Tuesday, September 26, 2006

On ‘Islam is a violent faith’
Much here is true, especially about the causes of Muslim resentment today (forget the ‘they hate our freedoms’ rubbish and 9/11 wasn’t unprovoked), except:

• Note to Karen Armstrong: Muhammad is not the Prophet.
• The Byzantine* Emperor Manuel II Palæologus, now famously quoted by the Pope, had every reason to be ‘Islamophobic’ as they were out to get him. So what happened after the eighth century that turned Muslims against Christians and Jews? The First Crusade wasn’t until 1095.
• The Holy Father didn’t do anything wrong — he was speaking as a Christian (what cheek!) and his critics either didn’t read or don’t understand an academic citation.
• Some of them want to push recent attempts at charity (this business of apologising to the secular world for every real or imagined offence, which Timothy Rivera alludes to here) further to repudiate Christianity.

From old sparring partner Fr Jake.

*Pedantry: The Byzantines never called themselves that. They were renamed centuries later, I think in the 1800s, by Western historians to deny that they were the Roman Empire, which they were and called themselves (Rhomaioi, Romans). To this day as Samer al-Batal, one of the Rum himself, can tell you, Arab Christians of this tradition (Orthodox and Melkite) are called that: ‘Roman people’. And the anti-intellectualism the Pope is criticising as part of his praise of the university is really against this Christianised Roman culture. Reject it — really the same as rejecting the Catholica — and you end up with both Bob Jones and Jack Spong. Or a more obnoxious version of Wahabbi Saudi Arabia. A ‘Reformation’ of Islam would do the latter.

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