Friday, September 15, 2006

No debate allowed in Islam - ever ! ( Or so its seems)

"Show me just what Muhammad 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.", Emperor Manual II Paleologos of the Byzantine Empire

The reaction to the Pope's recent quotation of Emperor Manual II Paleologos of the Byzantine Empire shows the general failure to engage in rational debate in a very large and frightening part of the Muslim world. ( There are exceptions I've seen which I'll come to shortly. )

To me the majority Muslim approach to any comment about Mohammed appears to many be to call blasphemy - which effectively shuts down open discussion and holds their adherents in a form of intellectual prison [ what are they so scared of ? ]. (Now before any of my fellow Christians get too smug - that used to be the view in Europe on similar matters and was backed with the same amount of force as is now being marshalled around the Muslim world. And remember the charge of blasphemy helped to get Jesus executed. )

A useful answer would have been to list the contributions of Mohammed that would have countered the argument of Emperor Manual II. Unless of course there aren't any - but I doubt that's true.

Aiman Mazyek of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany made a far better response ( quoted from Catholic News Service - whom to their credit reported this without caveats or putting a counter point afterwards ):

Mazyek told the German newspaper: "Against the background of the bloody forced Christianization in South America, the Crusades in the Muslim world, the co-option of the church by the Hitler regime, even the invention of the expression 'holy war,' which originally comes from the mouth of (Pope) Urban II, it would fill me with some concern if the church would come and take a superior attitude to the extremist activities of other religious communities."

He said he was sure the pope had not meant that. (Contributing to this story was Michael Lawton in Munich, Germany.)

Now I don't agree with Mazyek on all his points - but he makes them and he also makes you think. Its a rational response with a good set of points. If only his wisdom was more wide spread. I have real concerns about the life of Mohammed - but intend to research them much more fully before going to print.

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