Pope Angers Muslims

And yet when terrorists attack innocent civilians in the West they don't say a word.....


ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Pakistan's legislature unanimously condemned Pope Benedict XVI. Lebanon's top Shiite cleric demanded an apology. And in Turkey, the ruling party likened the pontiff to Hitler and Mussolini and accused him of reviving the mentality of the Crusades.

Across the Islamic world Friday, Benedict's remarks on Islam and jihad in a speech in Germany unleashed a torrent of rage that many fear could burst into violent protests like those that followed publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

By citing an obscure Medieval text that characterizes some of the teachings of Islam's founder as "evil and inhuman," Benedict inflamed Muslim passions and aggravated fears of a new outbreak of anti-Western protests.

The last outpouring of Islamic anger at the West came in February over the prophet cartoons first published in a Danish newspaper. The drawings sparked protests -- some of them deadly -- in almost every Muslim nation in the world.

Some experts said the perceived provocation by the spiritual leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics could leave even deeper scars.

"The declarations from the pope are more dangerous than the cartoons, because they come from the most important Christian authority in the world -- the cartoons just came from an artist," said Diaa Rashwan, an analyst in Cairo, Egypt, who studies Islamic militancy.

On Friday, Pakistan's parliament adopted a resolution condemning Benedict for making what it called "derogatory" comments about Islam, and seeking an apology. Hours later, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry summoned the Vatican's ambassador to express regret over the pope's remarks Tuesday.

Notably, the strongest denunciations came from Turkey -- a moderate democracy seeking European Union membership where Benedict is scheduled to visit in November as his first trip as pope to a Muslim country.

Salih Kapusuz, deputy leader of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted party, said Benedict's remarks were either "the result of pitiful ignorance" about Islam and its prophet or, worse, a deliberate distortion.

"He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages. He is a poor thing that has not benefited from the spirit of reform in the Christian world," Kapusuz told Turkish state media. "It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades."

"Benedict, the author of such unfortunate and insolent remarks, is going down in history for his words," Kapusuz added. "He is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini."

Even Turkey's staunchly pro-secular opposition party demanded the pope apologize before his visit. Another party led a demonstration outside Ankara's largest mosque, and a group of about 50 people placed a black wreath outside the Vatican's diplomatic mission.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi has tried to defuse anger, saying the pope did not intend to offend Muslim sensibilities and insisting Benedict respects Islam. In Pakistan, the Vatican envoy voiced regret at "the hurt caused to Muslims."

But Muslim leaders said outreach efforts by papal emissaries were not enough.

"We do not accept the apology through Vatican channels ... and ask him (Benedict) to offer a personal apology -- not through his officials," Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanon's most senior Shiite cleric, told worshippers in Beirut.

Rashwan, the analyst, feared the official condemnations could be followed by widespread popular protests. Already there had been scattered demonstrations in several Muslim countries.

"What we have right now are public reactions to the pope's comments from political and religious figures, but I'm not optimistic concerning the reaction from the general public, especially since we have no correction from the Vatican," Rashwan said.

About 2,000 Palestinians angrily protested Friday night in Gaza City. Earlier, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, of the Islamic militant group Hamas, said the pope had offended Muslims everywhere.

The pope quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th-century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," Benedict said. "He said, I quote, '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."'

The pope did not explicitly agree with nor repudiate the comment.

In Britain, the head of the Muslim Council, a body representing 400 Muslim groups, said the emperor's views quoted by the pope were bigoted.

"One would expect a religious leader such as the pope to act and speak with responsibility and repudiate the Byzantine emperor's views in the interests of truth and harmonious relations between the followers of Islam and Catholicism," said Muhammad Abdul Bari, the council's secretary-general.

Many Muslims accused Benedict of seeking to promote Judeo-Christian dominance over Islam.

Even Iraq's often divided Shiite and Sunni Arabs found unity in their anger over the remarks, with clerics from both communities criticizing Benedict.

"The pope and Vatican proved to be Zionists and that they are far from Christianity, which does not differ from Islam. Both religions call for forgiveness, love and brotherhood," Shiite cleric Sheik Abdul-Kareem al-Ghazi said during a sermon in Iraq's second-largest city, Basra.

Few in Turkey, especially, failed to pick up on Benedict's reference to Istanbul as Constantinople -- the city's name more than 500 years ago -- before it was conquered by Muslim Ottoman Turks.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the German-born pope, saying his message had been misunderstood.

"It is an invitation to dialogue between religions and the pope has explicitly urged this dialogue, which I also endorse and see as urgently necessary," she said Friday. "What Benedict XVI makes clear is a decisive and uncompromising rejection of any use of violence in the name of religion."

In the United States, a Muslim group, the Council for American-Islamic Relations, asked for a meeting with a Vatican representative and urged more efforts at improving understanding between Muslims and Catholics.

"The proper response to the pope's inaccurate and divisive remarks is for Muslims and Catholics worldwide to increase dialogue and outreach efforts aimed at building better relations between Christianity and Islam," the group said.

A little satire....

The Pope Said What?

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict's recent pronouncement has many in the Christian world -- and beyond -- up in arms. He said, and I quote: "The Protestant Reformation has split the church." Reaction was swift among Protestant leaders.

Elsewhere ...

"Lyndsay Moseley was no longer inspired by the evangelical Christian faith of her youth. As an environmental activist, she believed that it offered little spiritual support for her work and was overly focused on opposing abortion and gay marriage."Source.

To this, Pope Benedict said, and I quote: "Abortion and gay marriage are STILL wrong! Lyndsay Mosely, grow up!"

The Pope didn't stop there. He also said, and I quote: "People who listen to Hip Hop have more sex, commit more crime." (This was, perhaps, an error. As someone later pointed out to the pontiff, that's actually called dancing. However, he was unbending. Later stating, and I quote: "Hip Hop ain't music!")

The Muslim world was outraged when the holy father went on to say, and I quote: "I am not a Muslim. Never have been a Muslim. Never will be a Muslim!" Source.

"The Pope should have been very careful about his utterances; what he said was nothing but blasphemy," Muslim Personal Law Board Member Kamal Farooqi told the Times of India newspaper. Source.

From the popular "What Would Jesus Do?" lobby came this reply.

Furthermore, the Pope infuriated Muslims, Jews, and PETA by delivering his entire speech in Pig Latin.

I think all of this might actually have happened, and I quote, but I might be mistaken.


^^ LOL ^^


Hey, If Islam is so peaceful why does a 14th century general have such a bad opinion of it? He must be really stupid, doesn't he know Muhammad was a great guy who converted people by preaching? Geez!

He flunked out of sensitivity training.

I hope the Pope doesn't issue an apology.

The world needs to understand that Islam cannot be immune to criticism.

I don't think Benedict is what you would call a "Koran Kisser" that's for sure.

I guess they didn't call him "The Rottweiler" for nothing... :)

Joe Ray,

Sorry but that isn't going to cut it. The problem is that there is no outrage even close to the level you get in Muslim countries when say Mohammed is depicted in a cartoon. If they are capable of getting that mad and protesting in the streets and committing acts of violence against Christian Churches (molotov cocktails and what-not) then where does all of that emotion go when their religion is being "hijacked" by a few extremists?

Personally I am more inclined to believe that among all Muslims in the world the MAJORITY are either willing to commit acts of violence for their faith or are sympathetic (openly or secretly) towards those who do.

Osama Bin Laden could have been killed many years ago. Before an attack was launched on him the US notified Pakistan's government letting them know they were planning on attacking him. Officials warned OBL so that he could evade attack. The absolute best people for stopping Islamic terrorism would be moderate Muslims. Why haven't they done more?

The reason OBL has not been caught is because he is popular enough for a larger number of Muslims to avoid betrayal.

Watch the response to the Pope's words as the media drums up more and more protest. This will be another test to see if Islam is a sacred cow that no one can talk about on pain of death. If some mullah made a speech like the Pope it probably wouldn't even have made the second page of most newspapers.

9.29": Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

"9.30": And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!

Random post from that site: What limits? Classic Islamic law stipulates that Christians may live in peace in Islamic societies as long as they accept second-class status as dhimmis, which involves living within certain limits: not holding authority over Muslims, paying the jizya tax, not building new churches or repairing old ones, and...not insulting Allah or Muhammad. If they believe that a Christian has insulted them in some way, even inadvertently, his contract of protection -- dhimma -- is voided. So are these protestors warning the Pope to behave like a dhimmi, or else? I expect so. After all, so many Christians and post-Christians in the West in recent years have been willing, even eager, to accept such limits -- witness the chastened reaction to the Cartoon Rage riots, in which Church officials, government leaders, and others solemnly pontificated against "insults to religious figures." But it wasn't really a question of blasphemy then, and it isn't a question of insult now. It is a question of whether non-Muslims will submit to Muslim standards and restrictions on their speech, thought, and behavior. And I hope that the Pope, for one, is not willing to do so.



Their photoshopping skills are right up there with a reuters photojournalist but ok.

Reasoned discourse is a hallmark of Western Culture, Pope Benedict XV1 was simply engaging in this long hallowed Western tradition. Like all good academics he cited his source (a 14th century Byzantine Emperor/General) to make a point, the reaction among Muslims to this indicates how far removed they are to the Western tradition of reasoned discourse.

I wait to see how the left responds to this, I'm sure they'll side with the pope's right to free speach and they'll chastise the Muslims for being intolerant.

How many muslims do you think actually read a full translation of the speech (how many in the West for that matter)? A lot of people have a vested interest in delivering half-truths to the Muslim world for the sake of enraging them. The problem, however, is the degree to which they are so easily enraged.

Ridgeback, (and others)...

I agree with you to a degree about the hypocrisy
of the Muslim World on these issues. Or, at least of many of the high-profile leaders in the Muslim world (ok, and lots of Muslims too).

After each new atrocity perpetrated by a Muslim, I do hear Muslims, individual Muslims, condemning the acts on, for instance, talk radio. But admittedly they seem to reserve their highest level of vitriol for slags against Islam.

As far as Joey Ray's argument that we don't hear of Muslim condemnations because that type of news doesn't sell, I don't quite buy it. After each attack inevitably all the newspapers and talk shows are publicly asking "Where is the Muslim condemnation? C'mon Muslims, step up and make your disapproval public!"

It seems to me Muslim views are sought out, not ignored. And it makes sense; westerners want the violence stopped and making Muslim condemnation against
these types of attacks public would be one valuable tool in the quest to influence Muslims to reject violence.

I think that if the Pope really did say what he did without the intention to flame fires, he was clearly foolish (Papal infallibility, where are you?). If he said it deliberately, he may not have been wise. (On that count though, I may not disagree with the Pope; bad ideas deserve condemnation - if a belief system contains undeniable seeds of violence, it deserves being brought to light).

But the reaction of the Muslim world to any criticism of it's religious figures is rightly unsettling. In this nuclear age we just can't have people removing their beliefs from all critical inspection, and reacting with knee-jerk rage at any criticism.

Unfortunately, this is one of the dangers directly derived from many forms of religious belief, especially
mono-theism. When you hold to an All-Knowing, infallible God, you hold out his dictates as beyond criticism. This type of non-negotiable element, with each side believing they alone have understood God's will, is a perfect seed for breeding intractable conflict.

In this nuclear age, I just don't think we can afford this type of dogmatism and natural breeding ground for
irresolvable disputes.

The same type of chilling dogmatism and cult-of personality can be found in current communist states like North Korea as well. But note some similarities
in how leaders like Kim Jong-il achieve their unquestioned authority. There is often a type of mysticism or divinity involved.

Kim Jong-il's official biography claims his birth was foretold by a sparrow, and heralded by a double rainbow over the mountain of his birth, as well as a "new star in the heavens."

And to quote Wikipedia: "The story of the Kims' descent is surrounded with mythology. Children in schools are taught that they came down from heaven, and were placed on the top of the Paektusan mountains, where they were transformed into human beings."

It is just this type of religious-type mythologizing that works so effectively to place leaders like Kim Jong-il(s) beyond criticism. They are beyond us mere mortals, who are we to criticise them?

Hitler too, whether you see his religious pronouncements as cynical or sincere, tapped into the power of how religious notions can short-circuit the impulse to criticise anything believed to be of divine
origin. He effectively wrapped his warped plan, cynically or not, in the most powerful criticism squashing rhetoric available; religious rhetoric. (Which is probably the only rhetoric stronger than the rhetoric of Patriotism).

These are what I see as some of the inherent dangers that spring from so many examples of the religious impulse. To find something "beyond mankind" by which to measure and guide actions. And to the degree any religious person believes he has FOUND such a touchstone, and to the degree he actually believes he UNDERSTANDS the message of a Diety, that person adopts beliefs that become non-negotiable. And a God's will is placed beyond criticism "Look, you and I may be human and wrong about things...but my God sure isn't wrong!"

And that is one of the inherent dangers of the religious impulse, and I think found quite explicitly among many monotheists, that gives me chills in a world so filled with weapons of destruction, like ours.


Here's the text of Pope Benedict XVI speech: