by Raymond Ibrahim
Last May in Italy, a Muslim boy of African origin beat a 12-year-old girl during school because she was wearing a crucifix around her neck. The African schoolboy, who had only started to attend the school approximately three weeks earlier, began to bully the Christian girl — “insulting her and picking on her in other ways all because she was wearing the crucifix” — before he finally “punched the girl violently in the back.”
What is it about the Christian cross that makes some Muslims react this way?
The fact is, Islamic hostility to the cross is an unwavering fact of life — one that crosses continents and centuries; one that is very much indicative of Islam’s innate hostility to Christianity.
Doctrine and History
Because the Christian cross is the quintessential symbol of Christianity — for all denominations, including most forms of otherwise iconoclastic Protestantism — it has been a despised symbol in Islam.
According to the Conditions of Omar — a medieval text which lays out the many humiliating stipulations conquered Christians must embrace to preserve their lives and which Islamic history attributes to the second “righteous caliph,” Omar al-Khattab — Christians are “not to display a cross [on churches]… and “not to produce a cross or [Christian] book in the markets of the Muslims.”
The reason for this animosity is that the cross symbolizes the fundamental disagreement between Christians and Muslims.
According to Dr. Sidney Griffith, author of The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque, “The cross and the icons publicly declared those very points of Christian faith which the Koran, in the Muslim view, explicitly denied: that Christ was the Son of God and that he died on the cross.” Thus “the Christian practice of venerating the cross and the icons of Christ and the saints often aroused the disdain of Muslims,” so that there was an ongoing “campaign to erase the public symbols of Christianity, especially the previously ubiquitous sign of the cross.”
Islam’s hostility to the cross, like all of Islam’s hostilities, begins with the Muslim prophet Muhammad. He reportedly “had such a repugnance to the form of the cross that he broke everything brought into his house with its figure upon it” and once ordered someone wearing a cross to “take off that piece of idolatry.” Moreover, Muhammad claimed that at the end times Jesus himself would make it a point to “break the cross” — an assertion the Islamic State regularly makes.
Islamic history ever since Muhammad is riddled with anecdotes of Muslims cursing and breaking crosses. Prior to the Battle of Yarmuk in 636, which pitted the earliest invading Muslim armies against the Byzantine Empire, Khalid bin al-Walid, the savage “Sword of Allah,” told the Christians that if they wanted peace they must “break the cross” and embrace Islam, or pay jizya and live in subjugation — just as his Islamic State successors are doing today in direct emulation. The Byzantines opted for war…..
….In light of the above, it should come as no surprise that the Islamic State — “ISIS” — also exhibits violence to the Christian cross. In its communiques to the West, hostile reference to the cross is often made: “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah…. [We will cast] fear into the hearts of the cross worshippers….
After carving the heads of Coptic Christians off in Libya, the lead executioner waved his dagger at the camera and said, “Oh people, recently you have seen us on the hills of as-Sham and Dabiq’s plain [Syrian regions], chopping off the heads that have been carrying the cross for a long time. And today, we are on the south of Rome, on the land of Islam, Libya, sending another message.” He concluded by declaring: “We will fight you [Christians/Westerners] until Christ descends, breaks the cross and kills the pig” (all eschatological actions ascribed to the Muslim “Christ,” Isa).
Moreover, the Islamic State has committed countless atrocities against and because of the cross: it made and disseminated a video showing its members smashing crosses in and atop churches in territories under its sway; it beheaded and stabbed a man with his own crucifix after it exposed him as a Christian; and it published pictures of its members destroying Christian crosses and tombstones in cemeteries under its jurisdiction – and quoted Islamic scriptures justifying its actions.
Careful readers will note the similar parallels here: destroying crosses in churches and cemeteries and even killing Christian “infidels” for wearing them, as documented above, is not limited to “ISIS” but is happening all around the Muslim world, and even in Europe.
In short, Islam’s age-old hatred for the Christian cross — and what it represents — is not a product of the Islamic State, but of Islam.