No violence yet, but give it time. It was months after the Mohammed cartoons were published before the first embassy went up in smoke.
For now, the fuming is purely metaphorical, although the head of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood — which gave young Ayman al-Zawahiri his start in fundamentalism — did hint yesterday that insulting the prophet could “trigger wars.” That comes straight from the MB’s English-language website, by the way. You’ll find it tucked in between a fawning interview with Zawahiri’s elderly uncle and a preemptive reminder that “Israel Will Be Responsible For The Next 9/11.”
Turkey’s top religious official says the Pope’s visit this winter is in jeopardy. The leader of one of Kuwait’s religious parties called on Arab Muslim states to recall their ambassadors from the Vatican. But the prize for best reaction goes to our pal Sheikh Qaradawi of al-Azhar University, who urged Benedict to listen to “reason”:
In Qatar, prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi rejected the Pope’s comments and said Islam was a religion of peace and reason.
“Muslims have the right to be angry and hurt by these comments from the highest cleric in Christianity,” Qaradawi told Al Jazeera television. “We ask the pope to apologize to the Muslim nation for insulting its religion, its Prophet and its beliefs.”
Qaradawi last appeared on this site in a video in which he congratulated Mel Gibson for portraying Jews as Christkillers. He’s given more than one sermon during Friday prayers calling upon God to “destroy the aggressor, treacherous Jews,” and he’s used his considerable influence to declare the killing of Americans in Iraq — including American civilians — a religious duty. He also thinks homosexuality should be punished, but as to whether that punishment should involve being thrown from cliffs, burned alive, or something lesser, he acknowledges there’s disagreement.