MSNBC News Services
Updated: 12:01 a.m. ET Sept 18, 2006
CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Qaida militants in Iraq vowed war on “worshippers of the cross” and protesters burned a papal effigy on Monday over Pope Benedict’s comments on Islam, while Western churchmen and statesmen tried to calm passions.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei joined a chorus of Muslim criticism of the head of the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, calling the pope’s remarks “the latest chain of the crusade against Islam started by America’s (President) Bush”.
The pontiff said on Sunday he was “deeply sorry” Muslims had been offended by his use of a medieval quotation on Islam and holy war. But he stopped short of retracting a speech seen as portraying Islam as a religion tainted by violence.
While some Muslims were mollified by his explanation for the speech made in Germany last Tuesday, others remained furious.
“We tell the worshipper of the cross (the pope) that you and the West will be defeated, as is the case in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya,” said a Web statement by the Mujahideen Shura Council, an umbrella group led by Iraq’s branch of al-Qaida.
“We shall break the cross and spill the wine ... God will (help) Muslims to conquer Rome ... (May) God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the mujahideen,” said the statement, posted on Sunday on an Internet site often used by al-Qaida and other militant groups.
In Iraq’s southern city of Basra, up to 150 demonstrators chanted slogans and burned a white effigy of the pope.
“No to aggression!” and “We gagged the pope!” they chanted in front of the governor’s office in the Shiite city.
Muslims, and some Christians, across the region have expressed anger over comments Benedict made Tuesday in Germany where he cited the words of 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who said everything the Prophet Muhammad brought was evil “such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
But he said on Sunday this was not his view and he favored frank dialogue with Islam. His new Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said Holy See nuncios (ambassadors) in Muslim countries would visit government and religious leaders.
Muslims have also staged a protest in London in front of an Anglican Cathedral (?), murdered a nun and her bodyguard and Palestinians attempted to set fire to two Catholic Churches in The West Bank.
This is what happens when the cage door is left open and people without a clue run amuck displaying their total lack of a clue.
What did he actually SAY that created such a reaction? What he said was:
"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.
"In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that (in the Qur'an) 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 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...."
He ended his lecture with the following statement:
"The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur — this is the program with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. 'Not to act reasonably, not to act with logos, is contrary to the nature of God,' said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university."
The Pope invited the Muslims, other Christians, Jews and scientists to TALK to each other. Islam responded to his invitation by killing Christians, burning churches and the Pope in effigy, which doesn't appear to be a good way to start a dialogue. Now, I ask you, if the Qur'an teaches Muslims that there should be no compulsion in religion, why are they killing nuns, burning down Christian churches and burning the Pope in effigy?
Some careful consideration should be given to some verses in the Our’an that were written at a later date.
Mohammad wrote in sura 9: 29-30 of the Qur'an:
"9.29": Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.
"9.30": And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away! "
Perhaps Europe needs to think about sura 9 before it hands 20% of Serbia, the province of Kosovo, over to Albanian Muslims, who already have destroyed over 150 Serbian Christian Churches and who want to either subject or eliminate the few remaining Serbs.
(excerpts from MSNBC News and Renew America - Mary Mostert)