Sunday, November 26, 2006

Papal Influence

Some of the thousands of protesters who demonstrated Sunday in Istanbul against the visit Tuesday of Pope Benedict XVI (Photo - Fatih Saribas/Reuters)

Now from the English-language International Herald Tribune...

Tens of thousands of protesters denounced Pope Benedict XVI as an enemy of Islam at a rally Sunday that underlined deep divisions straining Turkey ahead of the pontiff's visit this week.

Officials hoping to promote closer ties with the West urged calm, but Islamic groups wary of Western ways united in anger over Benedict's remarks two months ago linking Islam to violence. Chants of "No to the pope!" rose among nearly 25,000 demonstrators at every mention of his remarks on violence and the Prophet Muhammad.

Turkish officials hope to use the visit to promote their ambitions of becoming the first Muslim nation in the European Union and to showcase Turkey's secular political system. But Islamic groups, which have been gaining strength, see Benedict as a symbol of Western intolerance and injustices against Muslims.

They want to showcase their "secular political system"?!?
Why do human beings so frequently ignore the facts right in front of their noses? Last year at World Youth Day the pontiff "demonstrated his emphasis on cross-faith relations, by addressing Muslim leaders and visiting a synagogue" and warning "of the dangers of secularism."

What should really worry the Vatican isn't Turkey's secularism but its piety. When the pope quoted his Byzantine scholar in September about how Islam is a religion of violence, I wonder if he was just thinking about generating himself a little excitement for this week?


Post a Comment

<< Home