Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pope, Islam, controversy

Biggest news item this week has to be the Pope causing controversy and demonstrations throughout the Muslim world by quoting a mediaeval Byzantine king that badmouths Islam.
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

Pot calling the kettle black or what? How much violence has the Catholic church been involved in? The Crusades, Conquistadores, Inquisition and a plethora of European wars against Protestantism readily come to mind.

He's not exactly a newcomer to attacking other religions, a few years back he called Buddhism "spiritual masturbation". To explain, unlike Christianity, Buddhism needs no external entities, you find enlightenment purely within yourself. Things such as chants, mandalas or meditation are tools to help you in that process rather than an end in themselves.

Meanwhile, can't Muslims take a more sensible approach to perceived insults? Fareena Alam, editor of Q-News certainly can:
The media are giving the supposed "anger of the Muslim nation" too much coverage. Such insults are as old as Islam itself. The Prophet dealt with them with dignity. We must stop over-reacting ... A Muslim who truly lives according to the moral code of Islam - of justice, neighbourliness and compassion - will know that it is our greatest weapon against misrepresentation. Perhaps the Pope was 'merely quoting' the 14th-century emperor. Perhaps he did so because he actually shares this belief. If so, he is more ill-informed than we thought. I refuse to let such provocations shape the global faith agenda.
Full article.

It strikes me there are a good few Islamic clerics out there who regard stirring up riots as a good career move. That can't explain the Pope's actions though, he's already got the top job.


At 16/9/06 17:44, Blogger Thompson W. said...

Yes... It's sad that a leader of a world religion can be so "brusque" about other religions. His misunderstanding of other religions is scary. He should have learnt the message of tolersance and empathy from his predecessor.


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