Thursday, September 21, 2006

Christians with backbone assert themselves

Some excerpts from the Washington Times:
Tough-talking pope has history with Muslims, refuses to give in

..."challenging Islam is not Benedict's priority," says David Gibson, author of the just-released book "The Rule of Benedict." "He doesn't want to see this as a debate between equals. There's no theological parity between the two. He's not there to compromise on that.

"One of the reasons he was elected last year was the cardinals felt he'd be much more confrontational with Islam. Benedict has voiced real doubts about Islam's ability to reform itself."

Benedict has studied Islam extensively and, in a 1997 interview with German journalist Peter Seewald, dealt generously with the religion.

"There is a noble Islam, embodied, for example, by the King of Morocco, and there is also the extremist, terrorist Islam, which, again, one must not identify with Islam as a whole, which would do it an injustice," the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said.

Still, he added, Islam does not fit in with Western civilization.

"Islam has a total organization of life that is completely different from ours; it embraces simply everything," he said. "There is a very marked subordination of woman to man; there is a very tightly knit criminal law, indeed, a law regulating all areas of life, that is opposed to our modern ideas about society. One has to have a clear understanding that it is not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of a pluralistic society."

He has refused to alter his conviction that Islam's propensity to live by the power of the sword must be moderated...

"Certainly, it has elements that favor peace, as it has other elements," he told Italian journalists in July 2005. "We always have to seek to find the best elements that help."

..."We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other's identity," he added. "The defense of religious freedom, in this sense, is a permanent imperative, and respect for minorities is a clear sign of true civilization." ...

"He feels that if we have dialogue, we need to talk about things," Mr. Allen said of the pope, "and not just be nice to each other. When he said on Sunday that he wants a 'frank and sincere dialogue,' he meant that we have to put actual issues on the table.

"The great challenge is if he can find the vocabulary to raise these issues. And can he find a conversation partner? Are there credible forces within Islam who can engage in a discussion based on reason?"

The pope is obviously a very reasonable, civilized man. A gentleman and a scholar, not a religious savage.

The former Archbiship of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, also supports the pope:

Carey backs Pope and issues warning on 'violent' Islam
THE former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton has issued his own challenge to “violent” Islam in a lecture in which he defends the Pope’s “extraordinarily effective and lucid” speech.

Lord Carey said that Muslims must address “with great urgency” their religion’s association with violence. He made it clear that he believed the “clash of civilisations” endangering the world was not between Islamist extremists and the West, but with Islam as a whole.

“We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times,” he said. “There will be no significant material and economic progress [in Muslim communities] until the Muslim mind is allowed to challenge the status quo of Muslim conventions and even their most cherished shibboleths.” ...

Yep! Islam, as a whole, has problems...
...Lord Carey, who as Archbishop of Canterbury became a pioneer in Christian-Muslim dialogue, himself quoted a contemporary political scientist, Samuel Huntington, who has said the world is witnessing a “clash of civilisations”.

Arguing that Huntington’s thesis has some “validity”, Lord Carey quoted him as saying: “Islam’s borders are bloody and so are its innards. The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power.”

Lord Carey went on to argue that a “deep-seated Westophobia” has developed in recent years in the Muslim world. ...

Carey explains that a large part of this "Westophobia" is based on Muslim outrage of the “moral relativism of the West”. Like the Pope, he believes reason and religious faith can be compatible, and a counter-balance to the weaknesses of secularism alone.

The compatibility of reason and religious faith is a topic that, IMO, many in the Muslim world need to learn more about.

Related links:

Jihad Enablers
...Whether it's the pope's comments or some Danish cartoons, self-appointed spokesmen for the Islamic street say, "You have offended a billion Muslims," which really means, "There are so many of us, you should watch out." And if you didn't get the message, just look around for the burning embassies and murdered infidels. They're not hard to find.

In response, the West apologizes and apologizes. Radical Muslims, who are not stupid, take note and become emboldened by these displays of weakness and capitulation. And the next time, they demand two pounds of flesh. Meanwhile, the entire global conversation starts from the assumption that the West is doing something wrong by tolerating freedom of speech, among other things...

When we are told that supporting freedom of speech is a bad thing, you have to look closely at who is saying it, and why. And then exercise your own freedom of speech (while you still have it) and put them in their place.

Top Sydney priest backs Pope; Syrians protest Islam comments
...Pell backed the pope's speech, telling Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio the pontiff should be allowed to speak without fearing that he would face the threat of violence.

He said some Australian Muslim leaders who had criticized the pope's remarks were being unhelpful because they avoided the issue of violence committed by some Muslims.

"Our major priority must be to maintain peace and harmony within the Australian community, but no lasting achievements can be grounded in fantasies and evasions."

Pell recognized contributions made by moderate Muslims, but added "evil acts done falsely in the name of Islam around the world need to be addressed, not swept under the carpet." ...

Amen! I'm tired of being told we have to worry about offending rioters and murderers.

The Church – Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?
...According to Islamic law, Christians and Jews (not other religious groups) can live in an area dominated by Muslims, but only if they accept their status as second-rate citizens, dhimmis. This implies many restrictions, such as never trying to convert or preach to Muslims, never to have a relationship with a Muslim woman and never to say anything insulting about Islam or Muhammad. If even one single person breaches any of these conditions, the entire dhimmi community will be punished, and Jihad resumes. Notice that while Muslims, following each case of Islamic terrorism, are quick to say that not all Muslims should be punished for the actions of a few, this is precisely what sharia prescribes for non-Muslims...

...Several recent incidents have demonstrated that Muslims are now trying to apply these dhimmi rules to the entire Western world. The most important one was the burning of churches and embassies triggered by the Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad. This was, down to the last comma, exactly the way Muslims would treat the persecuted non-Muslims in their own countries. The cartoon Jihad indicated that Muslims now felt strong enough to apply sharia rules to Denmark, and by extension NATO. Hardly anybody in the mainstream Western media made any attempts to explain this to the public...

The Muslims haven't changed since the 7th century. What has changed, is our growing weakness and lack of resolve, and Jihadist Muslims are simply responding to that.

Fjordman's article also discusses how the churches in the West contribute to these problems, and much more. A great read.

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