Is it possible to convert the Muslims?

Archbishop Lefebvre speaks on a subject he knew well from his experience in Africa.

During his long mandate in Africa, Archbishop Lefebvre acquired a thorough knowledge of false religions, witchcraft and especially of Islam.

Ever since the Council and especially after Assisi with the practice of a senseless ecumenism, the Vatican and the bishops have been multiplying "prayer reunions" with all religions together.

Today, when we hear Islam constantly quoted on all sides—both the civil and political side and the religious side—as an example and a source of enrichment, his testimony is of special interest.

This article has been taken from the French-language journal, Fideliter (September-October, 1987, #59): "Archbishop Lefebvre: My Forty Years of Episcopate".

A judgment of Islam by Archbishop Lefebvre

St. Pius V protected the Spanish Catholics against Islam

At a time when Islam is making a galloping headway in Africa and even in Europe, it is sufficient to always turn to the Magisterium. Read the letters that Pope St. Pius V addressed to the king of Spain. The pontiff judges Islam, a religion that he, the victor of the Battle of Lepanto (October 7, 1571), knows only too well, and denounces the dangers it presents for Catholicism.

The pope asks Philip II to intervene strongly and courageously against Islam, in order to keep the corruption and immorality that it diffuses from spreading to the Catholic milieus. Everyone knew at the time, that there were Spanish Catholics who were seduced by Islam and apostasized. It was a very difficult time.

Today, no one knows history; we are no longer willing to learn the lessons of history, for we pretend that everything has changed, that all is well and that everyone is good. And yet, to cite only the examples of European women who have married Muslims, we see that in keeping with the Koran, those who have left their wives have taken the children born to the couple—on the pretext that according to Koranic law the children of mixed marriages are to be Muslim.

At a time when every form of laxism is welcome, Islam upholds its customs, its rules, its Koran, although the manner of this varies somewhat depending on the region. Thus the Muslims in dark Africa do not have the same habits as those in Morocco or other North African countries, where women are still kept in harems.

Not to touch on the delicate problem of ritualistic mutilation, it is a veritable slavery of women that is maintained. In Senegal and in Mali, for example, black Muslim women go about freely. They are not locked up; there are no harems. But an appalling immorality reigns: constant divorces, exchanges of wives, and open prostitution.

In Dakar, there were sectors where the same sort of prostitution was carried on, and it was essentially the doing of Muslims. There were no Christians—thank God—and no pagans. It was a "commerce" publicly conducted by Muslims.

The Eastern [African] countries are affected by homosexuality. At their halts, travelers are solicited by little Muslim boys who offer themselves for immoral practices in exchange for money.

The Arab language, a strength for Islam

Even if they do so in good faith, the bishops are terribly wrong to vaunt a pure and disciplined Islam. I have before made a comparison with the Muslims' attachment to the Arab language, at the time when under modernist pressure the Church abandoned the use of Latin, the cement of the liturgy and of Christian universality.

But there is something mind-numbing in this tradition. In the Koranic schools one can see the children directed by a young teacher who makes them repeat the suras (verses) of the Koran in Arab over and over again all day long, although they do not understand a word of the language. It is the myth of Arab: anyone who is Arab is Muslim, anyone who is Muslim speaks Arab. It is at once the religious language and a strength for Islam.

And for our part we have abandoned the Latin language that united us. There is now a flurry of rites and we can no longer go from one church to another because the liturgy is different and we no longer understand a thing.

Is it possible to convert the Muslims?

So we may well wonder if it is possible to convert the Muslims? Others before us have wondered the same thing. For my part, I think that we can scarcely hope for more than the conversion of the intellectual elite. That is, those who are in our universities. They acquire diplomas that will allow them to practice a profession to earn their livelihood. They can marry and have a family. They will be more open to conversion after their contact with Europe, if she becomes Christian once again.

Certain Senegalese politicians or leaders, for example, have been converted in this way. But this perspective falls apart if the children remain dependent on the family, especially the women. Confined by the family, they risk the worst maltreatment or even poisoning if they dare to convert. That is why we could scarcely convert the Muslim children in our schools, even though there were many.

As I have said, that is why we did not wish to go over a proportion of 15% of the headcount. Because as soon as Muslims feel that they are the majority, strong and important, they impose their will. When they are few, they willingly submit to discipline and study. They kiss the hand they cannot cut off, as one of their proverbs says.

But we were able to convert some Animists, the children, the small, the weak, the subjects of the chiefs. As for the chiefs, powerful, important and great polygamists, they rarely converted to Catholicism, for they had to abandon their wives. And it was difficult for them to give up that arrogance and totalitarianism practiced even by the small village chiefs.

Islam makes headway in the non-Arab populations because unlike Catholic morality, the Muslim religion confirms them in their vices.

If you come over to Islam, you will become a greater chief, you will be even richer, you can have more wives, you can make slaves of more subjects who will work for you."

These reasons were backed up with flattery, gifts, pieces of fabric, fetishes...

That is how Islam makes headway. As I have said before: either Africa will become Muslim with the development of slavery, immorality, and polygamy, or Africa will become Christian and will find the order willed by God and will preserve its natural virtues of simplicity and hospitality.

If the Western nations, whose charge it was to raise these populations up, had not betrayed their mission, and if the Church herself had not disowned herself, instead of witnessing the worrisome progress of Islam, most of Africa would be Catholic today.