The Pope is Sorry. Muslims Terrorists Are Not

A firestorm of Muslim rage was ignited by a lecture on the theme of Faith and Reason that Pope Benedict XVI gave at Regensburg University in Germany Tuesday, Sept 12.
The fury that beset the Muslim world recalls the tempest which greeted the Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper earlier this year. The government in Ankara said his safety could not be guaranteed during his visit in November, during which the pope had hoped to improve relations between Christians and Muslims. Turkey’s Catholic bishops will meet next Monday to discuss the visit.
Benedict quoted Byzantine emperor Manuel II as saying in a learned debate with a Persian cleric in 1391: “”Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new (debkafile: a hint to the proposition that the Koran was a copy of earlier Christian and Jewish writings), and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” (a denigration of jihad).
The pope did not say if he subscribed to this view. Speaking as a professor of theology to Catholic scholars, he referred back to the 615-year old text to illustrate his main theme that spreading faith through violence is unreasonable.
“Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and reason properly.
On the same day as the pontiff made his point on Faith and Reason in Bavaria, in Damascus Islamist terrorists attacked the US embassy.
World Muslim authorities like Sheikh Tantawi, head of al Azhar Mosque in Cairo, and Sheikh Qardawi the television preacher who does not endorse suicide attacks except when they target Israelis and Jews, demanded that Benedict retract his words and apologize. Muhammad Aqef, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood which has many millions of adherents, warned the pontiff that he had aroused the anger of the entire Muslim world.
In Turkey, a member of the ruling party Ali Bardakoglu said that that sort of talk against Muslims had produced the Crusades.
debkafile‘s Islamic observers comment that the threat of Muslim anger exploding into violence is becoming an increasingly powerful deterrent to any religious controversy that touches on the Muslim faith – especially in the West – because Western Christians, moderate Muslims and the Jewish world continue to distinguish between international Islamic terrorist groups and Muslims at large.
While the majority of Muslims do not subscribe to al Qaeda’s violent methods, neither do they actively oppose them. As for Palestinian violence against Israel, that is universally condoned.
Much of Western society as well as many Muslims and Israelis prefer to forget that suicidal terrorism as a political and religious instrument was the gift Yasser Arafat bequeathed to contemporary Islam; and it was enthusiastically embraced by al Qaeda and the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.
This ability to disremember the root of a world problem extends to non-recognition of the deepening integration of the Palestinian and al Qaeda jihad movements. Abu Musab al Zarqawi was a Jordanian Palestinian, as were some of his commanders; a Palestinian Hamas mentor hosted and instructed shoe bomber Richard Reid in Gaza before his failed attempt to blow up a US airliner in 2000. Many of al Qaeda’s most active cells are planted in Palestinian refugee camps in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. Nonetheless, many Western policymakers place “the Middle East conflict’ in a box of its own, separate from the global war on terror or the clash of religions and civilizations.
Because these policymakers have only very limited control over developments in the campaign against terror or the religious elements thereof, their pious hopes and efforts to appease angry Muslims keep on blowing up in their faces. The current crisis can be traced back to Khomeini’s death warrant (fatwa) for the writer Salman Rushdie for his Satanic Verses. It culminated now in the explosion of fury against the pope. But any suggestion that Islam is linked to the ideology of terror or violence evokes immediate outrage.
Oddly enough, no outrage was forthcoming when the leader of Israeli Arab Muslims, Sheikh Raad Salah promised a gathering of 50,000 Israeli Arabs, Friday night Sept. 15 that “very shortly the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem would be eclipsed and the city (Israel’s historic and national capital), will become the capital of the “world Islamic caliphate.”
His audience eagerly thundered: “With fire and blood we will liberate al Aqsa!”
No one demanded of the sheik any apology although by a strange coincidence he parroted one of al Qaeda’s central goals and injunctions and the justification for its terrorist campaign against the American, British and French “crusaders” and “the Jews,” namely, the establishment of a caliphate for world rule from its center in Jerusalem.
Where are the demonstrations and effigies protesting the explicit threat to the Jewish state and its capital? This double standard for legitimate and illegitimate Islamic conduct ruled the thinking of much of the world before Pope Benedict dropped his clanger – and will be there after it is forgotten.

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