We Don’t Kidnap Imams

Father Michael Sinnott
Father Michael Sinnott (photo: CNS/Reuters)

One of the ongoing difficulties of dialogue with Islam is that there is a very fundamental disconnect between the behavior of people who are highly animated by their Christian faith, and the actions undertaken by a substantial number of committed Muslims.

This has been reaffirmed once again last weekend by the kidnapping in the southern Philippines of a 79-year-old Irish missionary priest, Father Michael Sinnott. The identity of the kidnappers has yet to be firmly established, but virtually no one doubts Father Sinnott is being held hostage by Muslim militants.

Where is the united outcry of Muslims around the world, against the constant commission of this kind of violence by their co-religionists against Christians? When Christian-Muslim dialogue does occur, Muslims generally represent themselves as the victims and Christians as the oppressors, despite the concrete reality that the dynamic of persecution is almost always the reverse when acts of violence are committed in the name of religion.

Or, to drive the point home in a more visceral way, when was the last time you read a media account about Christian extremists kidnapping an imam?