So the latest firestorm in the Muslim world involves some remarks by the new pope. The pope was giving an address at a university.
Benedict quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.
“The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war,” the pope said. “He said, I quote, ‘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.'”
Benedict did not explicitly agree with the statement nor repudiate it.
Hard to know what to make of his exact statement without more context, and it doesn’t really matter. I just was once again struck by the absurdity of the response from the Muslim world. They compared Pope to Hitler and Mussolini in their desire to see others be more restrained in their comments. They threatened violence as the result of saying that Muslims are not tolerant.
“Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.
That one is priceless. Acknowledge us as nice people or we’ll burn down your embassy.
“Benedict, the author of such unfortunate and insolent remarks, is going down in history for his words.”
Now this one seems to me particularly telling. “Insolent” is a word used to describe behavior of an inferior to a superior, isn’t it? A boy is insolent to his parents, a slave insolent to his master or a man insolent to God. Am I reading too much into it? It seems very much like the man is saying that the Pope is bound to recognize the superiority of Islam’s claims and submit to those claims, and that his remarks, failing to bow to the truth of Islam, are insolent. Now of course we know this to be Islam’s views. Which is fine- I view Christianity as the true religion, and believe that all those imams and mullahs and sheiks and the rest will one day bow the knee to Jesus Christ whether they like it or not. But it just puts the lie to this idea that everyone has to be tolerant of Islam and is never allowed to say it’s not true, when the faith of Islam declares confidently that all other faiths are lies and will be judged as such one day. When people say Christianity is false and a lie, I don’t get all outraged. They must believe this, else they would be Christians. I know the day will come when Christianity will be vindicated, and I don’t need to burn anyone’s embassy down to prove it.
This cry for tolerance that we hear every time we turn around is a pretence. The Muslims don’t believe in it- they’ll put us all to the sword if they get the chance unless we convert, and until then will use the pretence to sap our strength and will to fight. And the champions of tolerance and multiculturalism in the west will advocate it only so long as they’re in power and can keep the intolerant from cutting their throats. 9/11 was viewed as an isolated event, and so it didn’t change a lot of people’s belief that we could all get along. And the only thing keeping “tolerance” alive is the ineptness of the terrorists and the skill of the men and women defending the west, largely unappreciated and behind the scenes. If a few more 9/11s happened, a lot more people would see things for what they are, a bloody struggle to the death between two ideologies that cannot coexist on the same planet, and we’d see a lot fewer fake outrages like this one.