By Moses Oludele Idowu
“Destroying the cross is an Islamic obligation”
That was the title of a poster found in Afghanistan and reported by Michael Yon after its liberation by the Allied soldiers.
The reality of the truth of that poster again came to light recently at our backyard here when the Kano State Government demolished the Roundabout around the Government House in Kano. It is not the demolition that matters as some of the reasons given for the demolition. Two reasons have been given for the demolition:
* That the project is structurally defective and will collapse within one year.
* That it carries the sign of the cross.
The first reason is totally grossly unsound and idle. I am a Civil/Structural engineer of many years and there is no way you can tell a structure newly completed is defective and will collapse in one year without scientific and engineering tests. Which test has the State Government just inaugurated conducted on this project to ascertain its structural inadequacy? None.
So this reason, in the absence of empirical proofs and validation based on genuine technical inquest is grossly unsound.
Thus we move to the second reason which appears to me more cogent and devoid of plausible deniability. For the sake of clarity I will quote the Secretary to the Kano State Government, Baffa Bichi in extensio: –
“The roundabout is obstructing the view of motorists, and secondly, if you use a drone camera, you will see that the roundabout has a large design of a cross on top of it.
“And over 99.9 or 100 percent of Kano indigenes are Muslims. So you can’t have a structure with a large inscription of the cross on it. It’s against Islamic values.
“Our clerics told us that whenever our beloved Prophet Muhammad saw anything, no matter how little, with a sign of the cross on it, he would ensure that such a thing is destroyed.
“So any picture of Kano you snap, you would see a large sign of the cross on it, even the Muhammadu Buhari underpass in Hotoro has a similar design, and I can assure you that plans are underway to make sure those symbols are removed from the bridge.” [ https://ireporteronline.com.ng/blog/we-demolished-kano-roundabout-because-it-carried-large-christian-cross-ssg/also Daily News]
Did you hear that? That is the real reason why the Roundabout was destroyed. He has also promised that other structures carrying the cross in the metropolis will go.
That is clear enough. I love Muslims for one thing. They are clear and tell their mission clearly. It is their opposite numbers and their leaders who obfuscate and try to be Politically Correct in a world that is anything but correct.
Bichi has made several points in that statement on Freedom Radio which in fact goes to the root of the problem and which can be seen throughout Islamic History.
The real question then is: Why do Muslims hate the Cross?
It is my purpose in this essay to, among other things:
* The significance of the Cross to Christianity and to Christian Salvation-History.
* The long history of hatred of the Cross by Muslims
* The real reason why most Muslims react violently against the Cross
* The logical implications and consequences of this reality
* Concluding Remarks.
* *The Cross in Christian Salvation History*
It is not an accident that I deliberately titled this essay The Offense of the Cross. Because the Cross brings offense. I am not surprised that CAN, – the weak and incompetent body sleeping on its watch – that claims to defend Christian values in Nigeria has not found its voice nor said anything. Possibly the leaders too are offended by the Cross.
Right from Paul’s day, he noticed the offense that the cross caused to both Jews and the Greeks; to one a stumbling block and the other foolishness. But to Christians, it is the symbol of salvation, victory over death, submission, discipleship to Christ, and many more. This essay will become a book if I should speak on all these.
It is with the Cross and the attitude to it that you know a true Christian from a false one. Not just the symbol but what it represents.
The Cross represents the ultimate Christian victory over the world, over the god of this world Satan, and over the flesh and self – the three enemies that the Christian is called to fight. The Cross is the glory of the Christian for in it we see the submission of Christ to the Will of God the Father against His Own Will.
Taking up the Cross also means, for a Christian, submitting his own will and totally taking up the Will of the Father. Thus the Cross is the highest symbol and holiest symbol of Christianity and the symbol of Salvation from death. Just as the Red Sea marks the separation of Jews and Egyptians and represents a cardinal point in Jewish Salvation- History, so the Cross is to the Christian.
Even though there are many traditions and denominations in Christianity they are all united by one thing: Cross. Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Church, Protestants, Charismatic, and Pentecostals all agree on this. Because without the Cross and the death of Jesus Christ on it, there can be no salvation and there can be no deliverance from sin.
Do Christians worship the cross?
Do Christians worship the cross? then? This question is stupid, in itself. Symbols are important in all religious rituals and movements. The Maze is a mere piece of equipment made of bronze but it represents the power of the Senate and without it, all proceedings are null and void. Do you get it?
Christians don’t worship the Cross they revere it because of what it stands for. We worship only the Living God through Jesus Christ the Mediator between God and Man.
Thus to desecrate the Cross is a serious thing. If you know the implications, it is far more serious than can be said here. It is to trample on the holiest statue of Christianity. It is – in graphical form – to spit in Christ’s Face and on billions of Christians of all traditions and denominations.
Do Muslims know the implications of what they often do and say? Does the Kano State Government know the implications of what its official just said on the Radio in a secular state?
Yet Muslims in the same breath claim to rever “Jesus” or someone they call Jesus who is a prophet in their religion. Yet at every opportunity they desecrate the symbol of his authority and destroy His houses of worship. What a contradiction! How do you say you rever me yet you destroy the books I have written? Sometimes I wonder whether they teach Logic in Islamic Thought.
This is why scholars now believe there is a Muslim Jesus shown in the Koran which is actually different from the Real Jesus Christ of Nazareth known in the Bible, a view with which I now fully concur.
I shall write on this fully another day.
* *The Long History of Hatred of the Cross by Muslims*
If the Kano Incident was an isolated case that would not raise any eyebrows and it would be too finicky raising issues. But even in Nigeria, it isn’t.
Those old enough will remember the Religious Row at the University of Ibadan when the Muslim community in that premier institution insisted that the Cross that had been there since 1948 must be removed for them to build their mosque. It took the principled stand of Christians and a more vibrant CAN that was alive and well to resist it.
Apart from this, there are a whole lot of incidents in History showing Muslim hatred of the Cross. As a researcher, these incidents are too numerous for me to ignore even in spite of Political Correctness.
Here are a few cases in recent memory:
* In 2012 the world was shocked when Muslim mobs or militia descended on Commonwealth war graves in Libya and desecrated them. They smashed every cross they saw on sight and any grave carrying the symbol of the cross was smashed. They were not furious or acting in anger or rage just carrying out a duty. Anywhere they sighted a cross on the grave you could hear them: – “That is the grave of a Christian”. Thereafter it was vandalized. Even for those who have died there was no respect by Muslims because of the Cross.
They were also heard shouting obscenities: ‘Break the graves that belong.to those dogs.’
I really wonder who the dogs are in this case, whether the one who has already completed his assignment and resting or the lunatics who have nothing to do except destroy graves.
* On Monday 29 October 2007 right inside the Malaysian Parliament, Tuan Syed Hood bin Syed Edros complained about ” the display of religious symbols’ in front of church schools.”
Here are his exact words:
” I as a responsible person to my religion, race, and country, state my views that … these crosses need to be destroyed..”
The world was stunned. That a Parliamentarian will obviously call for the destruction of the harmless symbol of another religion and a major religion for that matter.
* In 2007 Hamas, the murderous Palestinian terrorist movement miscalled freedom fighters took control of Gaza after the world prevailed on Israel to withdraw.
And what did we see?
Some of Hamas’ militants went on a cross-destroying rampage. The Rosary Sisters convent and school in Gaza “was ransacked and looted by masked men and crosses were specifically targeted for destruction”.
A Christian resident of Gaza also reported having a crucifix forcefully removed from his neck by a member of the Hamas Executive Force with a warning: “That is forbidden.”
Forbidden by who? Which god?
* In 2004 Belmarsh Prison in England was reported of raising £1.6 million to build a mosque. Why? Because the Muslim terrorists kept there complained that they cannot use the chapel for their prayers because it contains signs of the Cross, even though those signs are usually covered when they wanted to use the interdenominational/ multi-purpose chapel.
Think of a Christian prisoner making the same excuse in an Arab prison.
* In April 2007, in the Al-Doura Christian Christian area of Baghdad, Muslim militants instructed Christians to remove visible crosses from atop their churches. Thereafter a fatwa was issued forbidding Christians from wearing crosses
* On March 18, 2004, an Albanian mob attacked and desecrated the church of St. Andrew in Podujevo Kosovo. Photographs distributed to the international media show Muslims, who had climbed up onto the roof breaking off the prominent metal crosses attached there. Several instances of smashing of crosses on Christian graveyards in Kosovo have been reported.
* In 1998 just two days before Christmas a Catholic Church in Faisalabad, Pakistan had its crucifix pulled down by a Muslim leader.
* During Muslim Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem from 1948-1967, there was the deliberate destruction of around 38,000 Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives some of which were over 1000 years old.
How about that?
Sincerely, if Islam were the only religion in the world I would not be a Muslim – with what I know today about Muslims and Islam.
You now see why Israeli soldiers had to fight their lives out to capture Jerusalem from Arab occupational forces and why they would never surrender it.
Now here is the worse case about hatred for the Cross which shows it is an official doctrinal belief:
* The late Archbishop of Canterbury, the very reverend George Carey (1933 – 2023) was also forced to remove his cross and even clerical collar when his flight had to pass through Jeddah.
The old man was traveling from Cairo to Sudan but the flight had to make an intermediary stop in Saudi Arabia not that he was traveling to Saudi. As soon as the flight approached Jeddah, “Carey was told to remove all religious insignia, including his clerical collar and pectoral cross”. [ See David Skidmore, Episcopal News Service]
Even for the head of all Anglican Church worldwide who had to pass through that nation circumstantially, Saudi Arabia authorities would not show any respect. Yet Muslims would demand all Rights and privileges in Britain and go to court and make a hell of noise about their rights being violated – while they stubbornly and gleefully violate the rights of others. This is what I call in another essay Islam’s morbid intolerance.
It is the doctrine of Islam
I have shown these cases across time and cultures from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and even Africa to show that this policy of destruction of the Cross is not a new thing in Islam. What Kano State Government said was true, it is the doctrine and policy of Islam.
Christians and CAN can continue to deceive themselves that it is a political gimmick but as I have shown here it is more than politics or politicization of religion. It can be seen throughout Islamic History.
When Islam’s jihadists came to Egypt in the seventh century they destroyed most of the symbols of Christianity and cross-carrying structures. Same with Christian Syria with its noble inventions.
Is it also politics that compelled them?
I feel very ashamed of many of these so-called Christian intellectuals. And Jesus must indeed be ashamed of modern Christians. That you could misread a statement by Kano State Government, a statement so clear and unambiguous and backed with Islamic History.
* *The Real Reasons Why Muslims React Violently Against the Cross*
I have established the fact of Muslim hatred of the Cross throughout time and space. Sure this charge cannot be made normative of all Muslims but there is more than enough grounds, enough evidence both in views, practice, doctrine, and conduct to also dismiss the charge.
Historians talk of “patterns in history.” There is enough data to see a pattern of Muslim desecration of the cross which a serious historian and researcher true to the craft should not dismiss.
Some other people will also try to be dismissive on the ground that we cannot use extremists to judge a whole religion. Fine. I agree.
But can a state government like Kano State or a national government like Jeddah compelling a state emissary to remove his collar be called extremists?
It was the entire Muslim Ummah that requested for the Cross at UI to be removed not a band of extremists or radicals or followers of Ishaq Akintola – the Islamic professor of bigotry and intolerance who is busy miseducating students at LASU with his fanatical views.
So if most Muslims hate the Cross why so?
So far as I can gather there are two reasons.
Let us examine the first one. The phenomenon of cross-desecration did not begin today in Islam. It actually goes further down to the early days of Islam, right up to the time of Mohammad. At least we have a tradition reported by Al- Waqidi that said that “if ever Muhammad found an object in his house with the mark of a cross on it, he would destroy it.” [ See W. Muir, The Life of Muhammad, Volume 3, p.61, note 47.]
It is significant that the Kano State Government was referring to this tradition. He actually used the exact words.
You can see that Muslims are at least true to the teachings and doctrine of their own prophet. For this, I salute them. That is why I love Muslims. Sincerely, I do not hate Muslims; I cherish them. But I do not agree with them and I cannot say I love Islam. No, I do not.
The second reason that I can find about why Muslims hate the Cross is actually obvious to anyone who knows a bit about the Koran and Muslim beliefs.
The Cross symbolizes the Death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Wherever the Cross is seen it brings back memory of the Death of Christ.
This is also why Jews too hate the Cross but they are not as violent about it since they fear the wrath of Christians and know they need the help of Christians as a minority in the world.
The Muslim hatred is however for a different reason than the Jew. In the Jewish case, the Cross reminds them of their culpability in the betrayal of Christ. Observe the Jewish opposition to the famous film, The Passion of the Christ.
The Muslim opposition is however for a different reason.
Here is a second reason why Muslims possibly hate the Cross.
The Koran insists that Jesus did not die on the cross but it was made to appear like that.
“…And for boasting, “We killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.” But they neither killed nor crucified him—it was only made to appear so. Even those who argue for this ˹crucifixion˺ are in doubt. They have no knowledge whatsoever—only making assumptions. They certainly did not kill him”
مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَـٰكِن شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱخْتَلَفُوا۟ فِيهِ لَفِى شَكٍّۢ مِّنْهُ ۚ مَا لَهُم بِهِۦ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا ٱتِّبَاعَ ٱلظَّنِّ ۚ وَمَا ( قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًۢا ١٥
“Rather, Allah raised him up to Himself. And Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.”
وَبِكُفْرِهِمْ وَقَوْلِهِمْ عَلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ
بُهْتَـٰنًا عَظِيمًۭا [ Sura 4:157-8]
[ Source: Quran.com]
Various interpretations have been given by several Muslim scholars about these verses but the common agreement by most is that Jesus didn’t die on the Cross. And most Muslims do not believe in the Crucifixion. Ahmed Deedat, the fanatical pamphleteer from South Africa has even published a treatise to ridicule the very idea of a crucifixion.
This is contrary to the witness of the Bible, the Christian Holy Book which cited several eyewitnesses of the Crucifixion.
This witness of the Bible is further corroborated by the History and Annals of Rome as recorded by Cornelius Tacitus – the most famous of Roman historians in the generation after Christ – and several Roman officials of the time like Pliny the Younger, Pontius Pilate, etc who all affirmed that Christ was actually crucified and the death was a historical fact.
All these persons lived during the time of Christ or a generation after him, unlike the Koran which came almost 600 years after the fact.
Edward Gibbon in his immortal work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire quoting some of the earliest sources and writings also alluded to the Crucifixion of Christ as an historical fact.
Herein lies the problem and the conflict.
Since the Cross, an empty Cross is the most visible symbol of Jesus’ death and brings the fact of His death to memory, which Muslims deny, it is logical that a Muslim would definitely find the symbol or sign offensive because it negates the provisions of Koran as they understand it.
Possibly, this could be a major reason why Muslims despise the Cross and why they have issues with Christians.
The highest symbol in Christian Salvation History is despised for obvious reasons by adherents of another major religion. The ground for conflict is then laid.
This is why the extremists among Muslims insist that Christianity must go in any area where they reside. They are probably right because as long as Christians insist on affirming Christ’s Crucifixion they will offend Muslims and a Christian cannot possibly be a Christian who denies the Crucifixion of Christ. So conflict is inevitable.
This is why we return to the thesis of “The Muslim Jesus.” There is no other plausible explanation to resolve the issue.
* *The Logical Implications and Consequences of This Belief*
There is no neutral belief or idea. All ideas and beliefs have consequences. Recently in an essay on Fatalism, I show from data that all the fifteen poorest nations of the world are Muslim states or states dominated by Muslims and, conversely, all the most prosperous nations on earth on Legatum Index are nations built on Judeo-Christian values and foundation.
[ See, *Islam and Fatalism: How the Religion of Allah Breeds Poverty Among the Masses ]*
Not only that more than 90% of mechanical inventions and innovations have come from nations where Christians make up the majority of the population. ( See Daniel Lapin, 2010)
What are the logical implications of this Muslim hostility to the Cross, this belief? When a Christian believes in the Death of Christ and His Resurrection does it have any effect or consequence? And when one does not believe it does it really matter?
Of course, it does.
And that is the difference we see today between nations and peoples and tongues.
The hostility of Muslims to the Cross as a doctrine and Islamic policy also reveals something, something far more serious than we think.
It was St. Paul who said that no one speaking by the Holy Spirit can call Jesus accursed. It is certain and logical too. You cannot claim to love me or be loyal to me and you destroy or degrade the highest achievement of my literary or intellectual career.
The Cross is Jesus Christ’s highest achievement for the salvation of humanity in fulfillment of Heavenly requirements. Of course to those who are perishing, the sons and daughters of perdition, it seems like foolishness.
But it is the highest Wisdom of God just as the ways of God are past finding out, just as God took Israel to the Red Sea to save them – something most contrary to human imagination.
Thus whatever spirit motivates anyone to desecrate, destroy or trample on the Cross cannot be the same Spirit that inspired Christ or the Spirit of the Living God, Yah, the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
Do Muslims worship the same God as Christians?
I used to think so. However, in light of what I know about Islam’s hostility to the Cross – the most revered symbol in Christian Salvation History – I now have serious doubts about that.
Sincerely, I do not think so. That is the only path that Logic leads me.
Everything I have said in this essay is true but there is one thing I need to add to be fair to Muslims. Muslims from the beginning have a serious aversion to idolatry or whatever they consider idolatrous. They are to be commended for this.
The Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia have been known for more than a hundred years for destroying venerated gravesites, ” including those of some of Muhammad’s own relatives. The Shiites have protested this and it is online.
Likewise, the Al- Shabab in Somalia has been known to destroy the graves of Sufi, another sect in Islam as well as war graves of Christians.
This is a complex issue.
We see the struggle against idolatry which is commendable but the Cross does not fall into that category.
The Cross is not an idol in Christianity and not an object of superstitious veneration to warrant such a wholesale desecration and rampage from Muslims across time and over different cultures.
In concluding this essay I have to note one significant fact. That Muslims are quick to demand respect for their own sacred space but are not willing to accord the same to others. I can cite numerous cases about this and I have written about this before.
Even sometimes they take this to obscene and annoying levels.
Some Muslim students in a Catholic University in America demanded that the Cross in the chapel be taken down because it offends their sense of religious aesthetics. In a Catholic University, not a public college.
How about that?
Can a Christian make the same demand of Al- Azhar University in Cairo if at all he is admitted there? They will club him to death.
Yes, in October 2011 a Christian student was actually beaten to death by an Egyptian teacher aided by his Muslim students when he was ordered to remove his crucifix and he refused insisting on his fundamental rights.
While Muslims seek a haven to shelter their own religion and preserve their heritage they don’t see anything wrong in desecrating the heritage of other people.
This is possibly the reason why Muslims seek to be in power at all costs, where they can use authority to enforce their rights, get their demands and suppress the wishes of others. Either by government policy initiatives or by violence using Islamists and radicals. Where they are in the minority they use legality and the Law and Human Rights which they neither grant to others wherever they are in dominance.
That is part of the consequences of rejecting the Cross. The Cross represents self-denial, loving another person even as yourself and more than yourself, and showing regard to others.
Muslims largely don’t know this lesson because it is rooted in the Cross which they vehemently resist and reject.
As to the “useful idiots”- who will condemn this essay as usual and brand it as sectional, biased, inflammatory, divisive, etc., – made up of pseudo-scholars, gullible intellectuals, and ignorant Christians, deluded slaves of Cultural Marxism and Political Correctness I say “Bravo to you all.”
Soon you will wake up where you are headed.
1. I am indebted to Mark Durie, Stonegate Institute, especially for his essay: “Islam’s Tradition of Breaking the Cross” for several of the cases of cross desecration cited.
2. Raymond Ibrahim, for his essay in Hudson New York about the Egyptian student killed by the teacher. He is also of *Middle East Forum,*- a formidable intellectual think-tank of which I am a member.
* *Moses Oludele Idowu* is a researcher, writer, and author of more than 40 publications, numerous articles, and papers in journals, newspapers, magazines, and Social Media.
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© Moses Oludele Idowu
June 17, 2023
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