More reaction to the Pope's comments on Islam

Anne Applebaum hits it on the head as usual:

Already, angry Palestinian militants have assaulted seven West Bank and Gaza churches, destroying two of them. In Somalia, gunmen shot dead an elderly Italian nun. Radical clerics from Qatar to Qom have called, variously, for a "day of anger" or for worshipers to "hunt down" the pope and his followers. From Turkey to Malaysia, Muslim politicians have condemned the pope and called his apology "insufficient." And all of this because Benedict XVI, speaking at the University of Regensburg, quoted a Byzantine emperor who, more than 600 years ago, called Islam a faith "spread by the sword." We've been here before, of course. Similar protests were sparked last winter by cartoon portrayals of Muhammad in the Danish press. Similar apologies resulted, though Benedict's is more surprising than those of the Danish government. No one, apparently, can remember any pope, not even the media-friendly John Paul II, apologizing for anything in such specific terms: not for the Inquisition, not for the persecution of Galileo and certainly not for a single comment made to an academic audience in an unimportant German city. . . . .


Blogger saturdaynightspecial said...

Before Bush invaded Iraq I sent a letter to the White House warning him not to go there.

When any outside government meddles or interferes in the Middle East it risks "playing with fire."

You will never see or hear any past, present or future US government admit wrongdoing for meddling in the Middle East. But that's the reason so many people have been harmed (by terrorists) in the last thirty years.

9/19/2006 5:25 PM  
Blogger Dan Morgan said...

The quote he read also said, "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman". Not sure what saying this was supposed to accomplish. Seems to me he simply made a mistake, and he should have had more people review his speech first.

The pope is in a unique position to challenge some basic assumptions of Islam as preached in many parts of the world today. But now he has likely lost any influence.

9/23/2006 10:49 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Dan:

Thanks for the note. The translation on my other post has the Pope saying before the quote that the person making it said a "somewhat brusquely" comment. If you listen to the discussion on Hugh Hewitt's show, the claim is that the proper translation of what the Pope said is even stronger, that the Pope said that the person making the statement said it "rudely/unfairly."

Also you need to quote the entire sentence: "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." The point of the sentence was the violence used to spread the religion. That there should be a rational discussion not violence.

I am hardly Catholic and I am sure that I disagree with the Pope on a huge number of issues, but if the Pope has lost any influence, the fault is not his. The fault lies with those who distort what he has said.

9/23/2006 11:20 PM  

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