At Holy Name Cathedral yesterday, to kick off National Immigration Week, Cardinal Blase Cupich had two “migrants” speak from the altar.
One of them was the Syrian Muslim, Feras Shawesh.
Who is Feras Shawesh? According to the news accounts, he’s a Syrian medical professional who was earnestly studying medical textbooks as the bombs were falling in Syria. He came to the United States with his wife, Rehab Alkadi for a better life.
She’s the one on the left.
From his Facebook page, we know that Shawesh is also an adherent of the Muslim cleric, Sheikh Mohammad al-Arifi, who has a substantial following in the Islamic world for his unapologetic opinions. The first video link (there are a number of them) is only three links down.
Arifi is a well-known Muslim advocate of the classical Koranic theory on wife beating (yes, but only if the face is left unblemished) and a proponent of Western Muslims joining the jihad in Syria and Iraq. Indeed, he once said this about the jihad:
Devotion to jihad for the sake of Allah, and the desire to shed blood, to smash skulls, and to sever limbs for the sake of Allah and in defense of His religion, is, undoubtedly, an honor for the believer. Allah said that if a man fights the infidels, the infidels will be unable to prepare to fight.
He also somewhat famously issued a fatwa in support of the “sex jihad” – Muslim woman offering their sexual services to jihad fighters in the interests of…well, you know, to make them more comfortable in their jihad. For these reasons and others, Arifi has been banned from entering Britain and Switzerland. In addition, he’s been in trouble with various Arab governments for supporting terrorism and subversion in Egypt, among other places.
He’s also against Valentine’s Day and doesn’t like children’s cartoons.
Shawesh has other links on his Facebook page. There’s a map, featuring the towns and cities of Israel and environs, where all the Hebrew names have been replaced by Arabic names. There’s a link, talking about a Zionist plot to blow up the Kaaba stone in Mecca. And so on. To be fair, there is also more “moderate” Muslim material – pictures of bombing victims in Syria, a plea to end the culture of “hate” in Lebanon, advice on how to best celebrate Muslim holidays – along with pictures of kids, snowmen and medical devices.