George Friedman of StratFor, has a very interesting take on the whole thing, calling it "A Deliberate Move", saying:
"Let's begin with the obvious: Benedict's words were purposely chosen. The quotation of Manuel II was not a one-liner, accidentally blurted out. The pope was giving a prepared lecture that he may have written himself -- and if it was written for him, it was one that he carefully read. Moreover, each of the pope's public utterances are thoughtfully reviewed by his staff, and there is no question that anyone who read this speech before it was delivered would recognize the explosive nature of discussing anything about Islam in the current climate. There is not one war going on in the world today, but a series of wars, some of them placing Catholics at risk."
You can read the whole commentary at: http://halldor2.blogspot.com/2006/09/limits-of-tolerance.html
Tariq Ramadan, who has been referred to Europe Islam's Martin Luther King, weighs in with:
"...Throughout the Muslim world, religious leaders, presidents, politicians and intellectuals joined their voices with protesting masses angered by a perceived “insult” to their faith ... Whatever the judgements of these scholars and intellectuals, one would have hoped that they adopt a more reasoned approach in their critical remarks..."
You can read his commentary at: http://www.digitalnpq.org/articles/global/114/09-19-2006/tariq_ramadan
Daniel Pipes, yes, Daniel Pipes; I said interesting, not necessarily "positive contribution to the discussion" weighs in with a predictable--but not-so-incendiary-as-you'd-expect op-ed, includiing some interesting (as promised) comments, including:
- "First reflection: Benedict has offered elusive comments, brief statements, and now this delphic quotation, but he has not provided a much-needed major statement on this vital topic of Islam. One hopes it is in the offing...."
- "In the Italian original, however, Benedict says only sono rammaricato, which translates as "I am disappointed" or "I regret."
[To complete the picture in terms of academics and thinkers, and if you haven't already, please don't forgot to check out my post about Karen Armstrong's comments on the issue at: http://ifaqeer.blogspot.com/2006/09/karen-armstrong-on-popes-speech.html ]
The Progressive Muslim Union of North America "calls for calm in the wake of the Pope's Remarks":
The Muslim Canadian Congress says, "comments provocative, but Muslims should learn to turn the other cheek":
I wonder, is that their way of saying "We're all Catholic now?" [Sorry, that was too easy :-).]
The Canadian Muslim Union "is saddened by the remarks and quotes made by Pope Benedict regarding Islam and the Prophet Muhammed," saying:
"To have chosen to make such insensitive and provocative statements is at best short-sighted, if not irresponsible, considering current social realities and political tensions..." and while recognizing "that people have deeply held religious beliefs but also feels that no religion should be held above another in public affairs. Freedom of religion demands that government policy be framed in a secular environment," and while urging "the Vatican and His Holiness to pursue a new relationship with the followers of the prophet Muhammed based on mutual respect and compassion ... also urged offended Muslims to show restraint in the manner they show their offence and to avoid confrontation and violence."
And to amplify that last point, I would like to call attention to my post of a couple of days ago about respect for places of worship and people of the cloth. And to say to all who will listen that to this Muslim, at least, there is almost nothing uglier than some of the pictures on this page:
Reminds one of a cartoon that one saw during the cartoon controvesy:
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