Friday, December 15, 2006

At last a media piece letting us hear from Muslims who are engaging in reason. I knew they were out there but media reports are so uniformly negative that it is easy to forget that there are brave writers and intellectuals who represent a huge group of thoughtful Muslim believers. Of course I had to find it in the BBC News.

Muslims debate Pope's speech reaction
By Magdi Abdelhadi Arab Affairs Analyst, BBC News

Despite the predominantly emotional and angry response to the Pope's controversial remarks about Islam, some Muslim writers and intellectuals have been extremely critical of the way Muslims have responded so far.

The angry reactions to the Pope's original remarks included the killing of an Italian nun in Somalia and attacks on Christian churches in Palestinian territories.

But several Muslim writers argued that such violent reactions appeared to confirm the very things that Muslims have been seeking to refute.

Some concluded that it would have been better to engage in a rational debate with the Pope.
The European Muslim scholar, Tarik Ramadan, blamed Muslim leaders and scholars for such violent responses.

'Let off steam'
Leaders who deny their people freedom of expression, he wrote, find it convenient to allow their people to let off some steam as long as it is about Danish cartoons or words uttered by the Pope.
Mr Ramadan asks rhetorically whether it was wise of Muslims to feel offended by the Pope's quotation from a 14th Century Christian emperor while they continue to ignore questions they have faced over the past five years about the meaning of the term "jihad" and the legitimate use of force.

Khaled Hroub, a Jordanian-born academic, wrote that the aggressive and intolerant reactions failed to live up to the ideals Muslims believe in.

The Muslim reaction to the Pope's apology has also come in for a lot of criticism.

Mr Hroub wondered whether Muslim clerics can ever be asked to apologise for believing that Islam is the one and only true religion.

One columnist, Abdelwahab Al Affendi, ridiculed those who demanded a retraction of the Pope's original remarks.

Mr Al Effendi wrote saying that nothing short of the Pope's converting to Islam will ever assuage the anger of those people!

Story from BBC NEWS: 2006/09/25 15:18:54 GMT© BBC MMVI

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