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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
8: The Vatican demonstrating intolerance for the Muslims in Europe. Possibility
of the Pope speaking negatively toward the Muslim faith, its beliefs and the
Qur’an. He could conceivably call for a new "crusade" against Islam.
Another Islam-Christian Blow-Up on the
by Hillel Fendel
"While Christians respect Islam and desire to dialogue with Muslims,"
Pope Benedict XVI's private secretary says, "[we] must act to protect
the Christian identity of Europe."
Msgr. Georg Ganswein, the Pope's secretary, was interviewed in Friday's
edition of Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazine. Though the interview
covered many different issues, his comments about Islamic influence in
Europe, and what Catholics should do about it, may prove to be the most
Msgr. Ganswein was asked about Pope Benedict's September 2006 speech in
Regensburg, Germany, and its criticism of violent trends within Islam.
Though the Pope may have intended to warn against religious terrorism,
his remarks aroused fury throughout the Moslem world, developing into
actual violence in several places. Arabs in Palestinian
Authority-controlled areas attacked seven Christian churches, a nun was
murdered in Somalia, a call for the Pope's death was issued in London,
and Iraqi groups threatened the Vatican.
"I believe the Regensburg speech, as it is known, was prophetic," Msgr.
Ganswein told the German magazine, because it countered a "certain
naivete" among people who do not recognize that various currents exist
"Attempts at the 'Islamification' of the West cannot be denied," he
said, according to an English translation in the Catholic Explorer. "And
the associated danger for the identity of Europe cannot be ignored out
of a wrongly understood sense of respect... The Catholic side sees this
clearly and says as much." True respect, Ganswein said, is shown in a
dialogue with Muslims that is frank, open and honest.
The Pope's speech in Regensburg included a quote from a 14th-century
Christian Emperor, who said, "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." Several days
afterwards, the Pope related to the speech and the storm it caused. He
did not apologize or retract his words, but rather expressed his "deep
regret" at its consequences, saying the quote was misunderstood to be
his own opinion. He also noted his "high regard" for Islam.
It remains to be seen what type of Islamic reaction will be caused by
the papal secretary's warning against the Islamification of Europe and
the "associated danger for the identity of Europe."