At Large

Pope Bashers

For Muslims, threatening the Pope is nothing new.

By 9.20.06

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This week marked a new chapter in the War on Terror. Events here and around the world have sharpened the differences between those who support American and greater Western culture, and those who are pledged to its destruction.

Across the globe, our TV screens and newspapers have once again been filled with scenes of outraged Muslims; a redundant term that is as wearisome to type as it is to witness. Excepting the daily violence and bloodshed wrought by its most avid practitioners, it seems nearly everything offends a significant sector of the Muslim world.

This week's outrage centers on a favorite target of both Western liberals and those pledged to jihad, Pope Benedict XVI. These two seemingly opposing sides -- hint, one is dedicated to the extermination of the other -- have teamed up to denounce a citation made by the Holy Father in an academic address at the University of Regensburg where he was once a professor.

The resulting violence and threats are far from new. Calls for the death of the Vicar of Christ hearken back to the centuries-old Islamic dream of stabling their horses in St. Peter's Basilica. An example of their latest:

We tell the worshipper of the cross (the Pope) that you and the West will be defeated, as is the case in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya. We shall break the cross and spill the wine....God will (help) Muslims to conquer Rome....God, enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the mujahideen.

Curiously, the Pope is accused of bringing this on himself by pouring fuel on the jihadi fire. Yet only ten years ago, Ramzi Yousef's associate Abdul Hakim Murad said after he was arrested by Filipino authorities, "two Satans that must be destroyed: the Pope and America." No, pope-bashing by Islamists is nothing new.

And neither is the patently false claim that their depredations are and were a result of the Christian Crusades. This revisionist tripe will be summarily rejected by anyone willing to pick up a history book that predates the 20th century. For in that recently concluded epoch the seeds of Western self-hate were sown, the fruits of which are now apparent, especially in Europe.

Closer to home, the jihadists were given support in their efforts to win hearts and minds by some useful idiots who, if this country were defeated by Islamists, would be the first to taste the steel of their swords. Gay rights activist Rosie O'Donnell said, "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state."

Proof of this scurrilous statement is of course nowhere to be found, and were the subject matter not so grim, it would be comical. It blows the mind that those who tremble at the slightest perception of a crack in their imagined wall between church and state, should continuously alibi for the bloody supporters of Sharia, which advocates death for those who choose to follow man-made law.

But Miss O'Donnell does raise a point when she uses the word "radical" to describe those she disparages. One assumes that she refers to those who actually live the faith they find in their Bible. Strangely though, when this same description is used in reference to followers of the Qu'ran -- whose "Verse of the Sword" commands, "slay the unbelievers wherever you find them," which abrogated his earlier exhortation that there be "no compulsion in religion" -- there are howls of indignation.

Which brings us to a bizarre conundrum: if, as many Muslims and leftists contend, that the Christianity of the West is as much or even more responsible for bloodshed and injustice than Islam, why is the former held to such a higher moral standard of responsibility than the latter? Why is it that America's motives are suspect?

Charges of racism and Islamophobia in the War on Terror are laughable as well as intellectually untenable. As if our enemy is racially homogeneous, or our fear of them is in any way irrational. What does defy logic is that a scholarly discourse meant to spur debate on faith and reason that resulted in so much unreasonable behavior, is treated as the cause for rebuke.

In some ways though, this entire incident may be a blessing in disguise. If, on the one hand, Muslims around the world seek to accept the invitation to the intellectual dialogue extended by the Pope, there may be hope that further bloodshed can be averted. But, if violent acts such as the cowardly murder of an Italian nun in Somalia continue, then they will have demonstrated that the thrust of the Pope's contention that "not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature," may indeed apply to them.

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About the Author

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut (mailbox@lisafab.com).