The cardinal said the best response was to fortify the Christian foundation of our societies

Cardinal Raymond Burke has said there is “no question that Islam wants to govern the world”, and that Western societies should return to their Christian roots.

Speaking to David Gibson of Religion News Service, Cardinal Burke, the patron of the Order of Malta, said Muslims were “lovely people” who themselves talked about religion “in a very peaceful manner”.

But he said too few people understood the tradition of Islamic thought on government: that, when Muslims became a majority population, “they have the religious obligation to govern that country. If that’s what the citizens of a nation want, well, then, they should just allow this to go on. But if that’s not what they want, then they have to find a way to deal with it.”

Cardinal Burke said that, for anyone “not at peace with the idea of being under an Islamic government”, it was reasonable to be “afraid” of such a prospect.

The cardinal was speaking ahead of the publication of a new book, Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ. Like books by Pope Francis and Benedict XVI, and God or Nothing by Cardinal Robert Sarah, the book takes the form of an extended interview. The interviewer is Guillaume d’Alançon, a writer who also works for a French diocese.

In the book, Cardinal Burke says: “Islam is a religion that, according to its own interpretation, must also become the State. The Koran, and the authentic interpretations of it given by various experts in Koranic law, is destined to govern the world.

“In reality, there is no place for other religions, even though they may be tolerated, as long as Islam has not succeeded in establishing its sovereignty over the nations and over the world.”

The cardinal says that Islam and Christianity are radically different. In the interview with Gibson, he says that Church leaders are mistaken if they “simply think that Islam is a religion like the Catholic faith or the Jewish faith”, rather than recognising its ambitions to govern.

He argues that tolerance is a feature of Christian charity, and that the right response is “to be firm about the Christian origin of our own nation, and certainly in Europe, and the Christian foundations of the government, and to fortify those”.

Cardinal Burke has made similar comments in the past. In 2014, he told the newspaper Una Voce Austria that “the Muslim life is taking over in countries which were formerly Christian”, partly thanks to high birthrate.

Last year, the cardinal said in an interview with a French newspaper: “we must remember that Islam is a government, not just a religion”.