The ever-present specter of Islamism and its anti-Christian beliefs should not be taken lightly. As Luiz Sérgio Solimeo describes in his book, Islam and the Suicide of the West, Islam strongly tends towards radical violent attitudes toward the West. Wherever Islam takes over, it leaves room for little else.
However, there are surprising developments inside Islam that show vulnerability. The contradictions of Islamic teachings and values are eroding belief in the religion inside Muslim countries. A Washington Times article points out many indications that Islam is experiencing a crisis of belief.
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A Turning Away from Islam
The reasons for this crisis range from the practical reasons of working with the West, to those who have abandoned Islam entirely and finally those who have embraced Christianity.
More opportunist Muslims see the practice of radical Islam as an obstacle to a better working relationship and cooperation with Western countries. One example is Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s determination to eliminate rigid Islamic norms to facilitate his country’s economic progress or integration with global trends.
This phenomenon consists not only of top-down reforms carried out by political leaders interested in the economic benefits. Unfortunately, it includes rejection on a grassroots level by youth attracted to the decadent Western trends and lifestyles. Islamic scholar Dr. Spahic Omer argues that young Muslims embrace the bad aspects of the West’s wholesome values. Rather than learn what the West can teach about Christianity, science, law, politics or economics for the betterment of Muslim nations, Islamic youth are eagerly absorbing “Western values rooted in atheism, materialism, hedonism, selfishness, discrimination and greed, whereby God has been either rejected or humanized, and man, in turn, with his animal desires, deified.”
More Radical Departures: Apostasy and Atheism
One more manifestation of this crisis is Islam’s failure to respond to the problems of modern life. Thus, many are simply leaving Islam and believing in nothing. Atheism in the Islamic world has been making quiet but very steady inroads.
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Distress over the bloody and illogical aspects of Islamic teachings has disillusioned many young Muslims and catapulted them to disbelief. Others speak of abuses under the Sharia legal system that led them to leave Islam. Muslim non-believers are also becoming more aggressive in attacking Islam from the outside the Islamic world, thus helping attempts at liberalizing reforms from the inside. Despite the punishment of apostates in Islamic countries, the atheist movement there is going mainstream.
The Road to Conversion
The most dangerous step for a Muslim is not leaving Islam but embracing Christianity. However, droves of Muslims are taking this path. Christianity is the fastest-growing religion in Iran, while Islam is the fastest shrinking.
Despite the government zealously persecuting Christians, there are between one and three million Iranian Christians, up from a 1994 figure of 100,000. Fears of retribution make it very difficult to know how many Muslims are becoming Christians. Still, experts estimate that thousands convert every year but keep their conversions secret for fear of reprisals.
A Catholic Response to These Developments
From a Catholic perspective, the reasons for rejecting Islam cannot be some watered-down benefits, falling for atheism or embracing worldly decadence. The correct response to this crisis of belief should be the evangelization of these Muslims who are at a crossroads in their spiritual lives. It opens opportunities for conversion to the timeless One True Faith. It should be the object of prayer and sacrifice asking our Lady for her intercession in guiding these Muslims to the Church.
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The story of Zubair Simonson is indicative of what is possible. A convert from Islam to Catholicism, he had a long and winding path between these two religions. Completely mugged by the reality of 9/11, Simonson confronted his Islamic belief and came out repudiating it. This man eventually found his way home to the Church through God’s grace. From the Middle East comes many examples of Muslims finding Christ despite adverse circumstances. These journeys home to the True Faith are no small testament to Divine Providence and Grace that calls Muslims to convert.
Looking Forward to the Conversion of the Islamic Nations
Unfortunately, the crisis in the Church makes this path more difficult. However, it is not impossible. Catholics should seek the intercession of Our Lady and all the martyrs killed by Islam, that the Catholic Faith may touch the hearts of more Muslims. They should also pray for all Catholics in Islamic countries to be better witnesses to the Faith. May Our Lady protect all her converts in Islamic countries and hasten the day when all might embrace the Faith!
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