This week it was reported Lidl are selling a Greek brand of food called Eridanous, on the packaging is the beautiful Anastasis Church of Oia, Santorini, which is a Greek Orthodox Church. It appears Lidl took the decision to airbrush the cross of the church out of the picture.
The reason given in the press was, to be “religiously neutral”.
For many years in Europe, it’s been said the Christian cross is offensive to Muslims. Some teachers have been prohibited to wear crosses, children in schools and also people working in public roles. There have been calls for the cross to be removed from some buildings and European flags.
- There was one case in England where a Christian school opened, the logo for the school was made and released, but within two months of the school opening, the logo with the cross had been altered to that of a tree : the school made a statement saying the cross logo was only temporary.
- There is a recent case of young girl being placed in foster care with Muslims, the foster carers allegedly removed her Christian Cross from her possession : the Muslim family allegedly said they removed it due to safety.
- There have been other cases, in Oberhausen, Germany, Pastor Joachim Deterding, to remove crosses, altars and pulpits from the church : the reason given was to make migrants feel more welcome.
- Another case in Germany, the Bishop of Stockholm told a church in her diocese to remove the cross and to mark the direction of prayer in the direction of Mecca, this was to make Muslim worshippers feel more welcome. (see hyperlink above)
- A female Bishop in Sweden who wanted crosses removed from churches and to build an Islamic prayer room : the reason given was to make migrants feel more welcome.
- Real Madrid dropped the Christian cross on the crest of their clothing range for six Muslim countries due to a sponsorship deal with UAE.
Some cases over the years, have been taken to court and some Christians have won those cases, however we are hearing more and more about crosses being removed and hidden for the purpose of not offending.
Within Islam, if a church or any other holy building is to be converted into a mosque for Islamic prayer, all religious symbols, such as crosses need to be removed, destroyed or painted over. The building can then be used as a mosque.
If I go back to the original point of Lidl stating the removal was about being religiously neutral, then if that was the case surely all religious symbols would be removed from their products? It seems Christianity is the only religion which faces scrutiny in many cases.
If we take the second point of not wanting to cause offence, why would the cross cause offence to Muslims?
Could it possibly be that it’s in Islamic law crosses cannot be displayed in an Islamic state?
Examining the Islamic texts of Qur’an and Sahih Hadith sheds more light of where the offence could resonate.
Muslims believe Jesus didn’t die on the cross; the belief is, Jesus ascended to Heaven – whilst alive at the site of the cross – and will come back on Judgement Day.
In the Sahih ahadith – detailed below – it specifically says Jesus will come back on Judgement Day, kill pigs, break the cross and abolish the Jizyah (non-Muslim poll tax).
“The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler, he will break the cross, kill the pigs, and abolish the Jizya tax. Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it (as charitable gifts).” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2476)
The Islamic state released a magazine series, the first series was called Dabiq, which is the name of a place where the final battle will happen just before Judgement Day comes. The Battle is what the Islamic state are doing now.
The last issue of Dabiq was called “Break the cross”, the issue was targetted at discrediting secularism, within it, the explanation was given – with words from Islamic texts – about Jesus coming back and the battle at Dabiq which Muhammad supposedly prophesied.
For your information, the “peace treaty” mentioned in the below hadith is a dhimmi contract.
It was narrated that Jubair bin Nufair said: “Jubair said to me: ‘Let’s go to Dhu Mikhmar, who was a man from among the Companions of the Prophet (ﷺ).’ So I went with them and he asked him about the peace treaty (with the Romans). He said: ‘I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) say: “The Romans will enter into a peace treaty with you, then you and they will fight one another as enemies, and you will be victorious; you will collect the spoils of war and be safe. Then you will come back until you stop in a meadow with many hillocks. A man from among the people of the Cross will raise the Cross and will say: ‘The Cross has prevailed.’ Then a man among the Muslims will become angry and will go and break the Cross. Then the Romans will prove treacherous (breaking the treaty) (and will gather) for the fierce battle.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 4089)
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: “The Last Hour would not come until the Romans would land at al-A’maq or in Dabiq. An army consisting of the best (soldiers) of the people of the earth at that time will come from Medina (to counteract them). When they will arrange themselves in ranks, the Romans would say: Do not stand between us and those (Muslims) who took prisoners from amongst us. Let us fight with them; and the Muslims would say: Nay, by Allah, we would never get aside from you and from our brethren that you may fight them. They will then fight and a third (part) of the army would run away, whom Allah will never forgive. A third (part of the army) which would be constituted of excellent martyrs in Allah’s eye, would be killed and the third who would never be put to trial would win and they would be conquerors of Constantinople. And as they would be busy in distributing the spoils of war (amongst themselves) after hanging their swords by the olive trees, the Satan would cry: The Dajjal has taken your place among your family. They would then come out, but it would be of no avail. And when they would come to Syria, he would come out while they would be still preparing themselves for battle drawing up the ranks. Certainly, the time of prayer shall come and then Jesus (peace be upon him) son of Mary would descend and would lead them in prayer. When the enemy of Allah would see him, it would (disappear) just as the salt dissolves itself in water and if he (Jesus) were not to confront them at all, even then it would dissolve completely, but Allah would kill them by his hand and he would show them their blood on his lance (the lance of Jesus Christ).” (Sahih Muslim 2897)
“The battle between the Muslims and the Jews, between the Muslims and the Romans, and the revival of the Caliphate, were all from among the signs foretold by the Prophet through revelation. And yet, the disbeliever doubts! Indeed, it is Allah who prepared the Earth for the bloodiest battle before the Hour, to see His slaves sweat in spilling their blood and that of His enemies. All the factors were laid down precisely. The Crusaders and the Jews in the Levant, the Rafidah in Iraq and Persia, and the Caliphate in the center. It is the clash of encampments – “civilizations” – that many saw coming, as it is found in Allah’s signs throughout history and current events. And yet the denier claims that all this is the result of mere chaos!” (Dabiq, Issue 15, Break the cross, page 13)
The Break the cross issue of Dabiq, also details the call to Islam which is dawah. This derives from 9:29 of the Qur’an, where an order is given to ask non-Muslims to submit to Allah, if this is not accepted an order is given to, “fight until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.”
The Islamic state have already given this call and we are now at the stage of “fight until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.”
Within the shari’ah it specifically says crosses cannot be displayed in public. This is within the rules of Ahl Al-Dhimma/ non-Muslim subjects of the Islamic state.
“(6) are forbidden to openly display wine or pork, (A: to ring church bells or display crosses,) recite the Torah or Evangel aloud, or make public display of their funerals and feastdays; (7) and are forbidden to build new churches.” (Umdat Al Salik, Reliance of the traveller, a manual classic islamic law)
Throughout history when non-Muslims have been ruled by Muslims, crosses haven’t been allowed to be displayed.
If a person displayed a cross they would be breaching the dhimmi treaty, from there on certain options would be available to Muslim rulers.
“09.14 When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph (def: 025) considers the interests (0: of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the prisoner’s death, slavery,release without paying anything,or ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy.If the prisoner becomes a Muslim (0: before the caliph chooses any of the four alternatives then he may not be killed, and one of the other three alternatives is chosen.” (Umdat Al Salik, Reliance of the traveller, a manual classic islamic law)
- When a number of the girls who were taken captive, were released by Boko Haram this year, a ransom was made and Boko Haram fighters were released in return for the young girls being released.
Lidl have apologised for causing offence about the airbrush and have said they will revise the packaging, but the whole situation adds insult to injury when you consider approximately 1.5 million Christian Greeks were killed in the genocide by the Turks during World War One, of which more than 3 million Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrian Christians were killed during that genocide.
An excerpt from the book, The Armenian Genocide : Verjine Svazlian
“The Turkish gendarmes pierced everyone, the Armenians and the Greeks, with bayonets and threw them into the sea without distinction of age: infants, children, old people and mothers. You could not see the water because of the human corpses. In Izmir, the Turks gathered one thousand five hundred Armenian children, poured petrol on them and burned them.”
SMBYUL BERBERIAN’S TESTIMONY, B. 1909, Afion-Garahissar
The final point about crosses is that it is seen as idol worship, and worshipping another God is seen as taking partners with Allah, which within Islamic belief is forbidden.
“Who are you? He said: I am a Prophet (of Allah). I again said: Who is a Prophet? He said: (I am a Prophet in the sense that)I have been sent by Allah. I said: What is that which you have been sent with? He said: I have been sent to join ties of relationship (with kindness and affection), to break the Idols, and to proclaim the oneness of Allah (in a manner that) nothing is to be associated with Him.”(Sahih Muslim 832)
By prohibiting the cross to be displayed for the reason of not causing offence, people are unwittingly submitting to the rules of shari’ah.
The offence is caused by displaying the cross, because it is going against the shari’ah, which Muslims see as the best and only law which can be the authority in all matters.
We do not live in Islamic state, but by accepting the laws of Islam will see us slowly submit to those laws.