Fr. Del Bo: Islamic colonization of Europe. But dialogue is important for us (III)
Through demographics, having many children, and the rules of Islamic fraternity in London, Paris and even in Italy entire neighborhoods follow sharia and not the law of the state. Preaching and the Muslim mission are also taught at school. Young Muslims are searching for their identity. Protecting coexistence like in a family.
Rome (AsiaNews) - To deepen his knowledge of Islam, Fr. Luca Del Bo, PIME missionary in Cameroon, followed the courses of an Islamic institute in Paris (France), inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood. The ideal of this institute is to go back to motivating young people to live an integral Islam, which appreciates Sharia. In this way, there is a sort of Islamic colonization of European cities or at least some neighborhoods. The effects are already seen in London, in Paris, in some Italian cities.
Fr. Del Bo, together with other Christians and the imams of North Cameroon helps young people succumb to the appeal of Boko Haram's fundamentalist and violent Islam. Here the third part of his experience, in contact with the Islamic school in Paris. For the first part click here. For the second, here.
The school I attended in Paris claims to teach "true" Islam, which is basically Salafism, in the image of the period of "well-guided caliphs" and of the Caliphate of Baghdad. Of course, it teaches Muslims to follow sharia, the Islamic law, motivating it with arguments drawn from the hadiths, or from the Koran, or from the great jurists. It is a school that greatly values jurisprudence. Faced with the shocking aspects of sharia (for example, the cutting of the hand for thieves), they explain that these punishments are to be applied in an Islamic State. In such a state there should be no poor, so there would be no need to steal. Sharia does not provide for the hand to be cut off from the poor who steals out of hunger, but only from the rich. It should also be said that the law of hand cutting is not applied in Islamic States, except in Saudi Arabia (wahhabita) and Daesh.
The school insists on behavior, on customs (veil, modest clothes, beard, ...), on food - what you can eat or drink, or not. One example: can you use vinegar (which comes from wine)? Can pork jelly be used?
Everyone is asked to proclaim their faith and spread it. There is also a "French" course, which is actually a way of teaching these young Muslims to respond to criticism about Islam or the Muslim community. If students realize that someone has spoken or even just looked maliciously at a girl with a veil, or a bearded boy, they are taught to write an article immediately by sending it to newspapers, publishing it.
There is also a sort of de facto colonization of neighborhoods in European cities. As the indication that they are given is not to stay too long with non-Muslims, they tend to live side by side and buy homes near other Muslims. When they are in large numbers, the preaching begins, inviting non-Muslim neighbors to convert: the strategy (taught at school during preaching and mission) is to show oneself kind and welcoming to neighbors and then to propose Islam them to and to insist with this proposal. If they do not accept, they are to offer to buy their home, making the neighborhood more homogeneous. They do not drive them out, but there is a lot of pressure.
We know that in London there are neighborhoods where Sharia is lived. In a documentary, on these London neighborhoods, we see a woman asking for a divorce because her husband mistreated her and turned to the imams who had the task of managing the neighborhood. And we see that it is not the State that manages the law, but the Sharia dominates it. The woman could have contacted the state, but in that case, she would have had to leave her house and neighborhood because of the consequent the social pressure.
This is also what happens around Paris and also in some areas of the Alps, where Muslim communities are growing out of proportion, while Westerners leave the mountains. The same is happening in Italy too. I remember that when I was a young teenager, I lived in a small town where there was a tiny Muslim community. We guys were playing football and there was a Muslim who played with us. One day he never turned up so we went to ask him why he no longer played with us and he told us he could not because other Muslim friends had arrived. When the Islamic community expands, then the laws and rules of not spending too much time with non-Muslims come into play. Muslims come from outside, the community grows, they get married early, with the declared goal of having many children and forming them in the Islamic way. So they form these neighborhood communities, and they try to live according to Sharia. This does not happen by imposition: they want to live their faith with love, with passion because it is part of their identity.
We should learn from them. Yesterday I was in the audience in the Paul VI hall, and instead of seeing a sharing of love and charity between Christians and Catholics I witnessed arguments and discussions to get closest to the Pope for the best picture. I saw people insulting each other, when they should express love! Muslims, on the other hand, want to live their faith fully, they learn as children that Islam is the best community, that peace, justice and fraternal relations must be lived. When they turn to one another they call each other "brother, sister".
Young people who are searching
For the most part, the courses are followed by young people. But many - especially boys - leave because they have to earn a living and then follow correspondence courses, or via computer. In the institute I attended there are 1700 students, mostly girls. There are two other similar institutions around Paris.
90% are girls, mostly young brides. They are the ones that will have to give birth to and form future children and therefore the new Muslim community. I appreciate the fact that they do it with conviction and love. The same applies to the veil: it is not imposed; they do it for the sake of the prophet, because the women of the prophet wore the veil. They never touch each other. In two years none of them has ever touched me and I have never touched the hand of one of these girls, even when we studied side by side. Not because "Sharia says so", but because we enter into a logic, a belief that religion is this, God commands you because it is wise and wants your good.
All these young people are looking for their Islamic identity. First of all there is a social factor. In the West there are several generations of Muslims along with other identities (Christian, secular, etc.). These identities come into competition, sending young people into crisis.
There is a religious-spiritual factor for how much man can be secularized, he is always looking for an "Other" to be trusted. This is often ignored, but I realize that there is this searching in humanity. For many generations one can ignore it and one can "live on rent", but then the "rent" ends and humanity returns to its searching. These young people see that their parents are secularized, but they remember that their grandparents had a simple but strong identity and therefore they try to return to this religious, spiritual identity, looking for the strongest and most solid things.
Finally there is a historical aspect. For a long time it was felt that Islam was strong, and then the community lived in peace, it was in a golden age where there were no problems, where there was development. Now we are now confronted with Islamic countries behind those of the West, where Islam is not making a good impression and therefore there is the desire to rediscover "what is my identity?". If I must be Muslim to be retrograde and violent, this is not it. There is a desire to rediscover their roots. Hence the desire to attend these schools, also looking for topics on the internet. The trouble is that on the internet the first sites you meet are the violent ones. This is because Saudi Arabia spends at least $ 11 million on internet communication. Those who work are trained on the internet, when they return home or when they have free time. The reason is to discover one's cultural and religious identity.
Sometimes someone has a social unease behind them, especially in those countries that have a colonial past, like France, where there is a greater presence of Muslims. Italy still does not have this problem, even if Islamic communities are growing. Last year the Italian Muslim association proposed to make polygamy pass as a civil law. At present there are in Italy 20 thousand recognized polygamous marriages, even if the law has not passed. It is interesting that Muslims propose it as a civil and non-religious law. And the argument is: "If homosexuals can marry and adopt children, why can’t I have more women?" And if the counter-response is: "For the woman's right", they answer: "Then we put as a condition that one can marry more than one woman if he can love her and treat her like the others." And this is part of sharia, which puts polygamy into this condition, even if the Koran says it is impossible to love all wives equally.
The dialogue card
Participating in these courses personally helped me a lot. I have always been well received, with respect and patience, even when I reacted. I learned to understand the world of Islam more. It is a complex world, full of conflict. If you look at where there are wars in the world, we see that they are often wars between Muslims, There are no wars between Islam and non-Islam: the fire is always within Islam, which then for many reasons also extends to the non-Muslims.
The Islamic world is strongly religious. The Muslim tries to be sincere with himself and to live his relationship with God well, and then tries to take care of his relationship with others. The point that drives him is "how to please God" and how to "be worthy of paradise". In every lesson I followed there was always the explanation of how to earn a "hasanat", a kind of good, of merits, with which one tries to please God and go to heaven. This "pleasing to God" has different interpretations: the suicide bomber who blows himself up does so to gain paradise; those who criticize him also do so to gain paradise. This interpretation makes Islam very complex and varied and yet incomprehensible.
I find it important to try to live fraternally with Muslims, asking the other for his reasons for what he says. Those who blow themselves up sometimes have no arguments, but they make these gestures only because they have heard others say that they should do so.
In my opinion, dialogue is linked to being Church. Muslims do not pose this problem, but the Church must not renounce dialogue, otherwise there would be only war. And at first it is not necessary to base the dialogue on the truth, on who is right, or else we immediately enter into a controversy. The question of truth must be asked, but not at first glance. We must try to create bonds and relationships with others, to learn how to live together. Little by little this will create a universal fraternity, which I firmly believe is part of God's plan.
To live as brothers and sisters means to live each one with their own identity and convictions, but to live together in the same family. You can argue, disagree, but even though you may not share the tastes or hobbies of others, you can still continue to live together.
(End of the third and final part)