I look with interest at the fracas between with the Pope and those of the Muslim faith. It seems that the Pope quoted 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus who said, "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." These comments were made at an academic address in Germany. Muslims around the world were outraged that the Pope could say such a thing since Islam is a "religion of peace."
Muslim protesters reacted to this politically incorect faux pax with . . . well, violence. How's that for putting illegitimacy to a complaint? Here's what has happened: Not long after a Muslim cleric in Somalia condemned the Pope's remarks, a nun was shot and killed, a group threatened to attack the Vatican with a suicide bomb, five churches in Gaza and the West Bank were firebombed, and the Pope has been burned in effigy.
Muslims do more damage to Islam's reputation than the Pope ever could. September 11th happens and some Islamic countries issue statements of regret (some don't). However if someone should draw a cartoon representation of Mohammad or if the Pope quotes an emperor from the 1300's that may disparage the religion tad, all hell breaks loose. It seems that there are protests all over the globe about the Pope's statement still, but yet I haven't heard about one protest about the murder of the nun or any other example of violence that has taken place in the aftermath.
The Pope has issued an apology and relates how he regrets what has happened. He explained that it wasn't his view, but of the 14th Century emperor he was quoting. He couldn't have back-pedaled any faster if he was sitting on the handle bars. It isn't good enough, though. No one has said what will be good enough. Some folks are just hell-bent on being outraged.
I have a Muslim friend in Saudi Arabia and she can't tell me why there are not more protests about such things. She says that she doesn't blame westerners for having negative feeling towards Islam. Well, that is one Muslim who gets it. I can only pray that it will start a trend.