Sunday, September 17, 2006

Follow-up on the Pope, Islam and the Cowering of the NYTimes

Here's part of the New York Times' editorial today:-

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. And they denounce its perversion by extremists, who use jihad to justify murder and terrorism.

...this is not the first time the pope has fomented discord between Christians and Muslims.

The world listens carefully to the words of any pope. 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.

a) How many is "many" as in For many Muslims, holy war — jihad — is a spiritual struggle, and not a call to violence?

b) Has any Muslim leader of stature apologized for Islamic violence, aka terrorism, recently?

c) Are Islamic nations progressing towards coexistence, cooperation and democracy or going the other way?

Well, here's a take on it from the London Times:-

The Pope’s old sparring partner, Professor Hans Küng, a former colleague of his at Tübingen university, agrees that he did not intend to provoke Muslims. “He is very interested in dialogue with all religions. But this quotation and his whole approach to Islam in the lecture was very unfortunate.”

He found it incredible that the Pope quoted an emperor, a Christian adversary of Islam, who had set down the comments while in the middle of a battle, the siege of Constantinople in 1394 to 1402.

“If a Jewish person said such a thing about a Christian, we would also be offended,” said Professor Kung. “He can of course quote what he wants, but he did this without saying the emperor was incorrect. This shows the limits of the theologian Joseph Ratzinger. He never studied the religions thoroughly and obviously has a unilateral view of Islam and the other religions.”

The Pope has a history of criticism of Islam. According to a leading Catholic, he believes that Islam cannot be reformed and is therefore incompatible with democracy.

Earlier this year, Father Joseph Fessio, provost of Ave Maria University in Naples and founder of the publishing house Ignatius Press, said that the Pope believed that reform of Islam was impossible “because it’s against the very nature of the Koran, as it’s understood by Muslims.”

...The irony is that the Islamic response illustrates how desperately the world needs to hear his message.

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