"Pope Benedict's Comments Were Unwise and Provocative, But the Best Course for Muslims is to Turn the Other Cheek" by Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah

September 19, 2006

Source: Muslim Wake Up!


On September 19, 2006 Muslim Wake Up! published a commentary by Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah, "It's ironic that while more than 1,000 delegates met at a congress in Montreal called World's Religions After September 11, where they discussed initiatives aimed at building greater understanding among followers of all faiths, halfway across the globe Pope Benedict XVI was making a speech that would have the opposite effect. Now, despite his apology, the inflamed responses to his remarks continue worldwide. Like all Muslims, we too felt deep anguish as once more our faith had been ridiculed by no less a figure than the leader of the world's 1 billion Catholics. In fairness to him, the Pope himself did not say anything negative about Islam, but was quoting the 14th-century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus, who said: 'Show me just what Muhammad 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.' On Sunday, the Pope apologized in person for causing offence, saying the medieval text he had quoted did not in any way express his opinion. But the damage had been done. Extremists pounced on the opportunity, burning churches in the Palestinian territories, shooting dead a 60-year-old nun in Somalia and uttering inflammatory rhetoric that has set back Muslim-Christian relations. We were more disappointed than angry at Pope Benedict. After all, the Pope is not just any ordinary priest. He is a religious icon, and what he says has clout. What was he thinking when he uttered those words?"