Perhaps I didn’t make myself absolutely clear in m…

Perhaps I didn’t make myself absolutely clear in my last post. I do not consider the author known as Ninglun a supporter of the Sheikh whose comments (and his remarks on such) caused a rift (of sorts) between us as of late. I make this point for two reasons:

– It was implied that I didn’t know/understand/comprehend this in this post. I appreciate the fact that he does not support the statements made;
– I think it needed further clarification, if the person my comments were concerned about couldn’t see that I mean this.

The main aim of my post was to explain that the author appeared to defend the right of ultimate freedom of speech in quoting an example a different scenario, Christian no less. In doing so, in my mind, without actually supporting what the Sheikh said, he was supporting that he could say such a thing. That, in my mind, is wrong (though not nearly as wrong as what was actually said, and I commend Ninglun on making clear that not only does he totally disagree with what was said, but that he is, in a sense, encouraging debate about such an issue).

While also reading that post, I saw that Ninglun had also quoted an author by the blog of The Kashmiri Nomad, who, while also denouncing the views of the Sheikh, also felt the need to quote (not surprisingly, as I expected to see this issue re-surface in the actual thought-inducing, free speech blog-world) the point that I used in support of my argument, Pope Benedict XVI’s speech which included the (real) quote of:

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.

I don’t presume to assume with this person, however, it is my belief that one cannot (without being intrinsically incorrect of misinformed) contrast these two events, in these circumstances, in any way that will justify one or the other (or a third scenario). Anyway, here is the paragraph, in entirety (with due note), and hopefully, people will come to realise that the Pope was not saying Islam was spread by the sword, but that there is no room for compulsion in religion. A big difference in the scheme of things (and the ‘quotability’ of that line):

In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that sura 2, 256 reads: “There is no compulsion in religion”. According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels”, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: “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”. The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. “God”, he 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…

All this talk about Gods and media and what not has caused me to think I will write a religion-centred post now …

Thomas.

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