Sunday, September 17, 2006

By Their Fruit You Will Recognize Them

Based on several news reports (see here, here, and here), it appears that the Muslim world is doing a bang-up job of proving the Pope right. The level of hypocrisy on display is simply unbelievable:

A senior Vatican official stopped short of issuing an apology but said Pope Benedict XVI "deeply regretted" offending Muslims with his inflammatory comments about Islam last week. Not good enough, say Muslim leaders.

The pope's suggestion that compulsion and violence are inherent features of Islam has outraged the Muslim world. In Afghanistan, where apostates are subject to execution, the parliament and the Foreign Ministry demanded an apology. In Yemen, where religious conversion is punishable by death, the president has threatened to sever diplomatic ties. In the West Bank, Palestinians attacked four churches with guns and firebombs. And a Somali cleric added his two cents: "Whoever offends our Prophet Muhammad should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim." (from Slate.com's summary of what's in major papers)

Unfortunately, it appears that the Pope has now issued a full apology. Score another point for radical Islam's on-going quest to intimidate the West. It's almost enough to make one believe the over-heated rhetoric from Republicans concerning "Islamofascism", but I'll try not to succumb to that oversimplification.

4 comments:

Seven Star Hand said...
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D.W. Congdon said...

Thomas, I'll grant you that there is indeed hypocrisy in all of this. But I think, as American Christians, we have a deep obligation to take the plank out of our own eye first. And as long as American Christians feel justified in supporting U.S. and Israeli violence, we really cannot go around as if we are always morally superior. (And of course it won't do to simply dissociate ourselves from other American Christians.)

Also, it's technically not Islamic fascism, but Islamic fundamentalism. The latter is the combination of religion and state; the former is the combination of business and state. I would recommend reading this article.

Thomas Adams said...

D.W. – Thank you for your comment. While I failed to make it sufficiently clear in my post, I also dislike the term “Islamic fascism”, and for reasons similar to those provided in the article you cite. However, given recent events, it’s hardly surprising that this term has found fertile soil in the West. But there’s no excuse for the use of sloppy and derogatory language, and therefore I regret the inclusion of that term in this post. I also agree that the “plank in our eye” is gigantic and growing larger every day. Muslims around the world have many justifiable grievances against the U.S. and Israel, as well as against the West in general. So I have no sense of moral superiority, either personally or collectively.

The post was written out of a sense of frustration. It’s not exactly news, but it saddens me that we live in a world where people – of all sorts - are eager for conflict, eager to confirm the worst expectations of their adversaries. The Pope suggests that Muslims are violent; Muslims respond by torching churches and killing nuns. Arabs argue that Israel targets civilians and doesn’t respect the borders of its neighbors; Israel lays waste to half of Lebanon. The world suspects that the U.S. does not care about international law; Bush invades Iraq and sets-up the Gitmo prison. So on and so on. Because we’ve lost any sense of trust in others, our responses to perceived threats or insults lack proportionality, and the rhetoric reaches a fever pitch really quick. Extremism is carrying the day, here and abroad.

Of course, the anger expressed in my post doesn't help the sitution. You’re absolutely right that Christians must avoid repaying hatred with hatred, and evil for evil. That’s the only way that these crises can be defused. And that’s why I understand that the Pope’s apology was the right thing to do, even though it feels wrong to me on a gut level.

Kip said...

I'm not sure a few rent-a-crowd media stunts can be described as 'the outrage of the whole Muslim world'. Although undoubtedly most Muslims were not as flattered as they ought to have been -- given that to be criticised by a wretched scoundrel (I mean the Byzantine Emperor quoted, not the Pope) is a form of flattery.

I did a post on this one if you feel like the refreshing cool breeze of reason:

here