Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Pope, The Mullahs and Planks in Eyes

So the Pope, in his infinite wisdom, recently saw fit to quote some anti-Islamic sentiments spoken by a 14th century Byzantine emperor. While the Pope did not intend listeners to interpret the quote as something he personally agreed with, it’s unclear why he would choose to reference a quote that basically called Islam an evil and violent religion.

Now, the Pope has apologized for offending Muslims. Unfortunately, we do not yet know whether this apology will be enough to quell the rising anger in the Islamic world. Many Islamic leaders seem to have latched onto the Pope’s statements as the perfect excuse for a new round of disproportionately angry protests like the ones held in response to the Danish cartoons.

It’s beyond me why any Muslim would want to use violence as a means to protest being called violent. But it’s also beyond me why any Christian would think violence has not oft possessed our own religion. The sad and unavoidable truth is, Muslims and Christians and Jews (and Hindus too) have been killing each other for a long, long time.

As far as I’m concerned, leaders of all religions should spend a lot less time denouncing the ignorant words and violent actions of other religions and spend a lot more time denouncing the ignorance and violence within their OWN religion. Too many religious leaders give a pass to the radicals in their own flock while crying out in rage about the radicals found in other religions.

And this is hardly a new idea. After all, it was probably best said by a religious man 2,000 years ago. Matthew 7:3-5 is where it appears.


Blogger MadBadTurk said...

you miss the point.

Near Eastern religions are inherently supremacist. And so unable to weigh motes and rods.

And while violence has been done in the name of most religions, the sad truth is that many terrorists today do claim inspiration from Islam.

They, and the over-the-top reaction to the Pope's remarks (no-one should expect the Bishop of Rome to endorse a rival product) need to be dealt with.

The problem is perhaps not one of identification, but of association. To whit: all terrorists are muslim, hence all muslims must have the propensity for violence. Gross simplification, but human.

How to crush the forces of Islamic obscurantism while not sowing more grief? That is beyond me - and, I'm afraid, beyond the US President too. But I would guess it comes from containment and not downright attack. A Cold War, if you will.

3:44 AM  
Anonymous James Vincent said...

The above is a grim outlook on the world's state of affairs, if you ask me. It is true that a "downright attack" on the Muslims of the world is not the answer, but neither is "containment", as you put it. The logical path ahead is, unfortunately, the difficult and painful one, and it involves dialogue and conciliation.

The Pope's choice of quote has been unhelpful in that regard, but nothing should be immune from constructive criticism. The more it is rejected, the harsher it gets. What I want to know is how much harsher are the comments to get before some Muslim leader somewhere launches a process of self-evaluation?

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Walrus said...

Let me play devil's advocate here very briefly. The protesters are not objecting to being called violent, they are objecting to Mohammed being called evil. This is in no way a justification of their acts, but a clarification.

Presumably they have no objection to being called violent. On the contrary, they seem to embrace it rather actively.

2:52 PM  

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