Sep 24, 2006

PostGlobal, Discussion on the Pope's "Apology"

PostGlobal is a new forum by the Washington Post aiming to create a global dialogue on current and global issues. It's moderated by Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius, posing a question each week to a group of journalists . Then it's opened for readers to comment on the question, but a select group of bloggers recieve the question in advance (blogger advance team) and get their responses featured, I was invited to be one of the bloggers. Here is the first question and my response to it:

Topic: Pope Benedict XVI said he was "deeply sorry" for the reaction in some countries to his recent speech in which he quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor saying the prophet Muhammad brought "only evil and inhuman" things to the world.

Question: From where you write, was the apology enough? What should Christians and Muslims be talking about now?

Response: People in the Muslim world were genuinely shocked by the Pope's remarks because the Pope is the one person who should know the sensitivities of making such a tasteless comments at this time. The Pope's remarks - and the fact that he quoted a king from 7 centuries ago - shows a deep seated resentment within the Vatican towards Islam. It also shows that the Pope has a medieval idea about Islam and is unwilling to listen and learn about Islam.

The problem with the remarks and actions such as that of the Pope and the Danish cartoons is that it's not meant to be a dialogue or a debate, it’s simply a dismissal of Muslim faith and Prophet Mohamed as evil or worse sometimes. When it comes from a religious authority that had a long standing animosity towards Islam (i.e. Pope UrbanII rallied Christendom to fight Muslims and recapture Jerusalem) then it will be certain seen as provocative.

It's sad that the Pope hasn't apologized yet for his remarks (he apologized for the Muslim anger and their misunderstanding of what he said, which is another insult in and of itself). The Pope should not only apologize for his remarks, he should state clearly the Vatican's attitudes towards Islam and Muslims. I think Muslim countries should reexamine their relationship with the Vatican in light of the Pope's actions on this issue in the next few days/months.

I don't think this is a problem between Muslims and Christians, it's a problem with the Pope, Vatican and Muslims around the world.

As for Muslim public opinion, it seems people have learnt from the Danish Cartoon's experience. The response was immediate from the people and leaders unlike the Danish cartoons which shows that people are realizing the effect they can have on their governments.
The discussion now is on Darfur, anyone can take part of the discussion so weigh in. I'll post my response on Darfur later.

Technocrati Tags: Islam, PostGlobal


Anonymous said...

I think these protests against the Pope are doing nothing in the West but destroying any credibility that mainstream Islam may have that it is a peace loving religion. I am prepared to accept that the media has distorted the true nature of the facts, but it looks to me like a religion that has been hijacked by radical extremists and where ordinary peace loving Muslims are too frightened to stand up against them.
As far as I can see from my recent readings on various Islamic websites trying to educate myself in the beliefs of Islam, it certainly looks to me as if the concept of annihilation of non Muslim infidels is very much at the heart of Islam. Am I wrong?

Abdurahman Warsame said...

In terms of the "annihilation of non-muslim" I'm glad to say that you're wrong. In madina, the second holiest in Islam where Islam started growing in strength there were Christians and Jews who lived peacefully there. Through the middle ages (dark ages in Europe) jews fled Europe and took refuge in the Muslim world from the opression of Christondom. Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, India, Iran are all examples of societies ruled by muslims for centuries with native Christians, Jews and Hindus, in fact, Iran has the largest jews community in the MidEast outside Israel. The non-muslims have lived and flourished along-side muslims for centuries while for example Europe tortured and executed every last muslim in Spain.

To link to the Pope's remarks, in 1096 Pope UrbanII rallied Christondom to take back Jeruselam from the "Infidel" muslims and subsequently hundreds of thousand of muslims and jews were slaughtered in Jeruselam. When Saladin captured Jerusalam after 100 years, no Christian was harmed, church congregations were not disturbed and Christians were allowed to stay or leave with their wealth.

The Pope's remarks angred many muslims but for me I see the aim of the response little differently. The aim is not to get a point across to the West, it's little difficult when you've Fox News and the current US admin instead the idea is to put pressure on muslim governments. These governments don't like public action because they're afraid it might get diverted into domestic issues. Muslims leaders were cought by surprise with Danish cartoons and that's why there action was faster this time. I hope this new found power of the people gets utilised to bring about a positve change in these societies and root out corruption.

People protesting on the streets aren't extremists, they're genuinely angry of what they see as the West's hostility towards Islam; attacking Afghanistan, Iraq and the complete support US gives to Israel don't help either.

Terror-Free said...

New Pope Shows Spine
Islamonazi CAIR Is Not Impressed - video

Please Call The Vatican Embassy In Washington, DC at (202) 333-7121 to Express Your Support!