In keeping with ongoing revelations of just how immoral some Muslims view Christianity—to one cleric, Christian church worship is worse than murder and bloodshed—here is another Muslim cleric that appeared on an Arabic language television program claiming that the Christian God “loves”—and thus demands that his followers loves and practice—immoral behavior. This is precisely why, argued the sheikh, that Europe is so sexually loose.
After the more sane-looking host pointed out that in Christianity, fornication and adultery are sins, and that secular Europe’s liberal attitude toward sex is not reflective of Christian truths, the sheikh loudly protested:
No, fornication and adultery are not forbidden in Christianity. You see, God is love for them. This is one of their false teachings. The foundation for Christianity is that God is love. So what does “God is love” mean? It means that God loves everything. And why does God love everything? Because God is the source of everything. This means God is the creator of fornication and adultery. So who makes you commit fornication and adultery? God. Thus “God is love” means that God loves everything he created, and therefore we are obligated to love it too…. God is the one who created fornication and adultery; he is the one who created alcohol—so who are we to hate things that God created? God is love and so we are to love everything he created.
This sort of thinking, connecting Christian beliefs with immoral behavior, is not new for Muslims. It goes all the way back to Islam’s first encounter with Christianity, in the guise of the Byzantine empire, which for centuries withstood Islam’s onslaughts, till its demise in 1453.
According to Nadia Maria El Cheikh, author of Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs, “Byzantine women are strongly associated with sexual immorality” among Muslims. In Islam’s oldest writings, European Orthodox Christian women are portrayed as the “most shameless women in the whole world,” always “prone to adultery,” which “is commonplace in the cities and markets of Byzantium.” Apparently the greatest hussies were “the nuns from the convents [who] went out to the fortresses to offer themselves to monks.” But as Cheikh concludes:
[T]he image that they [Muslims] create in describing these women is anything but beautiful. Their depictions are, occasionally, excessive, virtually caricatures, overwhelmingly negative…. In fact, in Byzantium, women were expected to be retiring, shy, modest, and devoted to their families and religious observances…. [T]he behavior of most women in Byzantium was a far cry from the depictions that appear in Arabic sources.”
Several centuries later, in a written excerpt that goes to great (if not pornographic) lengths, prominent Persian scholar ‘Imad ad-Din (d.1201) portrayed Frankish Catholic women as “all licentious harlots, foul-fleshed and sinful.” “They dedicated as a holy offering what they kept between their thighs” and “maintained that they could make themselves acceptable to God by no better sacrifice than this.” He had particular contempt for one young woman who “walked proudly with the cross on her breast,” since, no doubt, this was proof for the learned Muslim that she “longed to lose her robe and her honor.”
And, just as the earliest Muslims (falsely) portrayed sexual immorality as a hallmark of Christian piety in Byzantium, so the Persian wrote, “Now among the Franks a woman who gives herself to a celibate man [monk] commits no sin, and her justification is even greater in the case of a priest, if chaste men in dire need find relief in enjoying her.”
Such is Islam’s centuries-old calumny against Christianity, for teaching that “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). But this is unsurprising; after all, the Bible also teaches that there will always be those who “call evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).