Cardinal Pell: Pope Rage "showed the link for many Islamists between religion and violence, their refusal to respond to criticism with rational arguments, but only with demonstrations, threats and actual violence"
...Cardinal George Pell says "the violent reactions in many parts of the Islamic world" to a speech by Pope Benedict justified one of the very fears expressed in that address. "They showed the link for many Islamists between religion and violence, their refusal to respond to criticism with rational arguments, but only with demonstrations, threats and actual violence," Cardinal Pell said in a statement yesterday.
He described as "unfortunately typical and unhelpful" attacks on the Pope's comments by two local Muslims, Taj el-Din al Hilaly, the Mufti of Australia, and Ameer Ali, from the Government's Muslim advisory committee....
Cardinal Pell begins by saying it is a sign of hope that "no organised violence has flared here in Australia … No one compared the Pope to Hitler or Mussolini (as in Turkey) or called for his murder as Sheik Malin did in Somalia. No group like the League of Jihadists in Iraq promised 'that the soldiers of Muhammad will come sooner or later to shake your throne and the foundations of your state'."
He adds: "Our major priority must be to maintain peace and harmony within the Australian community, but no lasting achievements can be grounded in fantasies and evasions."
He then details his criticisms of Sheik Hilaly and Dr Ali.
"It is always someone else's fault and issues touching on the nature of Islam are ignored.
"Sheik al-Hilaly often responds to criticism by questioning the intelligence and competence of the questioner or critic. So too with the Pope, whose speech he claimed was not what was expected of a holy person and indeed 'the Church needs to re-examine its thoughts about someone who doesn't have the qualities or good grasp of Christian character or knowledge'."
Cardinal Pell said Dr Ali misunderstood the Pope's speech and "called on Pope Benedict to be more like Pope John Paul II than Pope Urban II, who called the First Crusade. In fact the Pope's long speech was more about the weaknesses of the Western world, its irreligion and disdain for religion and he explicitly rejected linking religion and violence. He won't be calling any crusade."
But Cardinal Pell added: "Today Westerners often link genuine religious expression with peace and tolerance. Today most Muslims identify genuine religion with submission (Islam) to the commands of the Koran. They are proud of the spectacular military expansion across continents especially in the decades after the prophet's death. This is seen as a sign of God's blessing. Friends of Islam in Australia have genuine questions, which need to be addressed, not regularly avoided. We are grateful for those moderate Muslims who have spoken publicly."
Sheik Hilaly said Muslims had a right to be angered by the Pope's "veiled and not-so-veiled insults". But he agreed Muslims must answer hard questions and that terrorists misquoted religious texts to justify murders.
Posted by Robert