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16 September 2006

A Speech, An Apology, and What Else!?

Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy began when Pope Benedict XVI of the Roman Catholic Church gave a lecture on 12 September 2006 at his alma mater, the University of Regensburg in Germany. The lecture was entitled, "Faith, Reason and the University – Memories and Reflections".
The speech was about Holy War, and how true faith isn't supposed to be spread by force. As part of his explication of this distinction, Benedict referred to the specific aspect of Islam that Manuel II considered irrational, namely the practice of forced conversion. Specifically, the Pope quoted Manuel II Palaiologos as saying: "Show me just what Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him and His Family) 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."
First of all, I belive that cursing, and attacking a couple of churches here and there is not an appropriate response at all. I think using *reason*, and documented response that proves our point of view is the best thing that we shall do now.
I don't think an apology from the Pope is needed because what he said has hurted our feelings, we all know that he has different beliefs than ours and he has the right to criticise ours. However an apology is needed here becuse of his ignorance of Islam. He quoted Manuel II Palaiologos saying that Islam didn't bring anything new but evil and inhuman values. If he is speaking about those general values such as honesty, truth, charity, care for others, etc. then he may be right. But no other religion on earth has invented such values too. Even those man-made religions have the same values, they are there since forever. On the other hand, we may find topics such as the Unity of God, Self Descipline, Relation between humans and God, etc. those topics were covered by Islam in more details than any other religion. We may also find rules concernign Marriage, Zakah (Giving mone to the poor), and many other rules that affect our everyday life, that many other religions don't have. Now, let me ask what are those evil values that he thinks that Islam has brought. I think he need to differentiate between Islam as a religion, and Muslims deeds. Even those deeds are differs from one location to another, and from one age to the previous one. I guess reading a book or two about Islam are not going to hurt, and even if he doesn't have enough money to buy them, there are public libraries out there as well as the Internet. Actually, I have the feeling that the Popes view for Islam, is formed from the TV Shows and the media.
One more thing, about the Islam being spread by the sword. I don't think those thousands who are converted to Islam from all over the world now a days took such decision because of a sword or even a nuclear bomb. After giving the speech, and seeing the Muslim world reaction towards it, especially the quoted part in it, he said that it's not his own words, but he was just using Manuel II Palaiologos ones. Come on, it's obvious from reading the speech that he used his words just beacuse he believe in them, he also used them in order to make a point. And I think he doesn't need me to tell him that there is a huge difference between saying something said by someone else is order to reply on it, and saying it because you just agree with it.
Now, with respect to the apology, as I said before, we don't want him to apologize just because what he said has hurted our feelings, we are not asking him to be a hypocrite, and say stuff he doesn't belive in just to please us. We just want him to read more about Islam, and to apologize for his ignorance of Islam, if he finds himslef really ignorant of it.
Finally, I am sick of that attitude, when people say something, and after seeing your reaction they apologize even when they are not convinced with it. And after a while they repeat the same thing again and again. What's the point of this Yo-yo attitude!?

Related Posts:
On Pope Benedicts' XVI speach
As a Christian, I also need Pope Benedict to Apologize and Explain
Oh Lord! Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Another Danish Cartoons-style crisis

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  1. Point of this attitude is to show you - the Muslim Ummah - what is deep within their minds. What else?

  2. Another speech and another apology

  3. Pope B16 used to be a professor of that university and he teached theology. There's a misconception in muslim comments about that speech because they're concentrating on that single one sentence, a simple quote of a byzantine emperor, Manuel II. In his apology, the pope didn't take back anything (he cannot take back any word of a man dead since 600 years), he just apologized for hurting anyone in the Muslim world.

    In that speech there were two issues.

    First the issue of forcing people into Islam. While you expressed your point that there's no one out there being forced to convert to Islam, let me ask what those jihadist people are doing after all? What's their goal? Just killing people? No. One of the Al Quaeda guys recently suggested that all Americans convert to Islam and they'd be safe of any attacks after that. Jihad is the opening of new territory to the Islam, isn't it?

    The second, very important issue was about God / Allah and His properties. B16 said, that Muslims believe in a completely transcedent God, free of all human determinations while Christians believe that God (the same one, btw) has ethics / morale conforming to the human one because in the Genesis (which is part of Muslim belief too, afaik) God creates human beings in His image, which doesn't mean, as Christians think, that God looked like a man but that He gave His ethics / morale to the human race. This, as Jews and Greek people understand, leads to the judgement of human deeds after death. How can a human being reach paradise if s/he doesn't know whats right or wrong in the eyes of the creator?

    The latter issue is much more important than the jihad question, of course, and leads into a bunch of other theological issues.

    Let me add that personally, I'm an atheist. I've been educated in a catholic way, that's all. Christians can leave their religion and there's no threat of being killed for that.

  4. @Anonymous
    Those ones you are calling Jihadists are not forcing peope to convert to Islam, they may be forcing people to accept their own agenda, which is a political or whatever one, but they have nothing to do with Islam. And they do not represent Islam.
    Actually, I cannot see any contradiction between the idea of "completely transcedent God" and the one saying that "God has ethics / morale". I belive you are missing something here or there is some misunderstanding about Islam out there. Lt me make a seperate post about this issue soon, when I have time.

  5. ... And they do not represent Islam.

    There is a major problem: Who represents 'Islam' at all, who is the speaker of all Muslims? There are numerous flavours of Islam and if someone like Osama bin Laden chooses to make his own, no one will stop him. So, there is no one to talk to the Pope in the name of Islam in an obligatory manner.

    The difference in the comprehension of 'God' between Muslims and Catholics. This seems to be an important issue, because the Pope made it the core issue of his speech. Grossly speaking, Catholics deduct the moral / ethics of God from their own beings - they were created in the image of their God. So, from time to time, Catholic moral / ethics can be 'overhauled', it is allowed to change a bit and to be subject to clerical discussions. Not so the Muslim ethics - it is deducted from the Holy Books. No discussion possible, not to speak about adaptions. As an example, the latter shows up in the Sharia issue. Stoning, beheading, whipping, no adaption to modern times. Right from the start, the founder of Islam made sure that nothing would be changed over time.