Friday, September 15, 2006


The Crusades redux

Anti-Vatican demonstrations are all the rage today because apparently, the Pope has distressed some people with some comments:

“"Benedict told the audience that the "erudite" emperor addressed the scholar "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.' "Muslim Leaders Blast Pope's Comments

Those words came from “…a book that recounted a conversation that purportedly took place in the 14th century between a Persian scholar and Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel II Paleologos on the merits of Christianity and Islam.” Meaning it took approximately 700 years before anyone mounted any kind of demonstrations against the emperor’s words; in retrospect then, the demonstrations against the Danish cartoons, which came only a few months after their publication, seem positively spontaneous.

Fortunately, some people could keep things in perspective:

“"Benedict, the author of such unfortunate and insolent remarks, is going down in history for his words," he said. "He is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as (Adolf) Hitler and (Benito) Mussolini." Turkish Lawmaker Compares Pope to Hitler


"This is another Crusader war against the Arab and Muslim world," said Hamas official Ismail Radwan as he addressed some 5,000 chanting demonstrators.” Muslims deplore Pope speech

Here’s why Pope Benedict’s words were so unfair:

“Aslam said Muslims had a long history of tolerance, adding that when the Catholic kingdom of Spain expelled its Jewish population in 1492 they were welcomed by Muslim nations such as the Turkish Ottoman Empire.”

…and of course that grand tradition of tolerance continues today.

My biggest problem with what Benedict said is that it did not really fit his thesis, but seemed a deviation from it, as it were, "dicta" not binding on his point about faith and reason. But death threats? A nun got killed over this? The secular parties in Turkey - secular Turkey - condemned an awkward footnote? A nun got killed for a footnote!

I guess the Muslim world must be wealthier than I thought. As for me, secular hump-a-day commuter, I have bills to pay and cannot take time out to indulge a death threat upon the Infidel Crusader.
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