Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Pope on Islam

BBC Story 9/14/2006

The Pope just pissed off many Muslims by using the critique of Islam by quoting Byzantine Emperor, Manuel II Paleologus.

I don't see why Christian leaders should not state what they think; Islamic clerics have no compunction about doing so.

What the pope cannot say is what is really true. That Western Christianity enabled a secular Englightenment that created a dynamic tension in the West, a tension that has enabled it to innovate and produce wealth in ways entirely impossible in the rigid religious framework of many modern Islamic states.

Those conservative states in the Arab world have got by on oil wealth, but in fact it is the Islamic countries (such as India [with a hugh Muslim population], Malaysia, and Pakistan) where some tension exists between religion and modernity that have been the most successful.

What the pope cannot say in other words, is that what the Islamic world needs is not no religion, but a liberal secular sector to keep religion in check.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting observation, especially about India... examining economic factors (what types of Islamic youths are prone to radicalism?) and distinguishing between the rhetoric of Islamic extremism vs. mainstream Islam would provide more nuance than the Pope offered in his speech.