is it forbidden for us to die for our belief, why has it become a big deal?”
Well, one reason is because Jesus didn’t take anyone with him. By contrast, the Qur’an states: “Surely Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their belongings and in return has promised that they shall have Paradise. They fight in the way of Allah, and kill and are killed” (9:111).
Kablawi doesn’t mention that bit about killing nonbelievers, and continues: “And if you cry every day or when you go to church, because Jesus died and he was tortured, and all that… If you really hate that and feel bad for Jesus, then Islam gives you the answer. After all these years that they lied to you and told you that Jesus died. And here, we Muslims are coming to tell you that Jesus is alive. So what do you do in return? You fight us. If you truly love Jesus, this is the religion for you. Ask the people who converted [from Christianity]. Wasn’t this a deal breaker or a deal maker? Jesus, you claim you love Jesus, and we love Jesus, but we love him more than you. But we love the Jesus that we believe in, and you love the Jesus they lied to you about – two different Jesuses.”
Two different Jesuses indeed. Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet of Allah who prophesied the coming of Muhammad (Qur’an 61:6), and who was not the son of God (Qur’an 19:35), did not die on the cross (Qur’an 4:157), and was not the savior of the world. This is an “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” Jesus, not the Jesus of Christianity, and represents the Islamic view that Christianity itself is a twisted, hijacked version of the true teaching of Jesus, which is Islam.
In this view, Christianity has no legitimacy, and Christians are heretics, renegades from the faith of Jesus, Islam. In light of that, it is no surprise that Muslim persecution of Christians is so persistent in today’s world. To take just one piquant example, the UK’s leftist Guardian reported in January that “more than 340 million Christians — one in eight — face high levels of persecution and discrimination because of their faith, according to the 2021 World Watch List compiled by the Christian advocacy group Open Doors. It says there was a 60 percent increase over the previous year in the number of Christians killed for their faith.”
When even the left notices the persecution of Christians, you know it’s bad. And it comes from the Islamic delegitimization and appropriation of Christianity that Dr. Fadi Yousef Kablawi just enunciated in Miami. But no one will take any particular notice of this. To do so would be “Islamophobic.”