Monday, September 18, 2006

Scandal in Bavaria?

It looks like the diplomatic row sparked off by the Pope’s perceived assault on Islam will linger for some time. The knee-jerk reaction from Muslim fundamentalists was largely predictable. Burning effigies and mounting peaceful protests are one thing, but the latest disturbing developments, the murder of a nun in Somalia and vandalism of churches in the Middle East are sickening and a grim reminder of what a small minority of lunatics will do once to “defend” their religion. Italy is on high security alert and the Pope’s proposed visit to Turkey now looks to be in jeopardy.

Although Benedict XVI was not necessarily citing his own personal opinion when quoting the words of medieval Christian empire, his predecessor John Paul II (the first Pope to visit a mosque), although outspoken on pressing social issues such as contraception, abortion and euthanasia, would not have been so tactless and undiplomatic to make such a remark. In any civilised democracy all religions should be open to criticism. However, Will Hutton in the Observer hits the nail on the head when he says:

“They [Islamic leaders] can choose to ignore the pontiff, challenge him or demonstrate through reference to Islam's own teachings that he is wrong. Instead, they stress the enormous offence that has been given. There is no sense here of a commitment to pluralism or mutual tolerance.”

1 comment:

Lorainne said...

Although the Pope was tactless in making these remarks I fail to understand why some followers of Islam cannot just live and let live. I hardly think Christians would be causing violent demonstrations if the situation were reversed.