I never ceased to be amazed by Muslims' abject inability to "get it".
The Pope, while delivering a lecture chose to quote a 14th century Byzantine emperor who said:
"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 quote, it appears to me, is one that is simply drenched in historical accuracy, though Benedict was very careful to not endorse the emperor's remarks. I think that Benedict gives Islam too much credit, and the Muslims, shall we say, doth protest too much.
To say that Mohammed was a "man of peace" is crude revisionism. Mohammed was a soldier and the spread of Islam over the centuries was less conversion than it was coersion. The simple fact is that there has been rivers of blood shed in the name of Islam. Certainly, there has been much blood shed in the name of many religions over the centuries. In the case of Islam, however, those rivers of blood still flow and that is what sets it apart in the modern world. This is something that Islam simply refuses to come to grips with and therein lies the problem.
But even that was not the point of Benedict's speech. His point was his belief in God's rejection of the shedding of blood in His name and the quote was used in the context of 14th century thought. Personally, I think that the Muslim reaction says much more about them than it does about Benedict XVI.
And the what is the Muslim reaction? Indignation, seething, anger and...maybe even violence!
But anger still swept across the Muslim world, with Pakistan's parliament uanimously adopting a resolution condemning the pope for making what it called "derogatory" comments about Islam, and seeking an apology from him.
"Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.
Examine last sentence once more: "Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence." That pretty much says it all, don't you think?
Ah yes. Islam, the religion not only of peace, but of tolerance as well (cue the chirping blubirds). And if anyone even so much as insinuates the contrary, these otherwise placid souls are compelled to carry out bombings, beheadings, dismemberment any any other number of barbaric acts.
Well, it seems that that old Byzantine emperor may well have been onto something. As for Benedict XVI, I think that I'm starting to like the guy!