• Pontiff not to blame in this flap

    first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possible“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.”‘ Neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the emperor’s comments, the pope noted that violent conversion was “contrary to God’s nature,” as well as contrary to reason. Cue the violent response in the Palestinian territories, Pakistan, Iran and all the usual angst-ridden locales where charred spots still exist on the pavement from torching Danish flags. Benedict, long a theological scholar, should not be censured as to which texts he is allowed to quote from in presenting different views to frame an issue. And ironically, the issue he was tackling in that speech was how violence and religion don’t mix – followed by some incensed Muslims burning churches in the West Bank, burning the pontiff in effigy and shooting Sister Leonella. And on Saturday, an Iraqi militant group threatened to suicide bomb the Vatican. The online statement from the Mujahedeen Army, addressed to “you dog in Rome,” said, “We swear to God to send you people who adore death as much as you adore life.” The insanity has to stop. And that starts with the coal-stoking clerics looking for a jihad du jour. It’s like a new controversy is always needed to keep the masses properly riled up, with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc., relying on anger to advance their aims against the West. One professor in Saudi Arabia likened Benedict to an al-Qaida enabler on Al-Arabiya, saying, “His statements might give terrorists and al-Qaida followers legitimacy that there is really an attempt to hurt Muslims.” It’s amazing the amount of anger that’s being directed at the pontiff over this. If you’re mad at the quote, go stomp on the Byzantine emperor’s grave. Employing reason to single out the proper offending party is elusive. Benedict tried to douse some of the flames of discontent in his Sunday address, saying he was “deeply sorry” that Muslims were offended, and adding, “I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.” Few accepted the statement, wanting an apology from the pope for saying his remarks in the first place. Incidentally, this brouhaha began just days after the fifth anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks – perversely committed in the name of God – seen in the United States. Benedict can’t cease to spread the message that the world needs more than anything right now: that violence in the name of religion is never OK. If dialogue is to occur, be sure to include this: Why isn’t a “martyr” strapping explosives on and walking into a restaurant to kill men, women and children – in the name of his religion – condemned unequivocally by the whole of his religion? It’s not just the Vatican that wants to know, but every corner of the globe living in fear of jihadists. Bridget Johnson writes for the Daily News. E-mail her at bridget.johnson@dailynews.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NEVER ones to miss a golden public-relations opportunity, and winding down from unbridled furor at Dutch cartoonists, leaders across the Muslim world and corresponding radicals have picked a new, nefarious Enemy No. 1: the pope. Oh, and a 65-year-old nun who had devoted the past 38 years of her life to helping the sick and needy in Kenya and Somalia and was shot in the back four times Sunday, hours after a leading Somali cleric condemned the pope. “I am sure the killers were angered by the pope’s speech in which he attacked our prophet,” a witness to the shooting told The Associated Press. The thing that makes this killing even more senseless is that Benedict XVI didn’t even attack their prophet. In his Sept. 12 speech at the university where he once taught in Regensburg, Germany, he quoted from a book a conversation about Christianity and Islam between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and an educated Persian. last_img

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