Right on schedule. Assuming he doesn’t offer a groveling apology this week, I figure we’ll see the first embassy go up sometime next Friday afternoon.
What’ll it take to satisfy the ummah? Why, just ask a “moderate” Muslim:
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, said today’s apology was a “welcome step” but the Pope needed to repudiate the views he quoted to restore relations between Muslims and the Catholic Church.
Dr Bari said: “It’s certainly a welcome step that the Pope recognises the hurt that his speech caused…
He continued: “For the restoration of good ties between Muslims and the Vatican, we feel it’s important that he repudiates the views of the emperor.
“What we want to see is a clear indication that he himself does not in any way share the emperor’s bigoted assessment of the Prophet Mohammed.”
“Good cop” Bari marked the five-year anniversary of 9/11 this week by threatening Britain with two million terrorists unless the “demonization”-slash-criticism of Muslims ceases forthwith. And after all, isn’t there enough religious anger in the world?
The Guardian turns for reaction to “moderate” intellectual Tariq Ramadan, who indulges in a little projection about cultural imperialism:
“He has said it before – that Muslims should tackle the issue of jihad and violence, but the way it was done was a bit clumsy.
“If you follow the whole lecture, though, his message is very worrying. He is saying we have to redefine what Europe is all about … to reduce the past and neglect Islamic participation. Many Islamic values are in the west. All that we knew about Aristotle in the middle ages was coming from Averroes [the 12th-century scholar in Islamic Spain].
“It’s worrying to say that Islam is disconnected from rationality.”
He wants to see the islamization of Europe. He thinks that Europeans suffer from a “spiritual emptiness” and that they are ripe for wonderful Islam. He has said that “the West is in decline, and the Arab-Islamic world is on the road to renewal” — yet that “renewal,” he believes, will take place when Islam conqueres, through his kind of Da’wa. His Da’wa, of course, is far more cunning, with far more roses than guns, than the Da’wa of Qaradawi, or of Sheikh Tantawi, and of course than the threats of Bin Laden, Zarqawi, et al.
But the goal of Ramadan is the goal of Bin Laden and indeed of all Believers: the victory of dar al-Islam over dar al-Harb, the removal of all obstacles in the dar al-Harb to the spread of Islam, and the subjugation of all non-Muslims — who will be subjugated, as they have always been subjugated over 1350 years of Muslim conquest (with not a single exception anywhere) and, as dhimmis (where not killed or converted outright), subject to a permanent status of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity.
Finally, from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood — an Islamist organization founded, believe it or not, by Tariq Ramadan’s maternal grandfather — a demand that the Pope apologize again. And this time, no press releases. They want it straight from the horse’s mouth:
Mohammed Bishr, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member in Egypt, said the statement “was not an apology” but a “pretext that the pope was quoting somebody else as saying so and so.”
“We need the pope to admit the big mistake he has committed and then agree on apologizing, because we will not accept others to apologize on his behalf,” Bishr said.
I repeat the question I posed yesterday: what did the Pope intend to achieve by saying what he said? Tucked away in Jon Meacham’s predictable isn’t-there-enough-religious-anger critique for Newsweek lies this passage:
[W]hy did Benedict quote the emperor in the first place? The most likely answer is that, no matter what the Vatican says now, the pope believes in having what the Catholic theologian and papal biographer George Weigel calls “a hard-headed conversation” about the role of faith in the life of the world. “He knew exactly what he was doing,” says Weigel. “He is saying that irrational violence is displeasing to God. The question Benedict is putting on the table is: ‘Does a significant part of Islam have the capacity to be self-critical?’”
Precisely. And in choosing to do so in such blunt terms, he’s injected himself into the central cultural conflict of the age. For this week, at least, the papacy is relevant to non-Catholics (and many Catholics, too) in ways it hasn’t been in years. He’s risking life and limb, but it’s a brilliant political maneuver.