16 September 2006

I'm Sorry

On Tuesday, 12 September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech at Regensburg University in Germany. The speech regarded faith and reason, and in it the Pontiff touched upon how Islamic terrorists use jihad to justify their terror attacks.

The part of Pope Benedict's speech that has since drawn the most recognition was a segment in which he quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologos.

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, '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.'"

Clearly aware of the sensitivity of the issue, Benedict added, "I quote," twice before pronouncing the phrases on Islam and described them as "brusque," while neither explicitly agreeing with nor repudiating them.

"The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable," Benedict said.

"Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul," the pope said, issuing an open invitation to dialogue among cultures.

Pope Benedict quoted a 14th century emperor who, like the Pope, found the act of spreading one's faith through violence to be an unreasonable endeavor. Since the Pontiff was giving a speech on faith and reason, that seems to be an understandable quote to include.

The Muslim world disagrees.

Pope Protesters Firebomb 4 West Bank Churches, Open Fire at Fifth
Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five churches in the West Bank and Gaza on Saturday, following remarks by Pope Benedict XVI that angered many Muslims.

Pakistan's Parliament Condemns Pope
Pakistan's parliament unanimously condemned Pope Benedict XVI on Friday for making what it called "derogatory" comments about Islam and demanded he apologize.

Bardakoglu Reacts Against Statements of Pope Benedict XVI
As reaction against the statements of Pope Benedict XVI which appeared on Thursday`s newspapers, Turkey`s Director of Religious Affairs Ali Bardakoglu said, "this is an extraordinarily worrying, saddening and unfortunate statement both in the name of the Christianity and common peace of humanity."

Muslims Deplore Remarks by Pope Benedict
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today the pope should not "take lightly" the spread of outrage that has been created.

Arab papers urge Pope apology for Islam comments
Arab newspapers on Saturday urged Pope Benedict to personally apologize for using quotes in a speech that described Islam as "evil and inhuman", and the New York Times said any apology must be "deep and persuasive".

Four churches have been firebombed, one church has been fired upon, the Pakistani parliament has condemned the Pope, the Turkish government is enraged, the Malaysian prime minister makes veiled threats, Muslim politicians have said that the Pope is in the same category as Hitler and Mussolini, protesters have burned the Pope in efigy, and the Muslim press (and the New York Times) are clamoring for an apology.

All of this for a quote.

Well, I'll apologize. I am sorry that Islam is so backwards that it must use violence and threats instead of taking a look at the quote in context and joining in the debate in a civilized manner. I am sorry that the Muslim world continues to pin its troubles on anyone but themselves, instead of looking at the inward causes of their problems. I am sorry that Muslims have used violence and, as such, have reinforced the argument against them. I am sorry that Islam is something so unreasonable.

That's the only apology you're ever going to get out of me, Haji.


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