Daily Archives: March 9, 2011

What St. Francis has to teach us about the Jihad

One of the stories about Mohammed is that he challenged some Christian priests at some point to walk through fire to prove their faith in Christ. The priests refused, and Mohammed accused them of cowardice, winning converts and, IIRC, killing the priests.

St. Francis of Assisi, who had always wanted to go to the Crusades in his callow youth, changed that desire to one of pilgrimage. He and a companion made their humble, rag bearing way to the Holy Land and got arrested and brought before the Sultan.

St. Francis recalled to the Sultan that story about Mohammed. He said, “I come here today to present myself as a believer in Jesus Christ and answer Mohammed’s challenge. I will proudly walk through coals to prove my faith in Christ!”
The Sultan was so impressed by Francis’s faith–most accounts I’ve read say he didn’t even have to walk through the coals–that he gave Francis his badge to wear, providing him with the Sultan’s protection and basically a free pass to travel the Holy Land.

When Francis returned to Assisi, he was saddened to learn that some of his brothers who had been sent to do missionary work in Morrocco apparently took a more aggressive approach and had been killed by the Muslims.

A common “debate threat” one encounters these days, especially in regard to questioning our country’s role in this so-called “War on Terror,” is, “What would you do if the Jihadists were coming at you?”

I’ve always insisted I would announce my faith in Christ and welcome martyrdom.

Reflecting on St. Francis, let me be a bit more specific: I would do as St. Francis did. I would stop them and say, “You claim to have faith in your God, well, I have complete faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and in His only Son, Jesus Christ. My faith tells me that God will protect me from evil. My faith tells me that if I pray, the power of God can turn the hearts of infidels. Do you believe Allah has power? Why do you think you need those weapons? Is Allah not powerful enough to protect Himself? Does Allah not have power to change men’s hearts? Do you not have faith in the power of your own prayers? I challenge you to a duel of prayer. Prove your faith in Allah by putting down your weapons and praying instead!”