Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Pope’s Words

NYT There is more than enough religious anger in the world.

And the New York Times is responsible for aggravating a lot of it, and doing almost nothing to counter it. Where are your editorials about some of the things that Muslim clerics have said?
So it is particularly disturbing that Pope Benedict XVI has insulted Muslims, quoting a 14th-century description of Islam as “evil and inhuman.”
Should he have quoted someone from the 7th century, or someone from the 21st century? I am sure that quotes could have been found from both eras?
In the most provocative part of a speech this week on “faith and reason,” the pontiff recounted a conversation between an “erudite” Byzantine Christian emperor and a “learned” Muslim Persian circa 1391. The pope quoted the emperor saying, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Muslim leaders the world over have demanded apologies and threatened to recall their ambassadors from the Vatican, warning that the pope’s words dangerously reinforce a false and biased view of Islam. For many Muslims, holy war — jihad — is a spiritual struggle, and not a call to violence.
Actually you have merged two concepts. It is accurate to say that for many Muslims jihad is a spiritual struggle, within one's self, to do what God wishes. And we have absolutely no problem with those Muslims; we just more of them would speak out against the Islamofascists that have perverted the concept of jihad into that of a Holy War, willing to kill anyone that disagrees with you.
And they denounce its perversion by extremists,
But they do not do it anywhere nearly as loudly as the Jihadists. Show me a street march against Holy War, against Jihad, or for Peace
who use jihad to justify murder and terrorism.

The Vatican issued a statement saying that Benedict meant no offense and in fact desired dialogue. But this is not the first time the pope has fomented discord between Christians and Muslims.
Nor is it the first time a Muslim Cleric has formented discord between Christians and Muslims either.
In 2004 when he was still the Vatican’s top theologian, he spoke out against Turkey’s joining the European Union, because Turkey, as a Muslim country was “in permanent contrast to Europe.”
He may not have visited many parts of Londinistan at that time.
A doctrinal conservative, his greatest fear appears to be the loss of a uniform Catholic identity, not exactly the best jumping-off point for tolerance or interfaith dialogue.
Not at all. John Paul reached out to other faiths, and he was not trying to suppress the Catholic Church.
The world listens carefully to the words of any pope.
I hope they listen to this one.
And it is tragic and dangerous when one sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly. He needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology, demonstrating that words can also heal.
Show him how. Let the New York Times apologize for their printing of Chris Ofili’s portrait of of the Virgin Mary, painted with elephant dung when they were talking about the Cartoon Wars and not printing those cartoons at all.
Allah Pundit blogged Most will lunge at the third paragraph but the whole piece is right there in the opening line. It’s an all-weather rejoinder to any criticism, however meritorious, of Muslims, who happen to be the source of most of that unspecified “religious anger” the Times is so wary of. Don’t provoke them, they’re saying; it’ll only make things worse. Not a word is wasted on the filth that pours regularly from the lips of Islamic religious authorities around the world. Instead they blame the Pope for having “fomented discord” and jeopardized interfaith relations by being a little too much of a stickler when it comes to “uniform Catholic identity.” The Pope. Not, say, the Saudis.

Damian Thompson wrote in Telegraph It is ironic that Benedict XVI finds himself accused of crude anti-Islamic prejudice after quoting a medieval emperor's opinion that Mohammed's violent teachings were "evil and inhuman". For no pope in history has made a deeper study of Islam. Having explored every verse of the Koran, and engaged in long debates with Muslim scholars, he rejects the simplistic notion — held by fundamentalist Christians, and by the Roman Catholic Church until the middle of the 20th century — that Islam is evil. Yet he is convinced that some of its doctrines are morally indefensible.
And he is right in both cases.
In Benedict's view, a profound ambiguity about violence lies at the heart of Islam, arising from the Prophet's belief that faith can be spread by the sword. Mohammed, after all, was a general whose troops beheaded hundreds of enemy captives.

Asked recently whether he considered Islam to be a religion of peace, the Pope replied: "Islam contains elements that are in favour of peace, just as it contains other elements." Christianity, by contrast, he sees as a religion of pure peace — which is why he adopts a near-pacifist approach to conflict in the Middle East.

Where the pontiff differs from his predecessor is in his impatience with what might be termed "Islamic political correctness".
And that Islamic political correctness would say that there can be no criticism of Islam, no matter who makes it, nor about any violent reaction to that criticism, and that people must apologize anytime a Jihadists says he is insulted, thus making him think he is stronger and more powerful than he really is, and making him respond more violently the next time he feels insulted.
John Paul II hoped that prayer could bring Christians and Muslims closer together, and famously prayed alongside Islamic leaders at Assisi in 1986. He also reassured Muslims that "we believe in the same God".
Let us hear that more often from Islamic leaders. They can even quote Surat al-Baqara, 136 (Qur'an 2:136) which says Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them or Surat aal-E-Imran, 3 (Qur'an 3:3) which says It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong). We are all "People of the Book" (or ahl al Kitâb) Surat Al 'Imran, 64 (Qur'an 3:64) says "O People of the Book! Let us rally to a common formula to be binding on both us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God."
Benedict would emphasise that the Islamic understanding of God is radically different from that of Christians.
And he is right.
He has also refrained from issuing the apologies for historical misdeeds made by John Paul II, arguing that they are never reciprocated.

Last year, at a private seminar, the Pope implied that he agreed with conservative Muslim clerics that the teachings of the Koran cannot be modified in any way. More-over, Islam, unlike Christianity, makes no distinction between sacred and secular.

"The Koran is a total religious law," he wrote in 1996, "which regulates the whole of political and social life." Therefore, a devout Muslim living in the West must aspire to live under sharia law. A multi-faith society "is not consistent with Islam's inner nature".
If a devout Muslim living in the west wishes to comport his own actions as being consistent with sharia law that is one thing, but if he expects a western country to change its laws, and impose sharia law on everyone, he is crazy. If he wants to live under sharia law, he should move to a Muslim country.
In other words, the Pope subscribes to a version of the "clash of civilisations" theory, which sees a fundamental incompatibility between Western and Islamic cultures. In his opinion, the primary aim of Christian-Muslim discussion is to avoid conflict.

For example, he supports the right of Muslim children to be taught their own religion in European schools — but on the strict understanding that their communities respect human rights.
But that is precisely what the Jihadists do not do.
Benedict's lecture at Regensburg University merely sought to elaborate his existing views. Beautifully written and constructed, it was intended for scholars interested in the relationship between God, rationality and coercion.

Although he described the Muslim approach to violence as defying God-given rationality, the Pope had no intention of offending ordinary Muslims or creating media headlines.

Yet the leader of the world's Roman Catholics has done both. How could a man who is so notoriously careful with words have committed what, in the eyes of liberal society, is a diplomatic blunder? The answer may be that underlying Benedict's nuanced world view is a deep-seated fear of Islam, which crops up in the daily conversation of Italian Catholics and stretches as far north as his Bavarian homeland.
Let us hope that his deep-seated fear of Islam can wake up the heads of some of the European countries before it is too late for them.
He does not believe that the Koran condones terrorism; he bears no animosity towards peace-loving Muslims; but he is worried that the aggressive ethos of authentic Islam may provoke a crisis in Western society. And if the price of making that point is a "diplomatic blunder", then so be it.

Captain Ed blogged All this has shown is that Muslims missed the point of the speech, and in fact have endeavored to fulfill Benedict's warnings rather than prove him wrong. If one reads the speech at Regensburg, the entire speech, one understands that the entire point was to reject violence in pursuing religion in any form, be it Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or Bahai. The focal point of the speech was not the recounting of the debate between Manuel II and the unnamed Persian, but rather the rejection of reason and of God that violence brings.... Islam bullies people into silence, and then obedience. We saw this with the Prophet Cartoons, a series of editorial criticisms that pale into insignificance when seen against similar cartoons from the Muslim media regarding Christians and especially Jews. It is precisely this impulse about which Benedict warns can occur in any religion, but modern Muslims show that they are by far the widest purveyors of this impulse.

Gerald Augustinus blogged By the way, note that the Vatican's statement said the Pope was sorry for the misunderstandings, it did not say he was sorry for what he said. Of course now every stupid media outlet, from Drudgereport to newspapers, headlines "Pope sorry".

Ed Driscoll blogged why would a leftwing newspaper written largely by atheists and agnostics want to lecture two of the world's dominant religions, in the first place?

Mark Finkelstein blogged The Times is only being fair and balanced, I suppose. After all, hardly a week goes by that you can't pick up the paper and read an editorial condemning this or that mullah, imam or ayatollah for the latest fatwa ordering the death of such-and-such infidel or the destruction of entire countries found to be an annoyance. Or not.

But the Times suddenly gets religion, if they'll excuse the expresssion, when it comes to the Pope. Oh well. At least there's one hopeful sign in all this. It was of course Stalin who dismissively asked how many divisions the Pope had. By its editorial according great weight to the words of the Pontiff, the Times would appear to be breaking with Uncle Joe. Might this be the start of a hopeful trend?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Muslims SUCK donky asss Fuck then all I LOVE BUSH AND I LOVE THE POP I HATE ALL MUSLIMS.