Saturday, September 16, 2006

Spread by the Sword?

Not a Thanet story but do you think that the Pope, Benedict XVI, was unwise to quote remarks by the 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, who wrote "Show me just what Muhammad 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 context of the Pope's speech at the University of Regensburg in Germany, stressed that violence can never be justified by any religion and to illustrate, this argument, he drew on the dialogue between the emperor and a Persian scholar, which has caused such outrage in the Islamic world.

The Guardian writes: "Blog sites have been buzzing with the thought that the Pope may have the president of Iran in mind when he speaks of Manuel's Persian interlocutor. But we don't need to speculate upon a contemporary casting for this speech to recognise its dangers. For in claiming that Islam may be beyond reason, and then to claim that to act without reason is to act contrary to the will of God, is pretty close to the assertion that this religion is godless. And that's not how different faiths ought to speak to each other - especially when we all have each other's blood on our hands."

Is Islam above any criticism? Was the Pope wrong to use the quote he did or are both wrong? What do you think?

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

anon again!

Let's put it this way... If he had used those terms on this site, his message would have been deleted by the owner!

DrMoores said...

It's a good point but possibly only through a fear of violence as a consequence rather than a concern over the debate.. which begs all sorts of questions in regard to the point the Pontiff was making.

Anonymous said...

We have to take the things he said IN CONTEXT ... that is not being done by all those who claim to be offended. The Pope did not wish to offend only bring the situation into closer focus. People who commit ghastly acts of violence using their religious beliefs as their driving force brings that religion into question. If the world then backs off and treats them with kid gloves in order not to offend then that only creates a situation that will only get worse.
I am worried that this Islamic fanaticism will be the cause of a serious international incident which could bring the whole world to war. I am also worried that the Islamic leaders do not vehemently condemn these actions - in not doing so they, by the very inaction, condone it.
We, in our innocence, tried to lend a helping hand, to offer some of the freedoms we enjoy, to the oppressed people of the world. It has been thrown back in our face and we are paying for it with our lives. Part of me feels that if these countries and their people want us out so they can return to a barbaric society - then we should go. We should lick our wounds and remember not to get involved with them in the future. Another part says that we should bite this bullet so we can have some say in how that part of the world evolves. One thing is certain - and it is happening now. When they get a nuclear capability and it falls into the hands of extremists the end of the world will not be something they will pause to consider for one moment.
Creating a climate of never saying anything in case it may offend is the wrong way to go. They hate us, they never cease to demonstrate and speak THEIR mind but we always seem to react in a different way.

James Maskell said...

Looking at the historical context, there was a point to Manuel II Paleologos's comments, who engaged him in war and shows nothing but violence towards him and his people. At the time of the comments' writing the Ottomans had taken a lot of land from his empire and were the biggest threat to him. Can anyone blame him for his comments of the threat of Islam to him?

The reaction to the comments by the Pope isnt too far off the reaction to Inigo Wilsons satirical "Lefty Lexicon" which led to him being hounded by radical Muslims in Britain earlier this year. This shows exactly what sort of grip the left has on the world. Radical Muslims set off bombs in our underground and we just have to take it. We make a comment about the threat of radical Islam and we are called racists and there are riots!

Debate is caused by opposing or conflicting viewpoints. What debate is there if we all have to read from the same politically correct songsheet?

Anonymous said...

Whilst I realise that it has been mentioned several times on this site and that his speech made in Birmingham in April 1968 referred at the time to dependants of immigrants, isn't this a similar situation at present?

slightly alter the speach on www.sterlingtimes.co.uk/powell_press.htm
then click on text of powell speech.

yes I have concerns for my children and grand children for the future.

CS

Anonymous said...

Hmm the Pope repeats some obscure criticism of islam from the Middle Ages and the muslim world erupts. What is it with these people? In the West an "artist" places a crucifix in a jar of his urine. Did the Methodists start burning down art galleries?
These people have a medieval mindset and zero tolerance of criticism. They are I would argue not beneficial to our society. My view is if you don't like our Western lifestyle and values then **** off and live in a third world hell hole. I think the way things are heading we will end up in Britain as Mark Steyn put it "Like Somalia with fish and chip shops" thanks to the lunatic immigration policies adopted here and in Europe.

One Voice In Thanet said...

I am greatly surprised that you have allowed the comment from Anonymous 117. Apart from the fact that it has nothing to do with this strand, it is a gratuitous and derogatory attack on a local councillor. You have said before that this sort of comment is not what you are prepared to have on this blog. Why publish this?

DrMoores said...

My apologies 4:16pm and quite correct. I batch processed several comments in a rush before going out and the content of the one you refer to escaped me. Thank you for drawing my attention to its breach of the rules in regard to personal comments. It has been deleted.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right 3.55. I am sick of the whole business. I don't see ANY Christians burning down mosques or effigies of Islamic figures and I don't see much news time given to the Churches destroyed and priests murdered in Pakistan and Sudan etc. Don't they count?
IF a religion is real truth then no matter how you approach it , it is truth. Nothing can damage it and it stands the test of time, reason and QUESTIONING. It certainly doesn't need violence to survive.
If it cannot tolerate anything then what is it?
The more violence Muslims show over being called violent, just proves the point and plays into the hands of their critics.
Enough said.

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that the history of Islam was one conceived with the sword and prosletysed by the sword. The extreme end of any religious group has a fanaticism that has often led to violence and we see that today in the Moslem world. We must remember that the vast majority of Moslems throughout the world are not extremist and regard the fanatics with as much concern as we do. The Pope's comments should be read and understood in context and I for one feel slightly uneasy when the radical moslem fringe start burning effigies of His Holiness. Sunni and Shias are behaving with utter beastliness to each other in Iraq and we have had recent anti-Christian intolerance and persecution by moslem extremists in Sudan, Indonesia and Pakistan. My perspective is that organised Religion is a scourge of mankind.

Anonymous said...

anon again!

It just goes to show, you can't talk about the Mulsem without upsetting them... so why bother...

tony flaig said...

Its all becoming clear to me, here in the united kingdom we are victims of Christainophobia chiefly emanating from vocal groups such as the Muslim Council of Londonistan, The mickey mouse muslim parliment of Great Britain and all these worthy groups who are so ready to tread on western values.

I have always shown respect for islam but not any more, the community is it, seems all take, so really its upto Muslims to decide whether they want to live in freedom in the west or suck up to the stone age leaders of the talaban or the corrupt regimes of Saudi etc. When I hear one of these much respected Muslim political groups condemn terrorist sympathisers or speak of behalf of the oppressed in their own communities or even support the values of Great Britain the I will revert to having some respect.

A few weeks ago I was infuriated when a senior muslm police officer, went on record to claim that due to passenger profiling there was now a crime of being a young single male asian, if that wasn't a incitement to racial hatred I don't know what is, until the terrorist attacks started five years ago I had never questioned Islam or any other religion. This is still a tolerant society but how much more of the gimme gimme approach from the muslim community do we have to take. A final point on whether this country is racist or tolerant here is something to consider polygamy is illegal in the UK and exactly how many muslims men have been in court for such immoral arrangements.

tony flaig said...

We are victims of Christianophobia, prior to 911 I never had any opinion of any strength concerning Islam, but over the last five years, there seems to be an increasing intolerance of Western values from the Muslim community.

It seems that the abuse is all one way, the United Kingdom is a tolerant society, and over the years has welcomed hundreds of thousands of follows of Islam, this country has provided homes, jobs, health, security, Education.

In the last 12 months there has been an endless stream of criticism of the West from beneficiaries of our society, be it comedy or theological debate there is a nasty strand of intolerance which can be categorised as Christianophobia.

This abuse of British society seems to be reaching a crescendo, recently a senior Muslim police officer accused this country of having a new law of being young male and Asian (this in itself is a racially provocative statement), in reference to the passenger profiling, well unfortunately it just so happened that all the recent arrests of would be hijackers were young Muslim men (not necessarily Asian), this is a tolerant society, and this police officer might be aware that polygamy is illegal in Britain but frequently practised within the Muslim community and yet because we're tolerant as a society we ignore Muslim practices although in the West these are generally considered immoral.

I cannot see why the Muslim community doesn't just get on with there own affairs, support the country many have chosen to live in

tony flaig said...

I did not realise you had, comment approval thingy on, so you now have three comments (including this one) to choose from or not, you may publish all or none as you see fit.

In summary my feelings are that Britain, as well as, some other European states are suffering a barrage hostile protests from the Muslim community whom have chosen to live and benefit by doing so in the West, but seem to be suffering inexplicably from Christianophobia! Thank God I'm an atheist!

Anonymous said...

Does religion depend on reason?
I was of the opinion that it depended on faith.
Surely the two are mutually exclusive?

Dane Valley Ted said...

I like to research before I make a comment and I came across this at
http://www.omsakthi.org/religions.html
I personally think that based on this and other writings that The Pope was right to make comments about a religion which is fundamentally the same as his.

I am not religious in any way,shape or form and will never put down something I have not tried.
A little more thought on all sides
would alleviate a lot of the misunderstandings.But the extremists within all religions will always find a way to bend things to their own advantage.

Islam - 622 CE

Islam was founded in 622 CE by Muhammad the Prophet, in Makkah (also spelled Mecca). Though it is the youngest of the world's great religions, Muslims do not view it as a new religion. They belief that it is the same faith taught by the prophets, Abraham, David, Moses and Jesus. The role of Muhammad as the last prophet was to formalize and clarify the faith and purify it by removing ideas which were added in error. The two sacred texts of Islam are the Qur'an, which are the words of Allah 'the One True God' as given to Muhammad, and the Hadith, which is a collection of Muhammad's sayings. The duties of all Muslims are known as the Five Pillars of Islam and are:

Recite the shahadah at least once.
Perform the salat (prayer) 5 times a day while facing the Kaaba in Makkah.
Donate regularly to charity via the zakat, a 2.5% charity tax, and through additional donations to the needy.
Fast during the month of Ramadan, the month that Muhammad received the Qur'an from Allah.
Make pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in life, if economically and physically possible.
Muslims follow a strict monotheism with one creator who is just, omnipotent and merciful. They also believe in Satan who drives people to sin, and that all unbelievers and sinners will spend eternity in Hell. Muslims who sincerely repent and submit to God will return to a state of sinlessness and go to Paradise after death. Alcohol, drugs, and gambling should be avoided and they reject racism. They respect the earlier prophets, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, but regard the concept of the divinity of Jesus as blasphemous and do not believe that he was executed on the cross.







* The dates are given in BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era). These years correspond to the same dates in BC and AD but by defining the current period as the "Common Era" the nomenclature attempts to treat all religions and beliefs as equal.

DrMoores said...

If it was kept as simple as this then, like the Ten Commandments, it would be easy. But then man gets in the way, interpreting what the prophet(s) once said to suit a particular agenda.

Anonymous said...

Dane Valley Ted you need to do some more research. What about Jizya the tax on Jews and Christians? Or how about this example?

"Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies or Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know" Quran 8:60

or this gem

"Women are inferior to men, and must be ruled by them; men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other" Quran 4:34

Shall I go on? Islam means submission. You need to read the whole story not the expurgated version.

Dane Valley Ted said...

Anon 4:20

The question asked was-
"Is Islam above any criticism? Was the Pope wrong to use the quote he did or are both wrong? What do you think?"

The point I was making was about The Pope's comments, and that as both religions share the same roots he was entitled to voice his opinion.
We all know the Muslim religion has taken a vastly different path from
Christianity,But that was not the Question,I have looked in greater depth,but I thought that the passages
I put in my first comment were the most pertinent to the question asked.

DrMoores said...

As the Times states it, The Pope’s actual quotation is not just a medieval point of view. It is a common modern view; even if it seldom reaches print; it can certainly be found on the internet. “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and then you shall find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Is it true that the Koran contains such a command, and has it influenced modern terrorists? The answers, unfortunately, are “yes” and “yes”.

The so-called Sword Verse from Chapter 9 must have been in the emperor’s mind: “So when the sacred months have passed away, Then slay the idolaters wherever you find them.

“And take them captive and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in every ambush.”

This does shock many Muslims: extremists are angered by the implied criticism of those who quote it, while moderates who cannot disavow the terms of the Koran prefer more evasive interpretations. The shock it creates shows the importance of the doctrine.

James Maskell said...

A demonstration outside Westminster Cathedral with protestors bearing placards saying things like "Jesus will rise the sword of Islam", "Trinity of Evil, Pope go to Hell", "Islam will conquer Rome" and "Jesus is the slave of Islam". The Pope go to Hell picture was phtoographed covering the face of a 7-year old girl at the front of the demonstration.

http://catholiclondoner.blogspot.com/2006/09/very-rushed-post.html

This is exactly what I was talking about earlier. A Christian makes a perfectly justified comment quoted from centuries ago and Muslims kill a woman, burn down churches and protest outside Westminster Cathedral. We just have to take it.

Anonymous said...

DVT you make a fair point but the problem still remains of Islamic intolerance of criticism. Let's say hypothetically I go into Canterbury Cathedrel with a copy of the King James Bible and shout out. "This is rubbish" and tear it up. No doubt there would be a murmer of protest. Try doing the same with a copy of the koran in a mosque and see where it gets you. Personally I think our toleration of their intolerance is intolerable!

Anonymous said...

James, has the Metropolitan Police taken steps to arrest anyone involved with those comments as they are clearly incitement to religious hatred? Is that not an offence in this country. A Celtic player is fined for making the Sign of the Cross at Rangers v Celtic match this February and such comments are not acted on ?

One Voice In Thanet said...

There are "extremists" in most if not all religions, though few will go as far as the more radical thinkers in the world of Islam.

I am an atheist. But I have always said that whilst not subscribing to any religion, I respect those who do. I have to say that this respect has diminished over the years.

What I fail to understand, particularly, is why those who subscribe to a faith feel so strongly when it is criticised. Surely, if their particular faith is so strong, hostile, adverse, critical comment should not be seen as "undermining" or "threatening". They should be able to rise above it, perhaps challenging those who have advanced the criticism, but no more. Yet we have seen the christian right mounting street protests against the staging of Jerry Springer The Opera, and staging street protests at Gay Pride events. We have seen the christian mainstream objecting to a shop selling witchcraft and related items in Canterbury. We have seen Sikhs protesting at the staging of a play in Birmingham. And we have seen Muslims staging violent protests - and worse - against cartoons depicting their prophet, and now remarks made by the Pope.

Why?

Dane Valley Ted said...

I agree

James Maskell said...

As I understand it there were supposedly 100 police officers at the scene but they didnt want any trouble by arresting people...yes, even they seem intimidated. There were some particularly angry protestors there you can see from the photos who the police were looking at. Nothing in terms of arrests though, I dont think.

As for the Celtic player, what the hell was going on there? The player is Polish. Yes, it was an Old Firm match but it was a ridiculous and stupid action to punish him for making a peaceful religious gesture, which almost certainly wasnt made in order to incide any form of hatred or trouble. Protestant or Catholic, ultimately they are both Christian faiths...

Theres no balance in this...

Anonymous said...

Given that the most fundamental aspect of Humanity is self preservation (what else could it be?), is it any surprise that 'Human nature' lends us towards destroying anything that seems like a threat to our lives or the way we live them?
As far as I can see, there are only two answers. Either eradicate everyone that differs in their beliefs, outlook and physical attributes or incorporate them into one culture.
England seems to be becoming a good example of the latter.
Is there another choice?
May the best culture win, perhaps!

Anonymous said...

Better' Red than dead 'were my thoughts during the Cold War and now 8.35am you have got me thinking. With the decline of Christian observance in the UK and the way Spain has secularised so rapidly from a Catholic country, you might have a point. I'm now off to learn arabic to study the Koran and I'll see you at the Margate Mosque soon. If you can't beat them, join them.