Last week Pope Benedict XVI made an address at the University of Regensburg, devoting a portion of his talk to the early spread of Islam. Quoting 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, the pope stated: "God, is not pleased by blood -- and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature." The pope went on to quote the emperor: 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.
As one would expect, the Muslim world is outraged. Specifically, 6 Catholic churches have been attacked and a Catholic nun serving the poor in Somalia has been shot in the back and killed. Sheikh Abubukar Assan Malin, an Islamic cleric in Somalia, has stated that the Muslims should "hunt down" and kill the pope for his comments. Furthermore, anybody who offends the prophet Muhammed "should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim". Can we characterize this response from the Muslim world as "peaceful", or do the descriptions "evil, inhuman", and "by the sword" paint a more accurate picture? The bottom line is that some Muslim clerics and militants are so angry for Muhammed's teachings being labeled "evil and inhuman" that they shoot nuns in the back, call for the pope's assassination, and call for Muslim to immediately kill any person who merely offends Muhammed. I assume this irony is lost on much of the Muslim world.
In one of the more peaceful responses, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, who's chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, claimed the statements show the West and it's "politicians and clerics are hostile to Islam". Gee Mohammed, who's terrorizing whom in this global jihad? Who has been kidnapping and murdering Christians for the past 25+ years, going back to the Iranian Islamic revolution? Which religion was behind 9/11? Which religion was behind the bombings in Spain? England? The failed airline attack recently uncovered in the UK? The murder and kidnap of Israeli soldiers in northern Israel? Pssst, Mohammed, I don't think you understand what the word "hostile" means. Furthermore, if the West is hostile, what do you call all your jihadi buddies? Evil and perhaps inhuman?
Are all Muslims violent wagers of jihad? Of course not. But it sure would be nice if Muslim leaders would, at the very least, recognize that extremist members of their religion are the cause of widespread violence, and 100% of the world's terrorist acts. More importantly, clerics like Malin should be condemned for advocating murder. Looking inward to resolve those problems would be far more productive than worrying about the pope quoting a 14th century emperor.
CNN story here.