Friday, September 15, 2006


Target of jihad

It all seems so familiar, doesn't it (via


A Palestinian from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade attends a rally in Gaza to protest against remarks regarding Islam made by Pope Benedict XVI September 15, 2006. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA)


Pakistani Muslims chant slogans to condemn Pope Benedict XVI for making what they regard as 'derogatory' comments about Islam, during a rally in Multan September 15, 2006. (Asim Tanveer/Reuters)


Muslim students burn an effigy of Pope Benedict XVI at a protest rally in Allahabad, India, Friday, Sept. 15, 2006. A growing chorus of Muslim leaders has called on the Pope to apologize for the alleged derogatory comments made by him about Islam. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

There is always an insult to be manufactured. There are always fists and machetes and rifles to be raised. There are always flags and effigies and embassies to be burned. There are always throats and heads to be claimed:


Reader S. writes:

I'm a grad student in Theology at a Catholic seminary here in the U.S. and a long-time reader of your blog.

The media is ignoring the substance of Pope Benedict's remark while letting Muslims appear to be victims. Islam was indeed spread by violence. Denying that is like denying the holocaust. That wasn't the point of what the Pope was saying. In the address scientists on the role of faith and reason in human experience, the Pope recounts a debate between a Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an "educated Persian." Here I quote directly from his address :

Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he [the Byzantine emperor] says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".

The Muslims clearly have no response to this, because their religion was spread by the sword, and we can see it is spread so still by the forced conversions of Steve Centani and his camera operator. But underlying this is a theological point about the nature of God and his relationship with mankind that the Muslims also have no appropriate response for. The Pope continues:

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor [of the text where this debate appears], Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry.

God can't be God if he is unreasonable, because if He is unreasonable then he has some kind of deficiency or imperfection. Imperfection is incompatible with His divine nature. He can't transcend reason because perfect reason is also integral to His nature as God. God can't command us to practice idolatry, as the Muslim theologian Ibn Hazn said, because this would be totally incompatible with His nature. God can't be untrue to Himself - He doesn't have such human failings!

The Muslims can't justify the unreasonableness of violence by saying God transcends reason. The result of their beliefs is to make God in the image of their own leaders who spread Islam by any means possible in order to subjugate as many as possible under their brutal power.

But just as the Cartoon Rage wasn't merely about the cartoons, the jihadists' new Pope Rage isn't merely about his comments. It's a continuation of "unfinished business." The jihadists have had it in for the papacy for years. From a 2002 London Times article on the plot to assassinate the late Pope John Paul II:

The Pope has been told that the al-Qaeda terrorists who masterminded the September 11 attacks in the United States planned to assassinate him during his tour of the Philippines.

The attack never took place because the Pope called off the visit in 1999 through ill-health.

...Vatican officials declined to comment yesterday on reports of the latest plan to kill the Pope, but anti- terrorism experts in Italy said that there had been “repeated warnings” of an al-Qaeda attack on the Pope or on a “symbolic Vatican target” and that security had been intensified in and around St Peter’s Square, with metal detectors introduced for mass gatherings such as the Pope’s weekly audience.

Vatican-watchers said that although an abortive plot in 1995 in the Philippines against the Pope’s life was known about, the 1999 attempt had not been made public before.

[Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's] plan to kill the Pope was put together at the same time as he was enlisting al-Qaeda recruits around South-East Asia, many of whom were sent to Afghanistan for training in specialist techniques, including explosives and assassination.

The first attempt on the Pope’s life was to have been made in January 1995 as he addressed a crowd of several hundred thousand in a park in Manila. Documents show how Mohammed considered planting a pipe bomb and using snipers near the altar where the Pope was to say Mass. The idea was not only to kill the Pope and those standing closest to him, but also to cause pandemonium in the park by then ordering snipers to shoot randomly at those fleeing the carnage.

To fanatics such as Mohammed, the Pope is as great an enemy and obstacle to their vision of a global jihad as the US President.

This assassination plot had, though, to be scrapped after a clumsy accident by Ramzi Youssef, his nephew, who prematurely detonated an explosive device in his flat in Manila. These two men are said by the FBI to have been instrumental in planning the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. They had the idea of hijacking aircraft and turning them into flying bombs. Both were also involved in the lorry bomb attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993.

Although his nephew was arrested soon after the abortive papal bomb plot in 1995, Mohammed escaped.

He returned to the Philippines intent on reviving the assassination plot against the Pope, but the Pope cancelled his trip to Manila at the last minute.

Security experts say that there is a danger that Mohammed [ed.: since captured and now at Gitmo] will try again. Dr Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert and author of the book Inside al- Qaeda, is quoted as saying: “They (al-Qaeda) often return to complete unfinished business. When they didn’t destroy the World Trade Centre first time around, they came back to finish it off. That is how it was with the Pope in the Philippines.”

Pope Benedict's November trip to Turkey is now in jeopardy, but calling it off will neither make him or Catholics any safer nor end the new manufactured outrage by the jihadists. Via Time:

Pope Benedict XIV's controversial comments about Islam have already ignited a firestorm of criticism in the Muslim world, but it may end up costing the Vatican more than just its reputation. A top Catholic Church official inside Turkey says the polemics following Benedict XVI's comments about Islam may cause the cancellation of his November visit to the majority Muslim country, which is nevertheless governed on secular principles.

"At this point, I don't know if the trip will happen," Mons. Luigi Padovese, the Vicar Apostolic in Anatolia, the Church's representative for what amounts to the eastern half of Turkey, told TIME. "There are leading politicians, members of the ruling parties, a top minister and others who have expressed a negative opinion on the visit." Padovese blamed the outcry on voices in the Turkish press whom he described as "nationalist, Islamist and anti-Christian," and said the Pope's intention was not to offend anyone. "I don't know if anyone even read the Pope's discourse," Padovese said. "These elements tossed out the bait, and others took it."

The sharpest rebuke inside Turkey came from Salih Kapusuz, the deputy leader of the ruling Justice and Development, or AK Party, who said that Benedict would go down in history "in the same category as leaders such as (Benito) Mussolini and (Adolf) Hitler." He told the state-owned Anatolia news agency that Benedict's comments were a deliberate attempt to "revive the mentality of the Crusades: He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages." He added that Benedict "is a poor thing that has not benefitted from the spirit of reform in the Christian world..."

Asked if the Turkish authorities had made any specific requests of the Holy See, Padovese said that the only demands have come from the press. "There is a request that the Pope apologizes for what he said," says Padovese. "But I read into this request a kind of triumphalism — to see the Church and Christians and the Pope say out loud that they were wrong." Padovese spoke by phone from the parish in the Black Sea coastal city of Trebizond, where in February Father Andrea Santoro was killed by a young Muslim man in an apparently religiously-motivated attack. Two other Catholic clergy members have been the victims of attacks in Turkey over the past several months.

And there will be more.

Guess what's on the best-seller list in "moderate" Turkey right now? Via AllahPundit and Gerald Augustinus:


It's a hot-selling novel titled Papa’ya suikast (”Attack on the Pope”) which predicts that Pope Benedict will be assassinated in Istanbul.

Which side will the West--and moderate Muslims--stand on?

Who will stand up and say without equivocation:

"I support the Pope."

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