Benedict XVI controversial remarks
During a speech on Tuesday at a German university, the Catholic pope “BENEDICT XVI” 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 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’.”
These quotes coming out of the head of the catholic church have raised anger and resent between an already angry 1.5 billion Muslims, and although the pope himself did not clearly say that he agreed with those quotations, the fact of him with his current position as leader of the catholic faith, recounted and used these quotations in a public speech, expresses his point of view on the subject.
Here are the exact words of the pope in the third paragraph of his speech:
“In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor (Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus) touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2: 256 reads: “There is no compulsion in religion”. According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels”, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: “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”. The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. “God”, he says, “is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”.
The pope’s statement discards the fact that surah 2: 256 which contains the Islamic law of: “There is no compulsion in religion” was in fact not one of the early Surahs as he claimed, actually it was one of the Verses that the prophet received in Al Medina, not in Mecca, it was not in the early phases of Islam when he was weak, rather a governing rule that came out when he was strong to regulate the spread of Islam and make it on the basis of Reasoning rather than by the sword…
He also forgot or chose to forget, that during the early spread of Islam, all the conquered provenances where given the freedom of joining Islam or continuing with there beliefs… following another Islamic Verses sayin: “You follow your own belief, and I will follow mine”.
The pope claimed that Muslims preached Holy war early on, in the beginning of Islam… he forgot that it was another pope (Pope Urban II) in 1095 who stood where he stands right now and preached a Holy War against the Muslim Infidels in the middle east… Islam was not the bringer of Holy War rather a victim of it!
He forgot that under Islam in Spain and North Africa the three religions of God (Judaism, Christianity & Islam) were able to live together in a cultural and spiritual renaissance…and when the crusaders took hold of Spain and Jerusalem the Jews & other non-catholic Christians fled to Islamic nations! Escaping the pogroms of the catholic church…
Should he be reminded of the Spanish Inquisition in 1492? Where 70,000 Jews were forced under fear of death to convert to Catholic Christianity while the rest of Spanish Jews (130,000) were expelled out of Spain after the death of some 13,000… same took place with the Muslims of Andalusia, and those Muslims and Jews converted were called Converse though the Catholics called them Marranos (Pigs)!
Should he be reminded of the continuous Pogroms & Inquisition of Jews and other non-catholic Christians throughout Europe all through the middle ages down to modern times of the Holocaust?
Or should he be reminded of the continuous blood shed between the Protestants and Catholics throughout Europe that haven’t in some places ended until this day? let alone what is taking place in Afghanistan, Iraq , Lebanon & Gaza ! during the last 5 years how many thousands of Muslims died under the name of “War on Terror”? can he recount that? or should the name be modified to “Holy War of Terror”?
Well I think he knows his history well enough, he just chose to discard it, so as to ride the global wave of Hate against Islam…
Now in normal days, I would urge all of you to take action against the Vatican, but since there is no peaceful action that can be taken, I instead urge self restraint let the leaders of Islamic faith take action, because his views express a personal one, and although that might be the way a lot of Europeans view Islam, that doesn’t reflect how all Christians feel… I can only remind you of what Coptic Pope Shenouda III said about the Vatican ’s leader statements:
Coptic pope’s criticism
In the first reaction from a top Christian leader, Coptic Pope Shenouda III, the head of Egypt ‘s Coptic Orthodox Church, said in remarks published on Saturday that “any remarks which offend Islam and Muslims are against the teachings of Christ”.
“Christianity and Christ’s teachings instruct us not to hurt others, either in their convictions or their ideas, or any of their symbols – religious symbols,” Shenouda was quoted as saying.
Already Muslim leaders of both Sunni and Shiite rites have called on public debates with the pope, although he is most likely not to respond; all the leaders of faith and governments have called upon a personal apology… which I think he’ll do…
Now his apology (though might seem in proportionate to what he said about Islam) will be a first step, meanwhile we have to hold debates and increase the cultural and religious dialogue between all three religions of God…
Although peaceful rallies and protests might speed up the reaction of our government and Al Azhar, we have to be very careful because violently protesting and attacking churches or our Christians brothers -like what happened in Palestine- will not solve anything, and will infact wrongly prove what he claimed… Violence is not the solution, and surely not the religious solution!