Misguided advice by Pope

24th Dec 2014

The role of any religious leader carries immense responsibility. They are a spiritual and moral guide for followers and are generally held in high esteem as an authoritative teacher and the ultimate interpreter of holy scriptures. As a source of inspiration, they can be an example to all as a model to aspire to.

As the head of the Catholic Church, the Pope is therefore in a unique position as the leader of the largest religious denomination in the world. It is estimated that around a third of the earth’s total population is Christian, of which just over half look towards the Vatican for guidance. The papacy is one of the most enduring institutions and has played a prominent part in world history.

Holding such a mantle for just 18 months, one would have thought that Pope Francis would be particularly careful when talking about other religions. His appointment confers the supreme office of ecclesiastical jurisdiction appertaining to his own faith. Yet like leaders in other fields, no doubt that outside his main remit, there is significant reliance on his advisors.

Speaking Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Ukrainian and Piedmontese as well as Latin, the 77-year old Argentinian would be expected to be well versed in semantics of words. But whether it was lost in translation or taken out of context, it seems like he has took it upon himself to advise Muslim leaders on what to do to combat Islamophobia, according to headlines from his press conference on his return from a trip to Turkey.

To help the majority of Muslims, the Pontiff suggested to Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan, that the onus is on all Muslim leaders to condemn terrorism claimed to be carried out in the name of their religion. The Pope argued that the duty was on Muslim leaders to help stop the Islamophobia by issuing the global condemnation of terrorism.

In doing so, he was falling into the same trap as some Western leaders, who continually insist that groups like al-Qa’ida and ISIS are not politically motivated but led by a distorted interpretation of Islam.

Countries like Britain have concocted the scurrilous idea that Muslims are more susceptible than others to the influence of extremist propaganda and therefore need to be monitored from cradle to grave. Using such labels as Islamists and Jihadists has stereotyped the whole community as would-be terrorist. In turn, the UK Government has put the same emphasis on Muslim leaders to universally condemn such hideous and despicable deeds being carried out in places like Iraq and Syria as if it was needed to differentiate between terrorism and Islam.

It is not for the Pope to do the bidding of Western states. His trip to Turkey was doubtlessly made to build bridges with other religions. Muslim leaders around the world have already been vociferous in condemning terrorism but they have had little sympathy in facing the wrath of Islamophobia exacerbated by wrong-headed policies and careless words of politicians. Islamophobia against Muslims is therefore not because they have not condemned terrorism enough. One of the main reasons is because of the comments like the Pope made by accusing Muslims of not condemning terrorism. What this does is send a wrong message to his followers and the rest of the world that Muslims are condoning terrorism by not condemning it.

7 Responses to “Misguided advice by Pope”

Mohammed AminDecember 24, 2014

If you read what the leaders of ISIS say, there is no doubt that they are strongly motivated by their belief in Islam. To argue otherwise is to close one’s eyes to the facts.

The question then is whether ISIS are viewing Islam correctly or incorrectly. In the view of Pope Francis, and also of myself, ISIS have “a distorted interpretation of Islam.”

The alternative, put forward both by extremists and by many anti-Muslim bigots, is to argue that ISIS’s view of Islam is the correct one.

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FAROOKDecember 24, 2014

WAS NOT THE 1945 POPE FRIEND OF HITLER.

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Zyad AbdulrahmanJanuary 4, 2015

The continous intervention of western forces in Muslim affairs is the MAIN reason why radical groups rise to defend Muslim land in the absent of any democracy in Muslim countries which run as farm by ruling families and dictators. The last 200 years or so, Muslim world had suffer great deal on the hand of the west. Occupation, stealing natural resources and create generations of people disadvantaged and opressed. The pope and his predessors have lead a crusade to Liberate Jerusalem from infidels (Muslims), that took the lives of millions of Muslims.
Util and unless the west address this issue deeply, the hate and the distrust will continue and you will see groups worse than al Qa3da and Da3sh.

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Jeremy StirlingJanuary 4, 2015

The Pope, The West and Islam.

I disagree with your views regarding the Pope’s comments on terrorism and islamic extreemism. It is true that most of the conflicts in Muslim countries have started as political reactions against authoritrian regimes, but in many countries those reasonable reactions have been overtaken by movements that are intent on establishing a form of Islam that has nothing to do with politics in the true sense and everything to do with blind extreemism. The west has had similar occurrences. Hitler and Mussolini, Franco in Italy, Stalin….all may have started as political movements but each in its own way developed into a “terrorist” philosophy.
Back to Islamic extreemism. I am saddened to read of young Muslim men refering to “the Crusaders” as if they were the most terrible things ever happened. Look at the facts. There were 9 crusades. 4 major and 5 minor. Between the years 1090 and 1295 approximately. Most ended in failure but were started in an attempt to recover the “Holy Lands” for Christianity after they had been over run by force of arms by Muslim invaders. The Muslim expansion into non muslim worlds started in Mohammed’s lifetime. Arab priates were raiding countries as far away as Ireland and Iceland in the 17th Century. The Moors conquered Spain and lived as conquerers for 700 years. The Ottomans were finally defeated at the battle of Vienna around 1683, but the Austrian:Ottoman war rumbled on for another 15 years. Arab conquerers took and occupied Greek and Italian Islands for several hundred years. Yes, European countries occupied African and Asian countries in the 19th and 20th Century but only for a realtively short period of time and driven by economic inerests. When it comes to who has done most damage to whom, I suggest that over the millenia the Western world has suffered much more at the hands of islam than the other way round. And in the modern era, Muslim on Muslim genocide has been appaling (Algeria, Syria, Pakistan, Nigeria etc).
Islam and Christianity are both mono theoistic religeons. We both worship the same one God but in different ways. For example, Christ teaches us:

“If your enemy smites you on the cheek, turn the other to him so he may smite that also”
“Bless those who persecute you. Do good to those who do evil to you”

The Bible gives no call for such a thing as “Holy War”. Politicians and leaders may have treid to define a “just war” over the ages, but it is not in the Christian DNA. Any attempt at justification is political.

Likewise, Christianity makes us all responsible for our own actions and thoughts. We do not blame a woman for looking beautiful or being a distraction, It is up to each of us to manage and control our own thoughts and not try and blame others for our own failings.

So back to terrorism. National movements may have started as political movements but have been hijacked by evil people and if Islam does bot stand up to them I fear that relatively tollerant countries such as Britain might become very intollerant which would be a great Pity. Isalm needs to put its own house in order.

Regarding who has hurt whom most. Islam has nearly 1400 years of history of being agressive to Europe and its peoples. Much more than Europe on Islam.

And in its early days my faith spent 300 years being persecuted by the Romans before it baceme a state religeon. That happened because of example, not the sword. And I suggest that in any line by line comparison what Christianity offers – faults and all – it is much more relevant to the 21st century than any other alternative.

Some thoughts from mthe other side of he fence.

Jeremy Stirling

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Zyad AbdulrahmanJanuary 14, 2015

Few points worth mentioning here regarding what you said:
1. Comparing so called “Islamic Extremism” to Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and Stalin, is really laughable.
Millions have perished in WWII because of Christian Europe wars among each other’s.
Hitler committed genocide against other races.
Hardly a compare cent between freedom struggle with lust for blood and dominance.

2. Muslims were not Invaders of their own land. Arab tribes inhabited what is now known as Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. Some of these tribes were Christians and others non-believers. These Arab countries were invaded by Alexander. Romans and then Byzantines.

3. When Arabs regained their land from Persians and Byzantines, they headed to Africa and Spain. They spread the word of Islam and civilization in these countries. Never done any savage killing like Euro invaders.

4. Crusaders have committed so many massacres in Muslim land, particularly in Jerusalem. Hundred thousands of Muslims were slaughtered.

5. Muslims and Christians are NOT worshiping the same god. You worship Jesus who is partially human and partially god. Or he is son of god. Or he is part of the trinity. While Muslims worship one god called “Allah” who is the creator of universe. Muslims recognize and revere Eissa (Jesus) as a prophet of Allah, just like Moses and Mohammed and the rest of the prophets. Christians do NOT recognize Mohammed as a prophet of Allah.

6. The “Smite on the cheek” example contradict very much with what Christian Europe has done to so many nations in terms of invasion, war, occupation and mass killing:

– Spanish invasion of the Americas 1492 – onward slaughtering nearly all Native Americans ( approx. 50 millions).
– Purtogues’ invasion of Africa, Arabia and India around 1510 which resulted in occupation of many countries and the killing of many.
– UK invasion of Arabia, Persia, India, China and Yemen in 1820 on ward.
– The Invasion of Egypt by Napoleon of France in 1798 for 3 years.
– The invasion of North African countries in 1830s by France. Algeria alone produced 1 M martyr.
– The invasion of Egypt and Sudan in 1882 by Britain.
– WWI European powers fought for supremacy and control of other nations resulted in many millions of lives. The result of which the occupation of Syria and Lebanon by France. Jordan, Palestine and Iraq.
– Britain allowed 100s of Jews to move to Palestine and declared the Balfour declaration in 1917 promising Jews of a home land in Palestine. A declaration of UK who does not own Palestine to give it to un worthy Jews. Like for example I promise to give London to Pakistanis. By doing so, UK has sawn the seed of conflict between Palestinians and Jews in modern time. UK has inflected great tragedy and despair upon Palestinians who is suffering since.

– WWII Hitler has forced Jews to flee to all countries and UK and US shipped them to Palestine, which in 1948 conspired with so called UN to divide Palestine and give Jews a home land. Stuff the Palestinians.

– US (Christian) drop nuclear on Japan killing 100,000 Japanese instantly.

– Millions of people perish as a result of Christian Europe waging war against each other and other nations which have nothing to do with this war.

– Korean war in 1950s by Christians

– Vietnam War by US; 1 Million Vietnamese were killed.

– Israel along with France and Britain wage war against Egypt in 1956

– Israel with full support of UK, Germany, France and the US attacked 3 Arab countries and swallowed more Arab land.

– Russia invades Afghanistan in 1979

– Us and other 30 countries attack Iraq and destroy the country in 1991.

– Us invade Iraq in 2003 killing 1 Million Iraqis, destroy the infrastructure of the country, stealing old artifacts and religious scripts, controlling oil fields and making millions of Iraqis immigrate.

– Israel attacked Gaza several time using banned substances from Christian west since 2008 onward.

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L LuddJanuary 23, 2015

Zyad Abdulrahman
January 4, 2015

The continous intervention of western forces in Muslim affairs is the MAIN reason why radical groups rise to defend Muslim land in the absent of any democracy in Muslim countries which run as farm by ruling families and dictators.

a] Ruling families and dictators were in fact Muslims. Your problem not ours.
b] I would be only too happy to pull out all western forces from Muslim Countries on the proviso 1] no more western aid to these countries and 2] Any would be Immigrants from Muslim Countries, be they Political or Economic. Are immediately deported, no appeals. finally c] Any Muslim who violently protests about how the west manages its affairs, they and their immediate family are deported, no appeals.

Just a further point, how far back in history do you go. The Romans conquered England, The Normans conquered England, but the English still don’t bitch about it. It is past, learn from it and get over it. Instead of whining every one does not like us, plus we are perfect.

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Zyad AbdulrahmanJanuary 27, 2015

L Ludd
A] Ruling families and dictators were in fact Muslims. Your problem not ours.
Dictators were running the countries with full help and support of Euros, US and Russia
Who support Assad now? Russia
Who supported Kaddafi reign of Terror for 40 years? Europe

b] I would be only too happy to pull out all western forces from Muslim Countries on the provision
1] No more western aid to these countries
What aid? Aid is given for a price if any. Russia aid Assad to keep influence over that country
Ali of Tunis was given aid to keep Tunis secular and pro-western
In 1992, FIS movement won the election in Algeria, France supported the
Military to take over and civil war broke because of that.

And 2] any would be Immigrants from Muslim Countries, be they Political or Economic. Are immediately deported, no appeals
France allowed North Africans to immigrate in 50s and 60s to fill gap in the labor market which the French did not want to do (menial jobs)
Britain allowed Indians to immigrate for the same reason
Germany has large population of Turks for the same reason
Some 2nd and 3rd generations were born in these countries and became citizens. You want to deport them?
Finally
c] Any Muslim who violently protests about how the west manages its affairs, they and their immediate family are deported, no appeals.
Statistically speaking, very small percent of Muslims commit terrorist acts as a response to western intervention in Muslim countries. If these people tried and convicted, go ahead and deport them. You cannot collectively punish a whole faith and community because one lone wolf decided to commit a crime. Justice is indivisible so you have to apply these procedures on all ethnic and religious minorities not singling out Muslims only.

Just a further point, how far back in history do you go. The Romans conquered England, The Normans conquered England, but the English still don’t bitch about it. It is past, learn from it and get over it. Instead of whining everyone does not like us, plus we are perfect.

This is not whining, it is a historical fact, that struggle between Islam and Christianity and later Judaism, have been for centuries until today. No one single Arab country had any period of peace without western intervention. How would you see these communities grow and evolve normally?

An example of western intervention which had a profound imlication on the Arab and Muslim worlds. Killed millions of lives, destroyed the eco system in addition to 100s of billions of dollars loss to economies of these countries:
Iraq and Kuwait had issues regarding oil prices which resulted in Iraq invasion of Kuwait
Usually, this is solved by political means to reach a stelement by these 2 countries and its internal Arab affairs like the late king Hussain stated.
US and UK moblized 30 or so countries to fight Iraq and kicked out of Kuwait.
The aftermath of that still rosining until today. Security and stability in the region have never been restored since

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