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September 25, 2006

Pope Benedict Demands Reciprocity - But About Those Muslim Apologies?

Topics: Faith
[In the extended post: Demands from the Muslim world for apologies from the Pope aside, isn't it about time we hear some serious apologies from the Muslim world for the hate, violence, murder, and intolerance on the part of their extremist coreligionists?]
Pope Benedict XVI met with envoys from several Muslim nations today, greeted them warmly, and emphasized the need for dialogue between the faiths. He did not offer another apology for his remarks at Regensburg two weeks ago, but he did remind the envoys that they have not fulfilled their responsibilities in ensuring freedom of religious practice for Christians, and called upon them to reject violence.

You'll find more commentary on the Popes meeting with Muslim envoys today, at Captain's Quarters.

Now that the Pope and Muslim leaders are working at "making nice" in Rome, does anyone really expect this to go anywhere? Does anyone really expect the Muslim world to vociferously demand an end to violence by Muslim extremists and an end to the concept of forced conversions? Does anyone expect the perpetual demonstrations of perpetual outrage to cease, that there will not be another and then another senseless explosion of outrage over another offense to "Muslim sensitivities"?

I think I can answer that for most of us - with a no to all of the above.

Such is the case when we continuously see and experience nothing less than a "clear pattern of violence and extremism" from so much of the Muslim world and it's leaders. As Michael Coren wrote Saturday at TorontoSun.com., I think it's time for the Muslim world to be doing so serious apologizing:

It was said after the Holocaust by those who believed in freedom, decency and tolerance that, "We are all Jews now."

After the events of the past week it is now time for those who still believe in these virtues, irrespective of religion or race, to stand up and proudly announce, "We are all Catholics now."

Yes, we are all Catholics now. Catholic like the Holy Father who spoke scholarly and moderate words about Islam, dialogue and the error of spreading religion by force.

Words for which there was never any need to apologize. Nor did he.

Pope Benedict merely said that he was sorry for any offence and pain that his comments may have caused.

We must now wait for someone to apologize for the churches that were firebombed in Palestine shortly after the Pope's speech and for Somali religious leader Abubukar Hassan Malin who urged Muslims to "hunt down" Benedict and kill him "on the spot."

Apologize for the abusive and threatening demonstrations, including calls for the Pope to be executed, that British Muslims organized outside Westminster Cathedral in London last Sunday, as families with children made their way to Mass.

Apologize for the Shura Council in Iraq, an umbrella of several Sunni groups, which stated after the Pope's comments that, "We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose the head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion or the sword."

Apologize for the Muslims attacks on Catholic priests in Turkey in the past year, including the murder of Fr. Andrea Santoro.

Apologize for those Muslim leaders who compared the Pope to Hitler and promised to kill him.

Apologize for the massive persecution of Christians in Egypt, including kidnappings, rape, murder and beatings.

Apologize for the churches in Pakistan and Iraq that have burnt to the ground, for the beheading of Christian schoolgirls in Indonesia and for the arrests of Muslims who wish to convert to Christianity.

Apologize for the sermons in some mosques that compare Jews to monkeys and pigs and call for the Jewish people to be slaughtered.

Apologize for those Muslim countries that make television dramas claiming Jews kill gentile babies so as to drink their blood.

Apologize for those Muslim leaders who declare that Spain and Portugal have to be "retaken" by Islam.

Apologize for the invasion on the Christian heartlands of North Africa and the Middle East hundreds of years ago, just as Pope John Paul apologized for crimes committed against Muslims and Islam during the Crusades, the European response to this expansion.

Apologize for the murder of three of the translators of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, for the murder of Dutch film director Theo Van Gogh and for the murder of Daniel Pearl.

Let me make it extremely clear that I do not blame all Muslims for what is done by some of their co-religionists in the name of Islam.

But when country after country and mob after mob behave thus, a certain pattern does seem to emerge.

I hope and pray that this violence and extremism does not represent Islam.

I hope there is room for genuine dialogue.

But, frankly, I am not optimistic about the possibility of having such an honest discussion now.

Like the rest of you, I'll be waiting with bated breath for Muslims to apologize for the violence and terror inflicted by their coreligionists in the name of Islam, Muhammed, and Allah.

For now, however, the Muslim world is, for the most part, "out voiced" by the extremists who are way too busy blaming every one else for their troubles and demanding apologies from others. Instead of self criticism and self discovery that could lead to meaningful and much needed reforms within Islam, much of the Muslim world criticizes the Holy Father over an intellectual discussion that went over most of their heads (they shouldn't feel too bad about this, however, since it went over most of the media's heads too). Which brings us to getting damned close to that "now or never" time for truly moderate progressive Muslims to demand along with the rest of us that Muslim violence must end, now and forever.

With this in mind, I share the sentiments expressed by Michael Coren in his piece: I hope and pray that this violence and extremism does not represent Islam.

If it does, and I have to admit that I'm begining to become a bit of a doubting Thomas in regard to the likelihood that it doesn't, than the Islam that moderate Muslims know and believe in may not exist. They can't both be right - either the extremists have it right or the moderates do. If the extremists are indeed wrong - then where are the Muslim apologies for their errant coreligionists, and the demands that they completely reject violent jihad, all forms of violence, and the concept of conversion by the sword?

Posted by Richard at September 25, 2006 8:14 AM



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