If someone told you that your religion advocates violence or spreads itself using violence would you react by blowing up houses of worship of other religions? Muslims are attacking churches in Gaza Strip and West Bank in protest at Catholic Pope Benedict's comments about Islam.
Churches in the West Bank and Gaza were damaged in several shooting and fire bomb attacks over the weekend, in response to the words of Pope Benedict XVI criticizing the Muslim religion. Thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Gaza to protest.
On Saturday, a Greek Orthodox Church in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City and four other churches in Nablus were attacked by Palestinians wielding guns, fire bombs and lighter fluid. At least five fire bombs hit the Anglican Church and its door was later set ablaze. Smoke billowed from the church as firefighters put out the flames. The fire bombings left black scorch marks on the walls and windows. No injuries were reported from those incidents.
On Sunday two more West Bank churches were set on fire as the wave of Muslim anger over the Pope’s comments continued. A small church in the village of Tubas was hit with fire bombs and was partially burned. In Tulkarm a stone church built over 170 years ago was torched, completely destroying the inside. According to local officials, neither were Catholic churches.
Writing in the Sunday Times of the UK Rod Liddle notes Muslims think they have the religion of peace but think they have the right to respond violently to anyone who denies their claim.
You can bet your life that by the time you read this, some Catholic priest toiling away in a godforsaken, dusty hellhole — Sudan, perhaps, or Turkey — will have been smacked about a bit, or had his church burnt down or been arrested without charge. The Pope should have been aware that Islam always reacts to western allegations that it is not a peaceful religion by mass outbreaks of vituperation, denunciation and acts of jihadic violence.
That this is a paradox seems not to be even remotely recognised by many Muslims. Commenting on the Pope’s speech, Tasnim Aslam, a spokeswoman for the Pakistani foreign ministry, came out with this little piece of doublethink beauty: “Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence.”
We should keep these people out of the West.
Some of the Muslims demanding an apology from the Pope are hardly examples of moderation and tolerance.
The murderous Muslim Brotherhood was the first out of the blocks, demanding that all Islamic countries cut their ties with the Vatican. The “liberal and moderate” Islamic scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (pro death penalty for homosexuals, female circumcision, suicide bombings against Jews and other similarly tolerant stuff) has insisted the Pope must apologise. Soon the placards will be out, the effigies, the foam-flecked demonstrators and attacks by adolescent suicidal nutters.
The Pope's forthcoming trip to Turkey may be cancelled by the Turks. Liddle suggests the Pope should demand the Turks stop mistreating Christians and also allow Muslims to convert to other religions. I agree.
A subtle and astute politician, perhaps Benedict should apologise for having caused offence — and then demand by way of reciprocation that Turkey — Islam’s democratic representative in the West — return to Christian denominations the land it has confiscated from them, allow the Christian churches to open seminaries (which they are barred from doing), make it easier to build new churches, and lock up Turks who terrorise priests. And maybe allow Turks to convert from Islam to Christianity without fear of official or unofficial reprisal. A fair exchange?
The Muslims do not deserve apologies from Westerners who speak their minds.
The Pope made the mistake of trying to appease the Muslims with an apology. But let us take a look at what he originally said that got the Muslims so bent out of shape. If Islam is a religion of peace then the Muslims who laid seige to Constantinople were bad Muslims.
I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) 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. It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between - as they were called - three "Laws" or "rules of life": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point - itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole - which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason", I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.
So the Pontiff is talking about the thoughts of a Byzantine emperor whose city was under seize by obviously non-peaceful Muslims. The Muslims of course wanted peace to come to Constantinople by forcing the Christian inhabitants of the city to submit to Muslim rule and pay a higher rate of taxes than Muslims pay. That submission is what Islam expects of non-believers who at least are of "the book" (Jews and Christians). Of course, for other non-believers the Muslims can follow the instructions of their Koran and dole out even much harsher treatment such as death.
In the seventh conversation (*4V8,>4H - controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning 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 Mohammed 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 (F×< 8`(T) 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... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".
Islam was spread by the sword by Mohammed, the founder of Islam. It was also spread by the sword by other Muslim leaders.
A hitherto unknown group calling itself the Swords of Islamic Right on Saturday threatened to blow up all churches and Christian institutions in the Gaza Strip to protest remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.
The group, which claimed responsibility for a shooting attack on the facade of a Greek Orthodox church in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City on Saturday, said it would not accept an apology from the pope.
On Saturday, four other churches in Nablus were also attacked by Palestinians wielding guns, firebombs and lighter fluid.
They'll peacefully destroy churches.
And for many conservatives here, fearful of terrorist attacks in the name of Islam and rising Muslim immigration in Europe, the remarks of the pope — despite his own denial that he meant to criticize — amounted to a rare public airing of a delicate concern many of them share: whether, in fact, Islam is at the moment especially prone to violence.
Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister, said Saturday that the comments amounted to “an opening, a positive provocation, and so for this reason he is a great pope, with a great intelligence.”
I'd love to see the Europeans and Americans have a more honest discussion about the nature of Islam.
Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci recently died. Fallaci was not shy about speaking her mind on the nature of Islam and for this European governments persecuted her.
For four years I’ve been repeating to the wind the truth about the Monster and its accomplices; that is, the accomplices of the Monster who, in good or bad faith, open wide the doors–who, like [those] in the Apocalypse of John the Evangelist, throw themselves at his feet and allow themselves to be stamped with the mark of shame.
I began with “The Rage and the Pride.“ I continued with “The Force of Reason.“ I followed [those] with “Oriana Fallaci Interviews Oriana Fallaci,” and “The Apocalypse.” And in each one I preached, “Wake up, West! Wake up!“ The books, the ideas, for which in France they tried me in 2002, accusing me of religious racism and xenophobia. For which Switzerland asked our Minister of Justice to extradite me in handcuffs. For which in Italy I will be tried for vilifying Islam; that is, for an offense of opinion. (An offense that carries a sentence of three years in prison; none of which will be served by the Islamist caught with explosives in his cantina). Books, ideas, for which the “Caviar” left, the “Fois Gras” right, and even the “Prosciutto” Center have denigrated and vilified me, putting me in the stocks together with all who think as I do. That is, together with the sensible and unprotected people who are defined by the radical-chic in their frivolous talk as “the riff-raff of the Right.”
Fallaci felt passionately for Italy and the West and spoke out against our enemies who she was not afraid to name. That puts her above most of our politicians. She will be missed.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 September 17 09:58 PM Civilizations Clash Of|