Vance: who will defend the Pope?

David Vance is angered by the lack of any defence from anyone on last night’s Let’s Talk panel of the Pope Benedict’s controversial lecture.

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  • Yokel

    I’m sure some Moslems have been watching Northern Ireland because their reaction is exactly some people here when you say ANYTHING at all that they can twist to make it sound like they are somehow persecuted.

    Those Moslems are as useless as those people are here.

    I think the Cathlic church have concluded that they are not going to keep on saying sorry on this one and rightly so.

  • –I think the Cathlic church have concluded that they are not going to keep on saying sorry on this one and rightly so.–

    Any further apologies will be interpreted as weakness, as were the apologies issued before.

    And it is duly noted that the Pope said nothing that merited an apology.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    The Phantom,
    Firstly it doesn’t really matter whether I agree or disagree with what the Pope had to say. It doesn’t matter in the wider scheme of things.

    I will however point out something that became glaringly obvious to me. If the Reverend Doctor Ian Kyle Paisley had quoted a similar passage about the Islamic Prophet Muhammed, liberals and Roman Catholics, particularly in Ulster and the Irish Free State/Banana Republic, would have been quick to use the adjectives “intolerant”, “bigoted”, “narrow-minded”, “misguided” and “parochial”, to describe Papa Doc and his religious convictions. These same people are now saying the ex-Nazi Pope Benedict’s words were “taken out of context” – anyone else notice the blatant lack of consistency?

  • Muslims are now, officially, the most oppressed people ever! LOL

    The panel were gutless, the audience dhimmified, and I did feel Pope Benedict’s words were misrepresented. No need to say sorry, but Let’s Talk producers should be sorry for only allowing one view.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Word censored is “b1goted”…FREEDOM OF SPEECH!

  • Concerned Loyalist

    David,
    Do you agree I have a point though? Perhaps Pope Benedict’s words were taken out of context – nobody knows the thinking behind the speech other than himself, but do you honestly believe the same people who leapt to the Pontiff’s defence would have given Paisley or a Protestant clergyman the benefit of the doubt, in the same way as they have done for the Pope?

  • barcas

    If anyone needs to have another example of wacky Moslem “thinking”, try listening to the following broadcast this morning:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/ram/today4_abu_20060922.ram

  • CL

    One, the reference to “ex-Nazi” is a bit ludicrous, as are a number of the other things said.

    But putting those comments aside, the larger message was one of tolerance between and among religions, a rejection of violence.

    But as for the passage that was quoted? Its 100% true, and the recent reactions prove it to be true.

    Criticize the Catholic Church all you like my friend. Noone is coming after you if you do. But say any little thing about Islam, and people have a way of ending up dead.

    If Catholics or other Christians reacted in any similar fashion to the blood-curdling threats and insults issued from Muslim clerics every week, there would be nonstop violence everywhere. Now there’s a lack of consistency.

  • And I’d hardly compare Paisley’s rantings, esp of years past, with the Pope’s talk.

    Paisley would personally insult the Pope, and conducted parodies of the Mass, was totally in opposition to any interfaith dialogue with the “Whore of Bablylon” and all that.

    He’s become less bad with age, but he’s hardly been mistreated by anyone at any time.

  • Hurler on the Ditch

    CL,

    Actually opinion down here is 50:50. And most liberals would be pretty critical of the popes comments. Personally I thought the pope was an idiot for not realising what would happen if he used that quotation. As for the paisley comparisson I agree with phantom. Paisley has gone WAY further than the pope in the past. Anyway gotta get back to work… These bananas don’t get packed by themselves…..

  • joeCanuck

    You can’t defend the indefensible. Yes, the pope’s quotes were taken out of context, but if he didn’t understand that they would be, then he’s either devious or an imbecile.

  • Fer Fecks Sake

    Concerned Loyalist,

    Why do you insist on referring to the Republic of Ireland as the Irish Free State/Banana Republic?

    You just make yourself look infantile.

  • Templar Kinght

    Churches burned in the West Bank, a nun murdered in Somalia, Papal effiges being burned in the street, and plackards saying “Islam is a peaceful religion, those who say otherwise will be killed” or “The Pope must die” etc etc…. now whatever gave the Holy Father the idea that there was a relationship between Islam and violence?

    Personally, I dont think the Pope has anything to apologise for, if he did then he would only show weakness in the eyes of these heretics. It has been quite depressing that for so long there was only a weak meow from the Vatican, it’s nice to hear a somewhat mutted roar now and again.

    Get used to hearing the ‘angery’ Muslim voice, for it will only get louder, partly due to media agenda (ie Barbarian at the gates). Now, I wonder how many generations it will be before the UK is governed by Sharia Law, 2, may be 3 at most…

    Mohamed was a degenerate (of whom Chuck claims to be a descendent), the Q’uran an abomination, Muslims are heretics, and even the ‘mainstream’ Islamists haven’t hidden the fact they want to convert the west to Islam and Sharia Law. As for inter-faith dialogue, we can worry about that when we are looking over our shields at them…

  • Fanny

    Cornered Loyalist:

    Paisley IS “intolerant”, “####### [bígoted]”, “narrow-minded”, “misguided” and “parochial”– also in matters pertaining to religion. We hardly need to hear a fresh tirade from him to remind us of this.

    Let’s Talk seemed to me like a show rehearsed beforehand to avoid giving offence to anybody, Muslims especially.

    Bob McCartney was good though, if only on the rates issue.

  • Fanny

    Sorry, for “Cornered” read “Concerned.”

    What WAS I thinking? 🙂

  • Occasional Commentator

    Having read the whole lecture, and much analysis of it (including flawed analysis by some journalists who didn’t obviously bother reading) I have no doubt he had nothing to apologise for.

    Anyway, we shouldn’t pretend this is a Christianity versus Islam issue. Quite the opposite in fact. There are a small number of ignorant fools on various faiths and none who like stirring up trouble for their own agenda. And then there probably are genuine protestors who perhaps didn’t know English (or German) well enough to be able to understand the original speech. But there are many sensible people, Islamic and Christian and atheist (like me), who familiarised themselves with the facts first and see there is no problem – I’m not talking about forgiving and forgetting, but a complete realisation that there wasn’t even a problem.

    So we need to forget about the violence by some Muslims. It is in fact irrelevant, or at most a side issue. The Pope’s speech is the main issue, and everything else flows from that. We need to consider it first and on its own merits before considering the violence of some people.

    He made one passing reference to Islam in the whole lecture. The rest of the lecture was not directed in any way, subliminally or not, towards Islam. He made many references to other topics like evolution and modern science. For example, the success and utility was based on it being reasoned about and discussed in an open way – he’s saying Christian theology should continue to be open to analysis in every aspect.

    The subject of the speech was about faith and reason. That might seem like a pretty boring and waffly topic, but it’s not. He’s just trying to show that it is possible to argue through reason for a belief in religion. I’m reminded of my own parents thinking they would achieve something by dragging me to Mass every Sunday – I think the Pope is saying that’s a stupid idea. He’s calling on Catholics to actually engage in sensible discussion. Many religions and religious factions don’t see any point in using reason. They will convert by force, if not violence then simply by drowning out other ideas and dragging people to ceremonies. Now I must emphasise at this point that I’m not trying to argue about whether these are “nice” ways to spread religion. This is about a much more important question, it’s about the (morally neutral) question of why to believe in God – is it because you can put together a reasonable argument? And also it’s about the idea that your religion can’t be very correct if you fail to win converts through reason.

    Many theologists not only reason about religion but even about the mind of God, and try to speculate on what God might be thinking.
    On the other hand, many religions don’t consider any aspect of religion, or even God’s state of mind, to be open to any sort of analysis. They simply believe in blind faith. But that is not a desirable opinion, from my point of view. Whether it leads to violence, or simply to wilful ignorance, it’s something that should be challenged through dialogue. In fact, even if people were all happy believing something, and weren’t violent, but without good reasons for their faith it should be challenged.

    So, all in all, it was an interesting and well written lecture on the fact that Christian faiths are quite likely to involve analysis and debate not just of texts but of the fundamentals of faith and even the mind of God. He never said anything about violence per se, it was simply an example about the lack of thought and analysis from some religious people. My parents should have tried to find good reasons for me to believe in God, and violence is similarly lacking in intellectual foundation.

  • Fanny

    A fair analysis, Occasional Commentator.

    The pope’s reading was timely. We’re on the cusp of extraordinary breakthroughs in science (some might argue that we always are). Benedict was positing that belief can be subject to reasoned analysis in much the same way as can science.

    To the atheist and agnostic this may seem ludicrous. Yet the current scientific models of the universe must seem equally ludicrous to the layperson.

    I won’t bore you with the details. Which is my shrewd way of saying that I don’t understand them either.

  • Rory

    “Personally I thought the pope was an idiot”
    Hurler on the Ditch

    “he’s either devious or an imbecile.”
    joeCanuck

    The above comments relate to measured and well researched and debated comments, referring to a 14th century discourse between a Muslim scholar and a Christian emperor, made by the leading Christian theologian of our time to a conference of scientists, as an example of historical thinking on the contradiction between faith in a unitary deity and the use of violence to promote such faith.

  • paddyjoe

    rory. well said, i think????

  • Fanny

    Rory, thank you for putting some of the more intemperate commentary in its proper perspective.

  • John East Belfast

    Everyone is falling over themselves about whether Islam has been offended or not.

    However this is not a passive reaction by these people but a proactive aggressive one.

    The fanatics have an intolerant and arrogant mindset that uses violence and oppression to exert control – they should be told to get lost.

    They neither value the ability of others to think differently nor even voice an alternative opinion.

    So what if they believe Mophammed spoke from God and others do not – we are now in a situation in our own country where you cannot publicly voice the latter.

    It is a well accepted Christian & Islamic teaching that both are opposing doctrines. Are we not allowed to voice what those differences are now ?

    Pandering to them will only encourage them.

    There needs to be a collective approach by everyone who values freedom of speech and thought to tell these people that their right to believe and practice what they believe is valued but equally valued is the right of others to tell them to their face that they believe it to be wrong.

    If we give that up what kind of world are we passing onto our children ?

  • George

    OC,
    I actually feel I know what this is really all about after reading your post.

    Rory,
    even if I do feel I know what this is about, I’m saying any more after reading yours.

  • Brenda

    ‘So we need to forget about the violence by some muslums, it is in fact irrelevant’- OC

    Sure, just forget about it. I’m sure the dead nun could forget about it dead easy! After all she’s only a woman – so as the wise guys always say, forget about it.

  • Fanny

    “So what if they believe Mophammed spoke from God and others do not – we are now in a situation in our own country where you cannot publicly voice the latter.

    It is a well accepted Christian & Islamic teaching that both are opposing doctrines. Are we not allowed to voice what those differences are now ?”

    Is Slugger public? If so, let me hereby publicly voice my opinion that Islam differs enormously from Christianity. For starters, Christ always performed his ministry in the presence of others, and thereby convinced most around him that he was somebody very special indeed.

    Muhammad on the other hand claimed to be God’s prophet. His evidence? His own word. Nobody else seems to have been present when he was having his one-to-ones with Allah.

    And what did God “reveal” through Muhammad? Well, not a lot really if the Koran is anything to go by. There nothing new there, as that 14th century chap remarked to the Emperor, bar the violence and intolerance. It’s a manual for desert-dwelling men that confirms their own opinions of themselves and gives their prejudices the thumbs-up.

    Is this blasphemous enough? I can do more if you wish.

  • Brenda

    barcas thanks for the link, pretty much said it all. So we all are going to live under sharia law!1 If they want to live like that, then saudi is a nice place.

    BYE

  • Wilde Rover

    And if Big Ian tooled up beside the German fella

    There could be one hell of a showdown at the ok corral

  • Billy

    Concerned Loyalist

    The Pope’s speech was over 1 hour long attacked the use of any or all religious beliefs to justify violence.

    He used 1 QUOTATION about Islam and, of course, the Muslims are the only people who were criticised in the speech to react violently. The Pope had nothing to apologise for.

    Islam is as fair a target for rational criticism as any other religion – it’s time that the media in the UK stopped walking on egg shells around them – it’s just giving in to the threat of violence.

    “Doctor” (An honourary doctorate purchased for money in an unaccredited US “university”)Paisley has rightly been condemned in the past for making remarks that are specifically offensive to Catholics and other groups (homosexuals).

    Fair criticism is not a problem. However, I think shouting anti-Christ at the Pope during his speech in the European assembly shows religious intolerance if not b-i-g-o-t-r-y.

    As I recall Paisley was charged with inciting violence in the late 60’s.

    I disgree with David Vance on many things but he was correct about Let’s Talk. The Pope had nothing to apologise and the Let’s Talk Panel/Audience were only interested in apologising to Muslim’s for the “offence” that was supposedly caused.

    As for the “ex-Nazi” Crap – yet again you just show yourself up. This was the subject of a Channel 4 documentary and a large number of newspaper stories. It is common knowledge that, at that time in Germany, teenage German boys were forced into the Hitler Youth or were sent to Prison. German Catholics in particular were always suspected of being less than loyal to the Nazi state and Nazi ideals.

    The record shows that Pope Benedict joined when he was forced to – played no active role in the Hitler youth – and left a soon as he was able to do so.

    If you are worried about Nazism, I suggest you should be concerned about the links with Neo Nazi groups (Combat 18 etc) with your own community.

  • McKelvey

    Fanny,

    Indeed Islam and Christinaity are very different religions. Islam emphasises orthopraxy while Christianity places its emphasis on orthodoxy, one is centered on correct practice and the other on correct belief. Therefore in this sense, Islam is much more similar to Judaism than Christianity, which is closer to Buddhism in this regard.

    There is not much particularly “new” in the ethical content of the Gospels either as most of it paralells Rabbinical thought found in the Hillel tradition, which predates the life of Jesus.

    Islam has produced masterpieces of philosophy, poetry, architechure offered by its faithful in the service of God, as well as the devotional literature and practices of its saints and the Sufis. Furthermore, the Koran in terms of poetry is an absolute masterpiece. Whether or not a person has the heart to admit it, the Holy Spirit is in Islam too.

  • Fanny

    “Furthermore, the Koran in terms of poetry is an absolute masterpiece.”

    Yes, I’ve heard this one before. Care to give us a sample, let us judge for ourselves?

  • abucs

    Occassional Commentator,

    sounds like a good description of what the Pope was getting at. We needed you on Lets Talk !
    I’m sure you would have been diplomatic enough to stay out of hot water.

  • abucs

    P.S. I’m sure your parents would have been very happy to see you defending the Pope. :o)

  • abucs
  • Wilde Rover

    Fanny

    1

    “It’s a manual for desert-dwelling men that confirms their own opinions of themselves and gives their prejudices the thumbs-up.”

    I lived in one of those desert cities on the Arabian Peninsula for a year, and I initially pitied the black-clad female population. When the weekend rolled around on a Wednesday and the men ‘went out to the desert’ (which, curiously, involved bars in international hotels, fine liquor, and the company of delightful Eastern European girls) I imagined the insufferable indignity their wives must be experiencing.
    That pity was lessened I learned that the women went ‘shopping’ at the weekends, where a wander through a sparkling mall might include Italian bags, South African diamonds, and perhaps the odd Jordanian or Syrian fella.
    And, at the end of the weekend, the husband could, indeed, say that he had enjoyed himself in the desert, and the wives could say they had enjoyed themselves shopping.

    Perhaps they need to write a new manual ;0)

    2.”Furthermore, the Koran in terms of poetry is an absolute masterpiece.”
    ‘Yes, I’ve heard this one before. Care to give us a sample, let us judge for ourselves?’
    The Koran’s poetic structure can only be appreciated aloud, in Arabic, and that structure would be lost in any translation.

  • Fanny

    Wilde Rover

    I won’t comment on your trite “shopping for diamonds” story except to say that it’s an insult to millions of poverty-stricken Muslim women.

    “The Koran’s poetic structure can only be appreciated aloud, in Arabic, and that structure would be lost in any translation.”

    Oh, please. Here’s Wiki on Shakespeare’s sonnets:

    “To date in the German-speaking countries alone, there have been 68 complete translations since 1784. There is no major written language into which the sonnets have not been translated, including Latin, Turkish, Japanese, Kiswahili, Esperanto, and even Klingon.”

    They might have mentioned sign language as well. Bearing in mind that the sonnets were the work of a mere man, as opposed to the words of God, they seem to have done jolly well in translation, Arabic included.

    But… the real thrust of my earlier post was that Muhammad had no witnesses to support his claim that God spoke to him; Jesus had many. Jesus performed many miracles. As far as I’m aware, Muhammad’s sole miracle was attracting so many adherents to his death cult.

  • Aaron McDaid (was Occasional Commentator)

    abucs,
    I would have liked to have been on Let’s Talk, but in the audience, not the panel. It’s difficult enough to do justice to his lecture (theology isn’t something I’m great at) but with the pressure of the TV lights and the need for quick responses I’d be better off in the audience throwing in the odd fact to throw the panelists off gaurd.

    I might read more about this lecture – I was just taking away from the speech what made sense to me and probably didn’t do the lecture justice. But if I’ve helped some of you get an idea of the gist of his lecture, then I’m glad to have helped a bit.

  • Nevin

    Hypocrisy and irony (page 4) seem mainly to have been overlooked. Perhaps BBC’s Sunday Sequence will take a second look?

  • Southern Observer

    [i]Now, I wonder how many generations it will be before the UK is governed by Sharia Law, 2, may be 3 at most…[/i]
    I suspect that the age-old Irish Catholic Ulster Protestant conflict will finally come to an end when they are forced to jointly confront the invasive Muslim hordes.

  • willis

    Hey Dave

    Wasn’t Black Bob your party leader once? You must be so proud.

  • Fanny

    “I suspect that the age-old Irish Catholic Ulster Protestant conflict will finally come to an end when they are forced to jointly confront the invasive Muslim hordes.”

    Yes indeed, Southern Observer.

    BTW, you probably didn’t realize this but your post reads as poetry when translated into koranic Arabic.

  • Fanny

    I have to say I’m disappointed with McKelvey and Wilde Rover for their failure to provide samples from the poetic Koran: “Furthermore, the Koran in terms of poetry is an absolute masterpiece.”

    Well, I guess I’ll just have to do it myself. I flipped quickly through my well-thumbed copy and came up with this:

    Prophet, rouse the faithful to arms. If there are twenty steadfast men among them, they shall vanquish two hundred; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding. Allah is with those that are steadfast.” — Sura 8:64

    “That’s not very poetic, Fanny,” I hear you say. OK, you’re right; Heaney it ain’t. So I thought I’d versify it abit, while at the same time giving those pious and peace-bestowing lines a more modern and relevant resonance. See what you think:

    Mo’mad, recruit some brainwashed cretins;
    Twenty with bombs strapped to the torso
    Are enough to waste two hundred
    Poor sods queueing for a gratis morceau.
    A hundred Muslims with feeding bottles,
    Wherein is bangy-bangy stored
    Can down three planes with, say, a thousand
    Christian fucks and Jews aboard.
    For they won’t even know what hit ’em
    Those mongrel sons of Abel-Shittim.
    Allah is rooting for those sans pity.
    ‘Ows about that* for a lovely ditty?

    *With apologies to Sir James Savile

  • Comrade Stalin

    There’s a great deal of prejudice being expressed against muslims as usual in this thread. I think all religion is ridiculous and that includes Catholicism/Christianity as well as Islam, but from the outside looking in I can see very little difference between the reactions (in the West) to the Pope’s speech, and the reaction by Christianity to The Da Vinci Code.

    The way people describing themselves as Muslim have reacted in foreign countries, most visibly in the middle east, is obviously over the top but should we be so quick to believe that this is anything to do with the religion itself rather than the circumstances and cultural backgrounds in which those people live ? It is a bit like saying that the “God and Ulster” UDA are representative of Christianity.

  • Fanny

    Do I take it, Comrade, that you didn’t like my poem?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Fanny,

    Numbers 51:1-34. Joshua 6:21. I can do this all day. What’s your point ?

    [mine ? All religions have sick and evil shit in them, and the world would be better off without them. However people who go after one religion alone on this basis are themselves part of the hypocrisy that religion engenders.]

  • Fanny

    “What’s your point ?”

    Perhaps, dear Comrade, my point is that if the men of NI acquired a sense of humour and learned to laugh at themselves, this place might begin to show signs of improvement.

    For “NI” substitute “Islam” and for “this place” substitute “the world,” and voilà an equally valid message.

    You didn’t tell me if you liked my poem or not.

  • merrie

    Fanny:
    There has been academic research that indicates the Koran is practically based upon the written works of a small Jewish sect and is not words revealed unto Mohammad by an angel.

    Shall try and find my reference to this…

    Moslems acknowledge that Mohammed could not read or write and that the Koran was written by others.

    As for the violent reaction to the Pope’s lecture by some Moslems, all of us can say to them “Errm, as this obscure-medieval-emperor was saying…”

    Benedict did not provide the Islamic scholar’s response to the emperor’s “brusque” query. Maybe he was asking for clarification from contemporary Moslems: “OK Osama, what is your response… OK Nasruddin… OK Shia Ayatollah and Iranian PM. Have you anything to say other than “Kaboom!““

    By quoting the obscure Byzantine emperor, the lecture also was a subtle reminder to the Turks, whom Benedict will be visiting soon, that they were once Christians too before they were forcibly converted to Islam by the sword.

    In short, I think that the Pope intended his lecture to be a message to Moslems and probably expected the usual outrage which of course he would “regret” but not his words which I think were perfectly fine and I am glad he did not apologise for them.

    It is difficult for secular people to debate in the same terms that Benedict does and this has been something that has been missing from the Western response to militant Islam until Benedict’s lecture. He is defending our civilisation in a context to which some Moslems can respond by debate rather than by violence.

    Some Islamic scholars have already responded to Benedict’s comment that to Moslems God is absolutely transcendent (as stated by an Islamic medieval scholar Ibn Hazm) – this is only one Islamic view of God.

    Thus the debate has commenced.

    I have been most interested in the varying reactions to the Pope’s speech from various commentators, including those who despise religion and/or the Catholic hierarchy.

    I wonder if Osama can reply to Benedict in a non-violent way? It would be good to see if he can.

  • Fanny

    “I wonder if Osama can reply to Benedict in a non-violent way?”

    I wonder if Osama can reply to my poem, merrie. Nobody else seems to want to. Never a literary critic when a girl wants one.

  • merrie

    Judging by Osama’s previous form, he’ll sicc some kabooming brainwashed cretins onto you.

    Very predictable – like our Ian Kyle Paisley’s “No!”

    (PS I like your free translation of sura 8:64)

  • Fanny

    Ah, recognition at last. Thank you, merrie.

    To take you up on that transcendent God bit. Do you feel, as I do, that there’s something paradoxical about the Islamic notion of divine transcendence? I mean: the Koran can’t very well say on the one hand…

    “Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the others and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because Allah has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you take no further action against them. Allah is high, supreme. Sura 4:34”

    … and then tell us that Allah transcends shite like this. A truly transcendent being would surely have better things to occupy his time than the wishful thinking of desert-dwelling misogynists.

    And if not, then the universe is in serious trouble.

  • Fanny

    Off now on a well-earned holiday. I promise to be extra nice to any Muslim sitting near me on the plane.

    Well, what would Jesus do?

  • Hurler on the Ditch

    Rory.

    If you’re going to quote me quote me in full. There’s a big difference between your quote.

    “Personally I thought the pope was an idiot”

    and my full sentence which was

    “Personally I thought the pope was an idiot for not realising what would happen if he used that quotation”

    I still stand by that. The pope may be a great academic and may even be “the leading Christian theologian of our time”. Who knows. My point was however that anybody, including Ratzinger himself who thought that with the present situation in the middle East a few quotations like that, coming from the pope, wouldn’t be taken out of context is an idiot. I don’t condone the reaction. I have no problem in saying that fundamentalists are warping the context. But this should have been expected.

    Fanny,

    Hope that has put my “intemperate commentary in its proper perspective.”

  • Brian Boru

    I agree the audience were too unsupportive of what the Pope said but I put that down partly to the antipathy towards the Pope felt by many Unionists for religious reasons. Many perhaps agreed with the substance of what he had to say (deep inside) but were not able to bring themselves to admit this because of traditional Northern Unionist antagonism to Catholicism.

    Personally I find it extremely difficult not to agree with the Pope (as a lapsed Catholic it’s very rare I would say that). Islam seems stuck in an historical phase not unlike post-Reformation Europe during the wars of religion. The obsession with violence to punish those who criticise their faith harks back to the period of European heresy laws. Until the Islamic world can come out of its timewarp, the West should operate an extremely restrictive policy on Muslim immigration. I heard recently on the radio about a Muslim couple living here in the Republic, who were apprehended in Wales by the police who found what someone in the intelligence agencies reportedly called one of the best terrorist handbooks she had ever seen in their car. It frightens me that our security in this country is so lax – especially when it comes to immigration. I hope we don’t become a base for Islamic radicals to attack the UK. I fear the Opposition – likely to come to office next time – will be even laxer on immigration that the current govt – as Labour is dominated (except its leader) by a virulent PC-brigade who oppose any and all restrictions on immigration. A number of AQ members reportedly came into Ireland on false passports and gained Irish citizenship. I read in the press some time ago that part of the funds for the Kenya and Tanzania bombs came from Islamic ‘charities’ that were used as a front to transfer the cash, and that Gardai discovered a map where an AQ suspect had been living reminscent of that found in Spain after the Madrid bombings. Also I heard on the Late Late Show on Friday that on the South Circular Road in Dublin, there are Islamic extremists. Honesty, Benedict is right about Turkish entry to the EU. The answer has to be a big NO. It is unfair both to ourselves and to the Turks to be leading them up the garden path in this way. With Austria and France pledging referenda, there is no way Turkey can feasibly be allowed into the EU – especially after how French cities burned last year.

  • merrie

    Fanny
    The Pope’s lecture was about using logos (reason) and religion and the transcendent bit was relating to the unreasoning Muslim extremists – those who say “You love life, we love death”.

    A commentary on the Koran I picked up from a Moslem bookshop the author wrote on sura 4.34 that the Prophet had given into his male followers by allowing them to beat their wives. Well, so much for the Koran being divine revelation! (which in my view it is not. It is something cobbled together to support a brilliant general who conquered all the local tribes who had oppressed him and who had worshipped the big block of stone in Mecca which is now what all Moslems turn to when they pray).

    And no matter how poetic sura 4.34 and other similar verses sound in Arabic, the statements are shite.

    I started looking into Islam because I felt a bit sorry for the bad press it was getting. The dominant image (other than blowing people up) is huge crowds of angry men shouting and shaking their fists. After I read sura 4.34 I thought Moslems could look after themselves. I wasn’t going to get further involved.

    The Pope has co-authored a book about the West and Islam called: “Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity and Islam” which I haven’t read yet. There is another book on Europe and Islam coming out next year, according to Amazon.co.uk

  • Rory

    Hurler on the Ditch,

    I accept that you did not intend to insult the Pope as idiot because of what he had to say but rather because (you believe) he unwisely did not desist from saying what he did because there might be a negative reaction in some quarters.

    Would you then have had Gallileo be an idiot, or Newton, Darwin, Jenner, Freud, Ricardo, Marx? After all each of these might have anticipated a negative reaction from interests inimical to shining a light into the dark that we might see the beginning of wisdom.

  • Wilde Rover

    Fanny

    You said my comments were trite. Are such stories commonplace? Perhaps you would like to give some examples of other stories involving Arab women going whoring. I would find that most gratifying.

    But not as gratifying as (presuming you are a western woman) western women running to the defense of their Muslim counterparts. You feel so very sorry for them, and yet the majority of THEM (I stress THEM: I am a western man and do not think this of you) think you, as a western woman, are a whore, worthy only of their contempt.

    (Admittedly, my sense of humor is a little on the acidic side)

    Well done. It is truly charitable, turning the other cheek and all that. Jesus would be proud.

    As for the poetry thing, you really took that one by the bit. Let’s try this again:

    The Koran is a religious book. That means that you are usually limited to making literal translations, which doesn’t lend itself to poetic license. In short, yes, you could make it sound like poetry, and you could also change it into a tale about Mohammed and his Psychedelic Journey through Time and Space.

    But I did like your poem.

  • Hurler on the Ditch

    Rory,

    “I accept that you did not intend to insult the Pope as idiot because of what he had to say but rather because (you believe) he unwisely did not desist from saying what he did because there might be a negative reaction in some quarters.”

    No I don’t. I have NO problem with him saying whatever he wants (although a bit more of an introspective glance might be better from the pontiff). My point is that he should have known it would elicit the response it did. IF he didn’t know then the man IS an idiot.

    I would certainly not “have Galileo be an idiot”. I’m fairly certain that Galileo and Darwin among others knew that when they started their debates they would invite severe criticism. Thus these men were not idiots (Although Jenner’s experiments on young phipps were…. well…. lets just say he’s lucky he didn’t have to face an ethical commitee)…..

    On the whole Rory I would support the pope if he took a principled stand on the issue of the threat of fundamentalism (both islamic and christian) but he didn’t do that. Instead he gave a lecture quoting a 14th century text and then looked shocked and hurt that he was mis-represented…. No comparisson to the men you (rightly) point out made principled stands.

  • Ziznivy

    I’ve never known the Pope to be so popular with the less tolerant type of Prod!

  • I Wonder

    Intolerance is the exclusive preserve of neither superprod nor supertaig.

    I wonder if if it is coincidence that those who regard texts from the centuries B.C. as revealed truth have sympathy for a Pope that draws on thinking from the 14th century? I know, let’s reject both irrational anachronistic irrelevancies. Try thinking for ourselves for a change.

  • Fer fecks sake

    “I’ve never known the Pope to be so popular with the less tolerant type of Prod! ”

    Poor Concerned Loyalist couldn’t quite get a handle on it!!

  • Greenflag

    ‘Try thinking for ourselves for a change.’

    Well yes and it’s easier too if you keep your eyes and ears open and remember that we are living in the 21st century .

    What’s the penalty /punishment for carrying a copy of the Koran through Vatican City in 2006 ? or comitting adultery

    None

    What’s the penalty /punishment for carrying a copy of the Bible through Riyadh -Saudi Arabia in 2006 or committing adultery ?

    Several years in prison for the former , and death by stoning -modern high tech version with a lorry load of stones being tipped on top of those found guilty for the latter offence .

    You will notice I said Saudi Arabia a-sovereign independent Arab -Islamic State and not a Taliban dominated region of Afghanistan. This same Saudi Arabia is an ally of the so called Christian right in the USA ?

    Islam is perceived as an intolerant religion simply because that’s what it is in many areas of the world in 2006 . People can draw similarities between the power of religion in the Islamic world today and the power of the Church in medieval Europe if they like . I’m sure there are many .

    However we live in 2006.

    The Pope has no need to apologise .

  • Brenda

    http://www.phoenix-magazine.com

    A very good cartoon. The pope is saying ”Am I not infallible?”
    Answer from the Cardinal ”Surely you mean inflamable!”

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Concerned Loyalist,

    Why do you insist on referring to the Republic of Ireland as the Irish Free State/Banana Republic?

    You just make yourself look infantile.

    Posted by Fer Fecks Sake on Sep 22, 2006 @ 05:35 PM

    I say it as I see it mate. “Eire” is a “banana republic” as far as I’m concerned. Do you understand the terminology alright or do you want me to elaborate?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    If you are worried about Nazism, I suggest you should be concerned about the links with Neo Nazi groups (Combat 18 etc) with your own community.

    Posted by Billy on Sep 22, 2006 @ 11:00 PM

    That is nothing but black, republican propaganda to portray loyalists as bigots and oppressors. The name Sean Russell should be enough evidence that the old adage “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” is particularly appropriate at this juncture…

  • Shuggie McSporran

    Concerned Loyalis

    “CL

    “I say it as I see it mate. “Eire” is a “banana republic” as far as I’m concerned. Do you understand the terminology alright or do you want me to elaborate?”

    Please elaborate.

    For me a banana republic would be a territory possibly controlled by someone like a brigadeer who likes wearing sunglasses, also the economy of the area would be based on one major cash crop, like maybe marijuana or cocoa or something like that.

  • I Wonder

    “Islam is perceived as an intolerant religion simply because that’s what it is in many areas of the world in 2006.”

    How is Protestantism perceived because of the murder of hundreds of NI Catholics by Protestants since 1966?

    How is Catholicism perceived because of the murder of hundreds of NI Protestants by Catholics since 1969?

    By focussing on some aspects of religious behaviour we will find all faiths somewhat intolerant.

  • Merrie

    This is a very old topic, but I have a few things I’d like to add:

    1. just found my reference to the research I mentioned that indicates most of the Koran is lifted from the works of a small Jewish sect:

    The Great Koran con trick – Martin Bright (New Statesman 10 December 2001)
    http://www.newstatesman.com/200112100017

    Some responses to this article:
    http://www.newstatesman.com/200112170032
    http://www.newstatesman.com/200201070020
    There are other responses. Check New Statesman archives.

    2. One hundred Islamic scholars have replied to Pope Benedict’s query:
    http://www.islamicamagazine.com/media/pdf/open/b/openletter-8238DA.pdf
    or
    http://www.islamicamagazine.com/issue18/openletter18_lowres.pdf

    There are other discussions about Islam and The Vatican on this site:
    http://www.islamicamagazine.com/issue-18/vatican-focus.html

    3. Lastly, I did enjoy this leader from the London Telegraph about Benedict’s birthday the other day:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/04/16/dl1603.xml