Monday, September 18, 2006

Muslims clash with the Pope

At the risk of bringing a fatwah down on my head, is it impolite to point out that you shouldn't demonstrate against someone saying your religion was founded on violence by, oh, killing someone?

A Catholic nun was killed in Somalia in response to Pope Benedict's speech last week stating that early Muslims spread Islam through violence. There have been a number of protests throughout the world against the Pope's statements. That's fine, it's part of freedom of speech. However someone shot a nun in large part because of what the Pope said, and churches in the West Bank have been torched as part of the protest. The secretary-general of the Turkish HUKUK-DER law association asked the Justice Ministry to arrest the Pope when he arrives in Turkey for a visit in November, the first time a pope visited a Muslim nation. A couple of the charges are obstruction of freedom of belief, encouraging discrimination based on religion, and inciting religious hatred.

Irony is apparently dead.

On the other side, the Pope said that his statements were not personal beliefs but from a medieval text. If that's the case, why did he choose those remarks? According to an article in The Scotsman, part of the problem lies with the demotion of a British archbishop.

Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald was the head of "inter-religious dialogue" and the Pope's top expert on Islamic affairs. He was demoted to position of papal nuncio in Cairo. No one replaced the archbishop in is "inter-religious dialogue" post. It's been suggested that if Fitzgerald had been left there, the text of the speech would never had included the inflammatory statement.

Al Quaida has apparently said that the violence will continue until the West converts to Islam. Bill Maher accidentally converted to Islam on his show on September 1, 2006. This is pretty funny stuff. Here is the clip on YouTube (watch it all, but the conversion jokes start at about the 1 minute 50 second point:

One of my favourite lines, "And the best part, nothing that really matters to you will be different. It's not like we're asking you to change your e-mail address. We'd be Muslims in name only, instead of what Americans are now: Christians in name only."

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