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.The discussion now is on Darfur, anyone can take part of the discussion so weigh in. I'll post my response on Darfur later.
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.
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: