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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 09/18/2006 16:47
Vatican - islam
The Pope and eastern and western terrorism
by Bernardo Cervellera

Rome (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI's speech at Regensburg touched two festering wounds, which are devouring the East and the West.  The frantic reactions of many Muslims and the ill-advised ones of Western political figures and opinion-makers are simply confirming the existence of a problem that we can define physical and intellectual "terrorism."

The violent storm of Muslim reactions was partly caused by the bad information offered by Western media, which attributed to the Pope the words of Manuel II Paleologus according to whom "nothing good has come from Islam."  The explanation given by the Pope yesterday clarifies the misunderstanding: that phrase, Benedict XVI said, does not represent his thinking.  In fact, already in the past, the then Cardinal Ratzinger had expressed the positive debt that Western culture owes to Medieval Islam (philosophy, art, medicine, etc…).

But an important point about the Regensburg University lecture was the refusal of the religious justification of violence, a violence defined also as "irrational":  "violence is unreasonable.  Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul," and thus "not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature".  This affirmation is a criticism of every war of religion, and for this very reason it is a criticism of Islam too.  Given the scandalized reactions in the Islamic world, many Muslims and Westerners (including Christians) are now trying to "write-off" Benedict XVI as "conservative," in contrast to the "openness" of the late John Paul II.  But everyone is forgetting that the latter – just like Benedict – always condemned any effort to shroud terrorism with religious motivations, and, in Assisi in 2002, asked that all religious leaders (Christians, Muslims, Jews…) withdraw any support from those who claim to kill in the name of God.

The populist reaction of many Muslim crowds, replete with verbal, symbolic and physical violence, shows that all too often Islam defends itself with violence.  And, in accusing the Pope of "Islamophobia", it shows the inability to ask if the problems of the Muslim world come from within itself, from the choking bind between Islam and violence, Islam and politics.  Furthermore, many of us suspect that the series of Muslim protests against the Pope – which closely resembles the cartoon affair – are just another in a long line of decoys used to distract Middle Eastern populations from the problems in which they languish.  Iran is on the verge of being sanctioned and, with a limping economy, is waving the flag of victimism, of an external attack against Islam, to cover up the corruption of the ayatollahs and pervasive unemployment; the so-called "victorious" Hezbollah is having to face a Lebanese public opinion which is asking ever more urgently that it disarm; hanging as always over Syria's head, like the sword of Damocles, is the UN inquiry into the Hariri assassination.

There also exists a Western "intellectual terrorism", that is the preconceived closure to Christian religion.  How else to define the criticism against the Pope and the call for apologies on the part of newspapers like the New York Times, El Pais, or The Guardian?

In defending Islam a priori, despite its intolerance, they have shown their "irrationality."  Then there are political figures and media voices that, instead of defending "reason", have preferred to call everyone to order, in an affirmation of tolerance that avoids the question of truth.

The Regensburg lesson highlights that this is "the" problem in the West: a truncated kind of reason that, by distancing itself from God-Reason, writes-off religious problems as "private matters" or shows itself to be "irrational" in defending violence instead of truth.  "The West," the Pope said, "has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby."

Unfortunately, the violent reactions of the Islamic world over past days have acted as a smokescreen to delay any questioning of the West itself.   Could it be that someone is inciting a clash between the Pope and Islam so as to hide the "irrationality" of Western reason?  After all, with the scientistic pretension of manipulating embryos, the affirmation of abortion as a "democratic right", the many victims of the ideologies of the 20th century, the West too is ailing from irrationality and thus from violence against Man.


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See also
09/17/2006 ISLAM – VATICAN
Amid criticism and violence the first balanced views about the Pope's speech appear
05/14/2009 VATICAN - ISLAM
The Pope, Arabic Islam and the West
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Pope: dialogue between Muslims and Christians "a vital necessity"
09/16/2006 ISLAM - VATICAN
Two churches struck in Nablus as Muslim countries criticize pope
12/22/2006 VATICAN
Pope: bringing God into play instead of banishing him
by Franco Pisano
VATICAN - GERMANY
Pope: Faith and reason to escape violence and suicide of Enlightenment
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The Pope's speech: lending Islam a helping hand to avoid a downward spiral
INDIA
Controversy about Pope and Islam useless, open to manipulation
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Pope worried only about the "religious motivation of violence"
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Pope's remarks misused by Islamo-nationalists, vicar apostolic says
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Benedict XVI's words spark calls for apologies and requests for clarification in theIslamic world
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Card.Toppo: "Face Islamic protests with truth, courage and prayer"
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Two churches struck in Nablus as Muslim countries criticize pope
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Pope is sorry, reaffirms esteem for Islam and rejection of violence
TURKEY – VATICAN
Pope's trip at risk as Turkey becomes less secular
VATICAN – ISLAM
Pope "truly sorry" for Muslim reactions but did not offend
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Amid criticism and violence the first balanced views about the Pope's speech appear
IRAN - VATICAN
Not all Teheran behind ayatollahs in anti-pope criticism
INDIA
A great sign of peace from the Pope, say Indian Muslim leaders
PAKISTAN
Pope only wants inter-faith harmony, Pakistani bishops say
TURKEY – VATICAN
Turkish bishops confirm trip of Benedict XVI will go ahead
LEBANON
Moderate voices in Lebanon urge people to read what the Pope actually said
ISLAM – VATICAN
Pope's explanations not good enough for radical Islam
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What the Christian Pope thinks about Islam matters to the Muslim world
PALESTINE - VATICAN
Armed guards in Bethlehem churches, but Christians are on pope's side
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More calls for dialogue in a Muslim world angered by Pope
SYRIA – VATICAN
Syria's Grand Mufti says Pope's explanation "more than enough"
PAKISTAN – VATICAN
In Pakistan Christians and Muslims study Pope's speech together
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Sincere faith and dialogue are the only ways to peace between Christians and Muslims
VATICAN-ISLAM
Pope: I was misunderstood about Islam, may my words become an opportunity for dialogue
LEBANON – VATICAN
Rise above controversy about pope, say Lebanese bishops on day for peace
IRAN - VATICAN
Ahmadinejad proclaims respect for pope but Iran has strange anti-Catholic coalition
VATICAN – ISLAM
Pope to meet ambassadors from Muslim countries
VATICAN
Pope: Sr Leonella Sgorbati, an authentic Christian witness
BANGLADESH – VATICAN
Bangladeshi bishops defend a misunderstood Pope
IRAQ - VATICAN
Radical Muslims against pope: two churches attacked in Mosul and Baghdad
ISLAM-VATICAN
Pope with ambassadors: much praise and some "buts" from Muslim world
PHILIPPINES
Manila: Muslim MP urges understanding, not criticism, of pope
VATICAN – ISLAM
Pope: dialogue between Muslims and Christians "a vital necessity"

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