Have the bishops been duped? Or is the leftist political agenda really more important to them than protecting America from terrorism?

On Tuesday, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., testified before Democratic Senator Dick Durbin‘s committee hearing on the civil rights of Muslims. Though he acknowledged the existence of extremist ideology within Islam, he opted to characterize this ideology as being something different from “authentic Islam.”

Even more troubling, however, particularly for a Catholic like myself, was his insistence that criticisms of the radical Wahhabist theology of ISNA, the group selected for dialogue by the USCCB, are misplaced. He further mentioned the “common good,” a legitimate term in worldwide Catholicism but co-opted by the radical Left in America, in the context of dialogue with these particular Muslims.

In our pluralistic society, religious values and commitments are assets for the common good, not sources of division and conflict. Today we note with particular sadness that Muslim Americans with whom we have had a positive dialogue for over the decades have had their loyalty and beliefs questioned publicly in sweeping and uninformed ways. This compels us to reach out in solidarity and support of their dignity and rights as Americans and believers. We worry about the rhetoric and actions that target our Muslim neighbors and friends. Like our own historical experience, their very loyalty as Americans and traditions and values are being threatened.

There are very troubling realities involved in this statement. First of all, Catholics should be concerned that the USCCB has opted to have Muslim-Catholic dialogue with ISNA.

According to terrorism expert Steven Emerson, ISNA “is a radical group hiding under a false veneer of moderation”; “convenes annual conferences where Islamist militants have been given a platform to incite violence and promote hatred” (for instance, al Qaeda supporter and PLO official Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi was invited to speak at an ISNA conference); has held fundraisers for terrorists (after Hamas leader Mousa Marzook was arrested and eventually deported in 1997, ISNA raised money for his defense); has condemned the U.S. government’s post-9/11 seizure of Hamas’ and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s financial assets; and publishes a bi-monthly magazine, Islamic Horizons, that “often champions militant Islamist doctrine.”

That is really just the tip of the iceberg. ISNA is the largest Muslim Brotherhood front group on the North American continent. Has Cardinal McCarrick read the Team B II Report, Sharia: The Threat to America?

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