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Notes & Comments

As we go to press, the predictable response from certain ill-guided Muslims following the Papal address at the University of Regensburg on 12 September has dominated the media. Little was said about the injustice of the invasion of Lebanon, even less about the mistreatment of the so- called prisoners of war or about the irresponsible comments by the Vatican and how far they have thrown the tottering Christian-Muslim dialogue and inter-faith understanding. The Pope quoted Professor Theodore Khoury (Muenster) on the part of the dialogue carried on around 1391 by the Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologus and a Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam and the truth of both and states, “Without descending to details, such as the treatment accorded to those who have the ‘Book’ and the ‘infidels’, he turns to his interlocutor…in these words: ‘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. The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unrea- sonable. Violence is incom- patible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. “God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably (“syn logo”) 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.’ These allegations are not new but have been recycled from the past. 4 The Review of Religions – September 2006 Comments &Notes STOP PRESS! There is not a single teaching of Islam that is evil or inhuman. Despite the best efforts by its opponents, there has not been found any shred of evidence to prove that Islam was spread by the sword. The entire world knows that these are untrue accusations that have been squarely dismissed. Why the Pope chose this particular passage is beyond belief. It seems that the Pope forgot the quote from the passage chosen by him to speak well and to reason properly. One can never reason with distorted lies from the past. Had the Pope forgotten that at the time of this dialogue, the Spanish Inquisition was at its full swing? Was this dark blot on Christianity not evil and opposed to humanity? If he wanted to illustrate the point about violence not chiming with God’s nature then why did he not use the Inquisition as a case in point since its historicity is beyond doubt? Perhaps, we are being unkind and should not have gone back so far but should have looked at the present. The followers of Jesus Christ(as) have been commanded to turn the other cheek but we do not see this in the wars being fought by the ‘Christian nations’ in the Middle East and beyond. It is a sad fact that more blood has been shed by Christian nations than anyone else. Who threw the bomb on Hiroshima? How much blood was shed by the First and Second World Wars? These deeds were not committed by Muslims. One hopes that Muslims will act responsibly and in accordance with the beautiful teachings of Islam rather than make a fool of themselves and give the opponents of Islam the glee to laugh at their response. True guidance is only available in true Islam and not the version pedalled by narrow-minded Muslim clerics. Mansoor Ahmed Shah 5 NOTES AND COMMENTS The Review of Religions – September 2006