Monday, September 18, 2006

Origin of certain words

The Pope's recent comments, which infuriated many Muslims have a history. They have a lot of history, and a London educator explains them in an article in The Guardian.

Soumaya Ghannoushi is a researcher at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, specialising in medieval Christian literature on Islam.

Part of that article follows below. The Guardian is consistent in finding content well worth the time to find and read.

"It is ironic that the Pope, who stresses the unity of reason and faith, which he uses as proof of Christianity's superiority over Islam, has inherited this formula from Ibn Rushd, or Averroes, the Andalusian Muslim philosopher. It was on the basis of this Rushdian equation that the medieval church could reconcile itself with Benedict's beloved logos.

The Pope speaks much of religious tolerance in his lecture. Unfortunately for him, the church's historical treatment of its religious others has been marked by violence and aggression, against pagans, Jews, heretics and infidels alike.

Not a day goes by without calls to reform Islam being raised-a mission which Pope Benedict XVI has declared impossible. Perhaps it is time to make the same demand of Catholicism and its infallible head. It certainly needs to introduce dramatic reforms to its terrifying conception of Islam, its prophet and followers. Rather than apologising for the church's bloody legacy against Muslims in the dark years of the Crusades and Reconquista, the Pope has chosen to twist the knife in the old wound. He has driven the gulf between the two faiths even wider. He has again pitted the cross against the crescent.

The Pope's statements have done much to convince Muslims from Tangier to Jakarta that an open war is being waged against them on three fronts: political, military and religious. The pontiff should not be surprised that his words generated such strong responses in a Muslim world seething with rage at being dragged back to the age of colonialism and civilising missions. Who is to convince Muslims now that the west is not waging a crusade against them, in an alliance between Bush and Benedict, between the powers of the temporal and the sacred?"

There are people out there who need to get off their butts and run for office, become journalists, or take on other professions and avocations which would lead to some sort of clearer understanding between peoples in these sticky areas.


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