Most will lunge at the third paragraph but the whole piece is right there in the opening line. It’s an all-weather rejoinder to any criticism, however meritorious, of Muslims, who happen to be the source of most of that unspecified “religious anger” the Times is so wary of. Don’t provoke them, they’re saying; it’ll only make things worse. Not a word is wasted on the filth that pours regularly from the lips of Islamic religious authorities around the world. Instead they blame the Pope for having “fomented discord” and jeopardized interfaith relations by being a little too much of a stickler when it comes to “uniform Catholic identity.” The Pope. Not, say, the Saudis.
And so Fallaci gains a few new readers.
For a concise yet nuanced treatment of the Pope’s opinions about Islam, read this superb little summary by Damian Thompson in the Daily Telegraph. See if there’s anything in there that rings false to you. Quote:
Benedict would emphasise that the Islamic understanding of God is radically different from that of Christians.
He has also refrained from issuing the apologies for historical misdeeds made by John Paul II, arguing that they are never reciprocated…
He does not believe that the Koran condones terrorism; he bears no animosity towards peace-loving Muslims; but he is worried that the aggressive ethos of authentic Islam may provoke a crisis in Western society. And if the price of making that point is a “diplomatic blunder”, then so be it.