Sunday, September 17, 2006

The New York Times Crouches Down 
...and licks the hand that feeds it.

There is more than enough religious anger in the world. So it is particularly disturbing that Pope Benedict XVI has insulted Muslims, quoting a 14th-century description of Islam as “evil and inhuman.”

In the most provocative part of a speech this week on “faith and reason,” the pontiff recounted a conversation between an “erudite” Byzantine Christian emperor and a “learned” Muslim Persian circa 1391. The pope quoted the emperor saying, “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.”

Muslim leaders the world over have demanded apologies and threatened to recall their ambassadors from the Vatican, warning that the pope’s words dangerously reinforce a false and biased view of Islam. For many Muslims, holy war — jihad — is a spiritual struggle, and not a call to violence. And they denounce its perversion by extremists, who use jihad to justify murder and terrorism.

The New York Times editorial board is run by some truly, willfully ignorant people.

Despite the obligation of any professional journalist to put any subject's remarks and actions in an understandable and appropriate context, no attempt whatsoever is made to do so with regard to Pope Benedict.

Nor does the Times make any attempt to note that the reaction from Muslim leaders all over the world is not limited to recalling their ambassadors from the Vatican. Rather, in response to a percieved slander that Islam was spread by the sword and its followers prone to violence, some Muslim leaders have responded by calling, quite literally, for Pope Benedict to be hunted down and killed by the nearest Muslim.

The Muslim world, predictably, is demonstrating that even the worst possible readings, decontextualized, of the Pope's remarks, are rooted in more than a grain of truth. The Times cannot bring itself to recognize the obvious: If the Pope ever did say that Islam was a religion of violence, then Islam would immediately prove him right.

The irony, somehow, is totally lost on the New York Times. If you read this editorial, you wouldn't know that there has already been a series of church shootings at the hands of Muslims. You wouldn't know that a radical Muslim cleric had already called for the Pope's murder. You wouldn't know that this spat is simply the latest in a long litany of outrages over such trivialities as the publication of a series of cartoons in a Danish newspaper - an event that sparked rioting and deadly violence throughout the Arab world.

But despite these atrocities, despite the murders of filmmakers, despite the rioting over false reports of Koran flushing, despite the honor-killings, despite the practice of disfiguring women by pouring acid on their faces, despite the beheadings, and despite the cold-blooded murder of thousands of innocent civilians - targeted BECAUSE they were innocent - the Pope cannot call into question their ability to reason.

The New York Times is enabling the worst of radical Islamic rhetoric.

And poorly serving its ill-informed readers.

UPDATE: This is precious: It does a disservice to children to call the wild-eyed statements and deranged behavior of the past days childish

The author, Father Raymond de Souza, notes that Pope Benedict was specifically calling for dialogue between the Abrahamic faiths - but now, in light of the past few days, wonders if such a dialogue is even possible.

Splash, out


You can't really understand what the Pope is getting at without finding a decent biography of the guy he's quoting so here's one. Here's a man, a scholar, king, and heir to a grand tradition reduced to Ottoman vassal status and forced by the Sultan to go into the field to militarily campaign against the last Byzantine hold out in Asia Minor, Philadelphia (yes, biblical Philadelphia). This was a man who had been held as hostage for his family's good behavior in the Sultan's court for many years. When John V wanted to strenghten Constantinople's walls, the project was stopped at the threat of Manuel's being blinded. Whatever Manuel II Paleologos' statements on Islam were (and I have searched in vain for an english copy of 26 discourses with a persian), they were not done in ignorance of the realities of the muslim faith.
I, for one, along with the NY Times Op-Ed staff, welcome our new Islamic Insect Overlords...
Islam is decentralized like Protestanism. I notice that Jason doesn't bust a gut when Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell take Osama Bin Laden's side and declare that the 9/11 attacks were God's judgment on a reprobate America. Nor does he peep about the charming practice among Israel's border guards of routinely calling every Muslim who goes through the gates a "donkey."

You see, some bigotry is just fine with Jason and his amen chorus.
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