Tags: Where | Are | the | Leaders | Against | Muslim | Violence?

Where Are the Leaders Against Muslim Violence?

Tuesday, 19 September 2006 12:00 AM

Last week Pope Benedict XVI made a statement that has enraged Muslims throughout the world. The leaders of several Muslim countries are demanding an apology. In the streets of a number of countries, Muslims have marched to show their anger.

They have also engaged in violence, as reported by The New York Times: "And in the West Bank town of Nablus on Saturday, a day after street protests and grenades were thrown at a church in the Gaza Strip, two churches were lightly damaged in firebombings. A group calling itself the 'Lions of Monotheism' said the attacks were in reaction to the pope's remarks."

On September 18, The Times reported, "In Gaza, the Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniya, denounced attacks on some half-dozen churches there and in the West Bank."

According to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, reported in The Times, the pope's remarks "were part of a scholarly address aimed at refuting a 'religious motivation for violence, no matter where it comes from.'"

The pope's actual statement, according to The Times, "recount[ed] a conversation on the truths of Christianity and Islam that took place between a 14th-century Byzantine Christian emperor, Manuel II Palaeologus, and a Persian scholar. 'He [the emperor] said, I quote, "Show me just what Muhammed 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 pope said. While making clear that he was quoting someone else, Benedict did not say whether he agreed or not. He also briefly discussed the Islamic concept of jihad which he defined as 'holy war,' and said that violence in the name of religion is contrary to God's nature and to reason."

On September 17, The Times reported:

"Pope Benedict XVI sought Sunday to extinguish days of anger and protest among Muslims by issuing an extraordinary personal apology for having caused offense with a speech last week that cited a reference to Islam as 'evil and inhuman.' 'I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address,' the pope told pilgrims at the summer papal palace of Castel Gandolfo, 'which were considered offensive. These were in fact quotations from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought,' the pope, 79, said in Italian, according to the official English translation. 'The true meaning of my address,' he said, 'in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.'"

Pope Benedict later apologized, but Muslim religious and secular leaders stated that the apology was inadequate.

So, what should we make of all of this? First, the 14th century emperor was wrong to condemn the Muslim religion and its prophet Muhammad. There are three great monotheistic religions: the oldest, Judaism; created later was Christianity and finally Islam. They have all contributed much to the world to make us better human beings. They have all in their long history taken actions which have been violative of the rights of others.

Pope John Paul II on behalf of the Catholic church apologized for the Inquisition, the Crusades and attacks on Muslims as well as the Church's failures during the reign of the Nazis to take greater action to protect Jews from death.

According to a CNN report on September 18, "An al-Qaida-linked extremist group warned Pope Benedict XVI on Monday that he and the West were 'doomed,' as protesters returned to the streets across the Muslim world to demand more of an apology from the pontiff for his remarks about Islam and violence.

The Mujahideen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of Sunni Arab extremist groups that includes al-Qaida in Iraq, issued a statement on a Web forum vowing to continue its holy war against the West. The authenticity of the statement could not be independently verified.

The group said Muslims would be victorious and addressed the pope as "the worshipper of the cross," saying, "you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. ... We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose [a] head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion [to Islam] or [death by] the sword.'"

Another example of violence used against the infidel would be that of Danny Pearl of the Wall Street Journal, who was kidnapped and decapitated by Muslim terrorists in Pakistan. Before he was slaughtered, he was forced to say, as his captors held him and millions watched a TV video, "I am an American Jew, my father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish. ..." Then the knife severed his head.

According to an October 22, 2003 CNN report, "U.S. officials say they believe Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the attacks of September 11, 2001, killed Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and slain in Pakistan. They say the hands that held the knife that slit Pearl's throat belong to Mohammed. The killing was shown in a videotape sent to the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, shortly before Pearl's body was found in 2002, but the killer's face is not visible."

Still another example advocating violence against the infidel would be the statement of Musab al-Zarqawi, the number one person directing al-Qaida in Iraq before he was killed by an American bomb, who stated, "Killing the infidels is our religion, slaughtering them is our religion, until they convert to Islam or pay us tribute."

The infidels alluded to are Christians, called Crusaders, Jews, Hindus and other Muslims with whom they disagree. In the case of Christians and Jews – the people of the book – under the Koran and the compilation of the Traditions of the Prophet, writings handed down concerning the actions and sayings of the Prophet, they have the option of converting or paying tribute. Pagans have no option. They must convert or die.

The often-used reference of providing martyrs with 72 virgins is an urban myth. The Koran speaks of virgins, but gives no number. The Koran does state, "To those who fight in God's cause who barter this life for the hereafter ... who are killed or are victors, we shall give an immense reward," and "Fight against those who do not believe in God or the last day and do not forbid what God and his prophet have forbidden and who do not follow the true religion, those who have been given the book [Christians and Jews] until they pay the poll tax, directly, they being humbled."

That there is enormous fratricide in Iraq, with the Shia and Sunni killing one another, is universally acknowledged. In Iraq nearly every day, 50 or more civilians are found tortured and their mutilated bodies are dumped on city streets. The Shia have set Sunni mosques on fire, and the Sunni have done the same to Shia mosques.

The most horrendous of such destruction was the attack on the al-Askari Mosque, one of the most revered Shiite mosques in Iraq. When earlier in Afghanistan, the Taliban in power destroyed the ancient Buddha statues at Bamiyan built in the third and fifth centuries, civilized countries throughout the world were horrified. Who took to the streets to protest for the Buddhists?

In the case of the caricatures first published in Denmark depicting Muhammed, which caricatures Muslims deemed to be blasphemous, Muslim mobs across the world took to the streets, threatening death to those who published the cartoons. People were killed by the enraged mobs. Yet many Islamic states permit, indeed encourage in government-controlled newspapers, caricatures reviling Jews.

The fury of the mobs was successful in its intended effect. Some of the great newspapers of the U.S. refused to publish pictures of the caricatures. Was it because they did not want to commit blasphemy? Was it out of a sense of good taste? Was it out of fear?

The Times describes the kidnapping of two reporters of Fox News in Gaza: "One Gaza kidnapping that received significant attention was of two Fox News journalists, Steve Centanni and his cameraman, Olaf Wiig. For nearly two weeks last month, they were held by a mysterious group which first demanded that all Muslim prisoners in American jails be released. In the end, the group insisted that the two men pay a ransom, convert to Islam or be murdered." They announced their conversions to Islam on TV before being freed. They later announced it was done under duress.

There are some in Islam who are appalled by what is happening and believe those acts violate Islamic religious law, yet few are prepared to denounce those actions by marching in the streets to show outrage or otherwise denouncing them publicly.

The leaders of the world – secular and religious of all denominations – are missing in the effort to stop violence. Why aren't they calling for marches in support of respect for the religious faiths of others? At the very least there should be a day of prayer proclaimed by religious leaders of all faiths, especially leaders of Islam, Christianity and Judaism?


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Last week Pope Benedict XVI made a statement that has enraged Muslims throughout the world.The leaders of several Muslim countries are demanding an apology.In the streets of a number of countries, Muslims have marched to show their anger. They have also engaged in...
Tuesday, 19 September 2006 12:00 AM
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