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Muslims angered over Pope's remarks; Here we go again

By Greg Strange
web posted September 18, 2006

Here we go again with another outburst from the Religion of Perpetual Outrage. Muslims worldwide are angry again, this time at (Can you guess who? Drum roll, please. . .) the pope!

Muslims are angry over some remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI during a lecture at a German university. The Vatican later said that the pope did not intend the remarks to be offensive, but you know how that goes. Anyway, here are some excerpts from the speech. As a sort of amusing exercise, see if you can pick out the parts that, once again, have Muslims worldwide having conniption fits.

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read... of part of the dialogue carried on - perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara - by the erudite Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both.

In the seventh conversation...the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, 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."

The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God," he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body.

Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats."
Sounds kinda like the pope was basically saying that violent jihad might not be a particularly good way to spread religious faith. What could be more infuriating than that, especially coming from a pointy-headed chief infidel? As my grandmother used to say, it's enough to make an imam -- er, I mean, a preacher -- cuss.

Reaction from various imams, clerics and other Islamic authority figures continues to pour in now. Here are a few choice comments:

"He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages. . . . It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades." So said Salih Kapusuz, deputy leader of the Turkish prime minister's party.

Sure, sure, it's the Crusades all over again. Anyone can see that.

Or how about this from Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam: "What he had done is that he has quoted very offensive remarks by some emperor hundreds of years ago. It is not helpful (because) we have been trying to bridge the gap, calling for dialogue and understanding between religions."

Really? I must have missed that call for dialogue and understanding in between the alleged Gitmo Koran-flushing riots and the Mohammad cartoon riots. I'll have to pay better attention from now on.

Ms. Aslam went on to say that Muslims had a long history of tolerance, adding that when the Catholic kingdom of Spain expelled its Jewish population in 1492 they were welcomed by Muslim nations such as the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

That's lovely, but they're not very welcome now, are they? Iran's President Ahmadgenocide -- er, excuse me, Ahmadinejad -- wants to wipe that tiny little Zionist regime off the map and the funny thing is, I haven't heard anything about the Muslim masses protesting his intolerance of Jews.

But maybe the best comment of all came, once again, from the same silver-tongued spokeswoman: "Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence."

Wait a minute. If Islam was actually tolerant as the good lady wants us to believe, then the mere description of it as intolerant wouldn't encourage violence, would it? Doesn't her statement actually confirm the very thing she is denying, which is the intolerance of Islam?

There I go again, trying to make logical points about something that was said by a disgruntled representative of the Religion of Perpetual Outrage. Talk about an exercise in futility.

As of this writing, it remains to be seen if riots will break out around the world as they usually do when someone offends Islamic sensibilities. We can only hope for the pope's sake that no one takes to heart one of the placards that was being displayed during the last round of riots: "BEHEAD THOSE WHO INSULT ISLAM." ESR

Greg Strange's web site can be found at http://www.greg-strange.com. (c) 2006 Greg Strange.


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