Pope Benedict XVI insults Islam
Speaking at the Regensburg University in Germany this week, Pope Benedict quoted from the Byzantine Emperor - Manuel II Paleologus.
"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the Pope said.
"He said, I quote: 'Show me just what Mohammed 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."'
Although the Pope said he didn’t intend to insult Muslims, Reverend Robert Taft, a specialist in Islamic affairs at Rome's Pontifical Oriental Institute, said it was unlikely that the pope miscalculated how some Muslims would receive his speech.
Quoting Manuel II Paleologus was by no means an unintentional error.
Manuel II Paleologus was a 14th century Byzantine emperor who was no stranger to war. He ruled at time when the Ottoman State had conquered most of the Byzantine provinces and was at war with Muslims for most of his life.
The Pope conveniently left out the fact that the Catholic Church launched a fourth crusade only 200 years prior to Manuel II reign, resulting in the crusaders ransacking Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. The crusades are a clear example of the relationship between violence and faith, the main theme of the Pope’s speech, yet instead he chose to focus on Islam.
Quoting from Manuel II is equivalent to quoting Ariel Sharon or George Bush on Islam. In no way can this be described as intellectual debate.
Muslims are all for intellectual debate. Unfortunately, when it comes to Islam critics prefer to launch cheap insults whether in the form of cartoons, speeches or offensive terminology. Terms such as terrorist, fascist, violent and evil are all becoming synonymous with Islam thanks to the American campaign to suppress Islam otherwise known as the ‘war on terror’.
In post-renaissance Europe, the Caliphate was severely declined and intellectually weak. The intellectual onslaught from Europe lead many of the Caliphate's ruling elite to become infatuated with the western culture. Eventually this resulted in the destruction of the Caliphate in 1924. This is similar to Communism’s decline and eventual destruction after America won the cold war. The cold war wasn’t won militarily but through the power of ideas.
After Communism ceased to be a threat, America and Europe turned their attentions to Islam and tried to do the same as they did with Communism. This is where their problems started.
Islam, unlike Communism did not contradict human nature by denying God and did not contain intellectually weak ideas such as dialectics. Instead Islam was based on an intellectual creed with ideas that people of all levels of understanding could easily grasp. The only problem was that many Muslims were unaware of the true power and potential of their beliefs.
America’s ‘war on terror’ which Europe also bought in to, exposed the western culture once and for all.
Torture, rape and murdering of innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan exposed the fallacy of human rights.
Imprisonment without trial and lowering the burden of proof for terror suspects exposed their rule of law.
Drawing insulting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) in the name of free speech, whilst banning Muslims and Islamic groups from speaking out in support of their brothers resisting occupation, exposed the lie of freedom of expression.
Nowadays, Muslims and many non-Muslims are rejecting the western culture and turning towards Islam. France exposed its complete failure in convincing Muslim women of the superiority of its ideas when it banned the hijab. Banning hijab, closing down schools and mosques and imprisoning people for their political thoughts is the sign of an intellectually weak government not a strong one.
Those living in the Caliphate can express their political opinions and account the government without fear of punishment. The Caliphate welcomes intellectual debate through its media outlets internally within the state and internationally with other nations. In fact, this forms the cornerstone of the Caliphate’s foreign policy where it attempts to spread its values to other nations.
Contrary to what the Pope said, Islam was not spread by the sword, even though the Caliphate is an expansionist state that aims to spread its values beyond its borders.
The non-Muslims (dhimmi) living in the lands conquered by the Caliphate were not forced to leave their beliefs. They were not obliged to adopt any the values of the host society. The only requirement of the dhimmi was to obey the law of the land and pay their taxes.
The speed at which Islam spread in the first century after its inception is unparalleled in history. This could not have occurred through military campaigns alone, or through forced conversions in the lands that it conquered. What in fact happened was that as Islam spread to new lands, the inhabitants of those lands adopted the Islamic ideology as their own, and then they themselves carried Islam further. The Ottomans who spread Islam to Europe were not Arabs but Turkish nomads from Central Asia.