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September 16, 2006



So the Pope's apology hasn't been declared to be good enough. What kind of apology would the Muslim brotherhood and others accept?

the aardvark

Honestly, I doubt they really want an apology right now - they want a controversy which will be good for a few weeks. An apology which is clear enough to satisfy the average Muslim might take the wind out of their sails, though, whether they really want one or not.

Robert Stevens

Benedict assails positivism. Sociologists and scientists demand apology. Warn of civilizational clash between faith and reason.

Vive Auguste Comte, Vive!

No Preference

So the Pope's apology hasn't been declared to be good enough.

The Pope has not apologized. An intermediary says that he "sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive". That's a classic avoidance of a real apology.


The guy's infallibile, it's gonna be hard for him to give much better than that in the apology department. He could, however, easily do a lot to clarrify his own view of the quote he chose to take from the byzantine emperor, assuming that he doesn't endorse it. This is far from clear in his speech.

Ghurab al-Bain

Despite the ill-advised nature of the Pope's comments, it is rather ironic: he says that Islam is prone to violence (which is a grotesque simplification) and irrationality, and some Muslims go and burn and open fire on seven churches in Palestine (and some of them are not even Catholic churches). I agree fully with AA's comments on the folly of these comments, but it does underscore the need for greater introspection and self-criticism among Muslims - there is plenty to criticize within the Islamic tradition but the Pope is absolutely the wrong person to do so.

No Preference

some Muslims go and burn and open fire on seven churches in Palestine

The operative word here is "some". BTW, are you Muslim?

No Longer at Ease >>  Muslim Public Opinion Grows in Strength

[...]The Muslim reaction (public, media and leadership) highlights a deeper change in public action in the Muslim world. The public is increasingly believing in their ability to bring about change and force their governments to act [...]


The Pope has not apologized.

He has now - earlier today - or at least has come as close as he is going to. He spoke in person and said that Manuel II's views did not represent his own. Ideally, that should be the end of it, though of course it isn't.

The public is increasingly believing in their ability to bring about change and force their governments to act

I don't see the reactions as coming from a position of strength, but rather one from a position of weakness. A comment on the Jordanian blog Black Iris, put it perfectly when it talked about this being another "cartoon pinata" that people were going to hit because they couldn't hit anything else.

Michel Monette

Speaking about violence, Christians has been at least as violents as Muslims in the past. But all those controversies are becoming so ridiculus.

Oups. My apology to the Christians and the Muslims ;-)


Every religion has a violent history, the problem is he really should'nt have said what he did. Equally, i think the Arab world should officially condemn the violent reactions of the minority of fanatics, who've also been getting all the coverage inthe media.

Nur al-Cubicle

Ugh. This is bad. And possibly related.

Italian Alessandro Missir di Lusignano, the EU Representative in Morocco, and his wife were murdered in their home in Rabat.

Cheeseburger Brown

I think you nail it when you say this plays right into A.Q.'s long game.

The most disturbing offshoot of all this, as far as I am concerned, is it has suddenly legitimized broad-stroke Islamophobia for many in the West.

The idiot logic that runs, "Muslims have proven his point by responding with violence," is almost too sad to address, as it implicitly aids and bets the view that one billion members of the world's population have all the diversity of a cup of yogurt.

The world is right now so very willing to hate (and hate simply) that anyone who, by stupidity or strategy, enables that hatred is acting in a grossly irresponsible way.

Those who would critique the reactionary violence would also do well to recall the Hindus and Seikhs beaten by Americans in the days after 9/11 in misguided "retaliation" against brown people of all stripes.

Am I justifying the violence? No. I hate violent radicals as much as anyone. I am denying the charge that there are violently radical muslims in the world? No. However, encouraging the public to view Islam as a unified, centralized and/or dogmatically coherent faith across all the cultures it exists in is, in a word, sick.

It will be MUCH harder to make this hatred go away than it was to invite it.

Cheeseburger Brown

Anna in Portland (was Cairo)

I hope you saw Ali Eteraz' funny take on this point you have now made twice (hope it eventually sinks in)

No Preference

This article from The Guardian puts Pope Benedict's comments in the context of his own past statements:

'A man with little sympathy for other faiths'

Having just toured a Catholic publication's public comments section it seems that Cheeseburger Brown's assessment that the Pope "has suddenly legitimized broad-stroke Islamophobia for many in the West" may be all too true. The Pope's remarks were extraordinarily unfortunate.

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