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July 26, 2005

Pope won't call Islam, Religion of Peace

Pope Benedict was asked by reporters, as he was entering a meeting with priests and deacons of Valle d'Aosta in northwest Italy, if he thought Islam was a religion of peace. His reply, according to WorldNetDaily was, “I would not like to use big words to apply generic labels. It certainly contains elements that can favor peace, it also has other elements: We must always seek the best elements.”

That's pretty much been my experience. I've known very peaceful Moslems and of course we all know of very violent Moslems. The problem comes in that too few of the peaceful ones are willing to publicly condemn the violent ones. That leaves the rest of us with a sour impression of the religion as a whole.

Face it, what the non-violent Moslems do with their silence is as bad for the image of Islam as what the other Moslems do who are violent.

But even more than their silence, is their apathy. Fifty-six people died in the London bombings, and rather than rally against the terrorists along side the rest of England, British Moslems whine that they are now in danger.

At the same time, it is disappointing that Pope Benedict omitted mentioning terrorist attacks in Israel when he condemned terrorism, and mentioned several places that had suffered. It didn't go unnoticed by the Israelis, either.

From the Jerusalem Post...

In his noontime sermon on Sunday, the pope prayed for God to stop the "murderous hand" of terrorists, and referred to the recent "abhorrent terrorist attacks" in Egypt, Britain, Turkey and Iraq. He did not mention the July 12 suicide bombing that killed five people in Netanya.

Nimrod Barkan, director of the Foreign Ministry's World Jewish Affairs Bureau, called Vatican Archbishop Pietro Sambi into his office to protest what Israel believes was not just an innocent oversight.

Barkan said not condemning terrorism in Israel had been Vatican policy for years, and "now that there is a new pope, we have decided to deal with it."

"We feel that now that there is a new pope, we need to turn over a new leaf and change the fact that the Vatican refrained in the past from condemning attacks here," he said. "They need to help the moderates in the Middle East, not the extremists."

Barkan said that during the reign of pope John Paul II, Israel "quietly" protested in Rome the pope's lack of condemnation of attacks in Israel. He said Israel had now decided to go public with the matter to change an entrenched but negative mode of conduct.

Asked to speculate why the previous pope refrained from condemning attacks in Israel, Barkan said: "There are forces in the Vatican pulling in different direction regarding Israel. Since they never paid a price for the lack of a condemnation, they continued to do it. But if they understand we won't let this pass quietly, I assume they will change their ways."

The Pope now has to explain why such omissions are made. I'd like to know myself.

Posted by Danny Carlton at July 26, 2005 08:56 AM

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