Monday, September 18, 2006

The hardest word

That Papal apology in full…

Not to worry – soon the EU will be able simply to sling him in gaol:

“[Muslims’] readiness to take offense is not yet terrorism--but it is a sign of the deep-down insecurity of the Muslim psyche in the modern world. In the presence of Islam, we all feel, you have to tread carefully, as though humoring a dangerous animal. The Koran must never be questioned; Islam must be described as a religion of peace… and jokes about the prophet are an absolute no-no. If religion comes up in conversation, best to slip quietly away, accompanying your departure with abject apologies for the Crusades. And in Europe this pussyfooting is now being transcribed into law, with "Islamophobia" already a crime in Belgium and movements across the continent to censor everything at which a Muslim might take offence, including articles like this one.”


His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, yesterday.

Best. Pope. Ever.

11 comments:

Desargues said...

Lat year I had dinner with Roger Scruton when he came to give a talk here on the East Coast. Then I saw why they ostracized him from academia in Britain. He's an intellectual I like. And he knows his wine.

Desargues said...

Dear God, Ivan, don't you have a family to take care of? What are you doing up posting things at this hour? Or are you en route to some soporific sales conference, stranded at the airport in Memphis and bored silly?

PI said...

What a catalyst you are Ivan. BTW it was 'masses of little grey cells'.
Last word and no return!

Ivan the Terrible said...

Family... family... Think I left one around here somewhere...

Thomas Pauli said...

Wouldn't it be a nice ceremony to hand over the key to Brussels to Ahwhatamadinedjad? This way even Germany could become an atomic power! Well, all the camel shit in the steets would be a nuisance, but our multicultis would get out of work, because there would be only one culture left, and that would be simply great!

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

This whole hooha illustrates several things about the current state of Islam:

Muslims have reacted to a papal comment citing the violence of their faith by killing a Catholic nun in Somalia, setting fire to churches and burning His Popiness in effigy. (By the way, whoever is knocking out these effigies is doing a terrible job; you can hardly see who's being burnt any more; it could be Bush, it oculd be the pope, it could be the crocodile-hunter).

The swift condemnation from moderate clerics which followed the Pope's remarks is not nearly as vociferous in condemning these crimes. I wonder how much of that is the media's under and over-reporting, but as it is, i haven't heard nearly enough outrage from the Muslim world about the death of that nun. This violent reaction to criticisms about violence inherent in their faith would be almost comical if people didn't have to lose their lives over it.

I couldn't say whether Islamic texts are any more or less disposed to violence than any other religion but, if current world events are to be regarded as a primer, Muslims are not doing a lot to dissuade the world, with its freshly interested gaze on their faith, that its first impression is a mistake.

I dislike the concept of hierarchical religions especially as the assumption is that the Pope speaks with one voice for Catholics. Islam is a faith, however, who could use a little unity of voice at the moment. As they have no strict hierarchy, regional grievances and violent tendencies can take a text and turn it into something quite diferent from what it is in the mosque 100 miles down the road. The structure of their faith, or lack of it, prevents we in the West getting a clear idea of what Islam is all about. Here is the chance for moderates to shout as loudly as they can in condemnation of what is happening to their religion but they are failing to take it. I guess they don't want to be beheaded for speaking out...

The Pope, for his part, should have known better to say such things at such an inflammatory time. He apologized, a bit disingenuously I thought, but nevertheless he apologized, underlining the difference between Western culture and Islam at the moment: the ability to adapt to changing circumstances; the confidence in itself to beable to make an apology.

I part ways with the Pope at a point though. Enlightened Western thought - which many find compatable with Christianity at least enough to prevent them murdering people - allows for, and demands even, a critical look at our human lives and experiences including religion. Islam, currently, seems incapable of doing that.

For, example, I, a Westerner, believe in God and that Jesus was a prophet and in the basic tenets of Christianity, humility, love, peace, charity. This does not preclude my ability to use the reason God gave us all to refute the idea that the bible is to be taken literally, or the Koran, or any other text man wrote down as the most expedient version for his purposes and times.

Islam, in its current practice, does not seem compatatable with democracy and rights for all, including the rights of women and children; these last ought to be redundant but aren't, sadly in too much of the Muslim world. I am happy to listen to anyone who disagrees with my points and can persuade me otherwise because at the moment I have pretty bleak outlook on Islam and would like to be able to change my mind on it.

I fear I'm being a bad mummy as my children are tugging at me to come and play so I'm off to do some colouring in. See, Uncle Vanya, this is why housewives need you. You stop my brain becoming peanut butter and jelly.

R. Sherman said...

If it weren't so serious the reaction to the Pope's comments, all of which are true BTW, would be hilarious.

Cheers.

Fat Sparrow said...

I think it's funny that those crazy Musselmen are trashing, shooting, and/or burning any Christian church they come across. They complain about Westerners not being able to tell Sunnis and Shi'ites apart, and yet they can't differentiate between RC and Greek Orthodox. Goodness me, what are the thugs of the world coming to?

Ivan the Terrible said...

Hi Thomas - I think Brussels had the handover pencilled in for 2012, so they wouldn't have to re-examine the CAP after all. But true to form, this would be the one thing the EU would achieve ahead of schedule.

Sam - happy to be the monkey bars for your mental acrobatics :)

Randall and Sparrow - as Roger points out, these Islamists are not big on irony...

poltroon said...

these Islamists are not big on irony...unless it's sharp and held at someone else's neck.

Cantemir said...

Sam,

Just curious: you say that you believe in God and that Jesus was a prophet. What is your religion?