September 22, 2006

Sept. 22, 2006: Tolerance and Reason

The Pope's Speech, Islamic Reaction, Anglican Bishop Carey and the Pope's "sono rammaricato"

Carey backs Pope and issues warning on 'violent' Islam -- "a lecture titled The Cross and the Crescent: The Clash of Faiths in an Age of Secularism, at Newbold College, Berkshire", By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent, and Richard Owen, in Rome,,2-2366419,00.html

THE former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton has issued his own challenge to “violent” Islam in a lecture in which he defends the Pope’s “extraordinarily effective and lucid” speech.

Lord Carey said that Muslims must address “with great urgency” their religion’s association with violence. He made it clear that he believed the “clash of civilisations” endangering the world was not between Islamist extremists and the West, but with Islam as a whole.

“We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times,” he said. “There will be no significant material and economic progress [in Muslim communities] until the Muslim mind is allowed to challenge the status quo of Muslim conventions and even their most cherished shibboleths.”

Lord Carey’s address came as the man who shot and wounded the last Pope wrote to Pope Benedict XVI to warn him that he was in danger. Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who tried to murder John Paul II in 1981 and is now in prison in Turkey, urged the Pope not to visit the country in November.

“I write as one who knows about these matters very well,” Agca said. “Your life is in danger. Don’t come to Turkey — absolutely not!” [....]

Search: contemporary political scientist, Samuel Huntington , "not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam ..." , Westophobia

Key excerpts: The Pope's speech

Remarks by Pope Benedict XVI in a speech in Germany have provoked outrage in the Muslim world and led to demands that the pontiff apologise for "insulting" Islam.

Below are some key excerpts from the Pope's speech at the University of Regensburg, entitled Faith, Reason and the University: Memories and Reflections.



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."


The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.

At this point, as far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we are faced with an unavoidable dilemma. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?


Read the Pope's entire speech [37KB] -- requires Adobe Acrobat Reader -- download on the same webpage.

The Pope's speech

[....] Benedict cited a Medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith."

"I trust that after the initial reaction, my words at the University of Regensburg can constitute an impulse and encouragement toward positive, even self-critical dialogue both among religions and between modern reason and Christian faith," the pope told thousands of faithful in St. Peter's Square Wednesday. Security in the square had been stepped up. [....]

We're already living under Muslim law , By John Burtis, September 19, 2006 re: The Pope, fatwa, a nun's murder, John McCain

Boy, it sure seems that the old religion of peace, Islam, is up to no good, again, what with their latest fatwa on the Pope and our strong suspicions about having a few of their ardent adherents mow down a nun by shooting her four times in the back. [....]

But pity poor Sister Leonella Sgorbati, a 38-year-veteran of East Africa's most poverty stricken areas, who had served in Somalia for the past five, bringing her good deeds to the world's poorest. She ran afoul of the great Muslim outpouring of grief and shock over the Pope's speech and caught a quick four bullets or so in the back for being a woman of the same cloth, who worships the same God as Benedict.

But such is modern Islam. The slightest hint of an insult results in a plethora of fatwas calling for outright murder and, of course, the follow on death of as many innocents as can be piled up for the photo-shop enhanced photos streaming from the stringers paid by the AP, Reuters, and, of course, the New York Times. [....]

The Peaceful Ones React & Translation of Pope's "sono rammaricato"

The West Should Be Free To Criticize Islam or "Pope Benedict Criticizes Islam" , by Daniel Pipes, New York Sun. September 19, 2006

* In Britain, while leading a rally outside Westminster Cathedral, Anjem Choudary of Al-Ghurabaa called for the pope "to be subject to capital punishment."
* In Iraq, the Mujahideen's Army threatened to "smash the crosses in the house of the dog from Rome" and other groups made blood-curdling threats.
* In Kuwait, an important website called for violent retribution against Catholics.
* In Somalia, the religious leader Abubukar Hassan Malin urged Muslims to "hunt down" the pope and kill him "on the spot."
* In India, a leading imam, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, called on Muslims to "respond in a manner which forces the pope to apologise."
* A top Al-Qaeda figure announced that "the infidelity and tyranny of the pope will only be stopped by a major attack."

Then, in what may be an unprecedented step by a pope, Benedict himself proffered the sort of semi-apology often favored by those feeling the heat. "I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address," reads the official Vatican translation into English, "which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims. These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought."

In the Italian original, however, Benedict says only sono rammaricato, which translates as "I am disappointed" or "I regret." [....]

Captain Ed of Captain's Quarters wrote a good article on how the Pope should respond.

Iran: suggested response

In Iran, about 500 theological school students protested in the holy city of Qom yesterday and hardline cleric Ahmad Khatami warned that if the Pope did not apologize, "Muslims' outcry will continue until he fully regrets his remarks."

"The Pope should fall on his knees in front of a senior Muslim cleric and try to understand Islam," Mr. Khatami said. [....]


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