Friday, September 15, 2006

Violence = Tolerance?

While reading coverage of the backlash over the pope quoting a 14th century Christian emperor, I found a very interesting quote from a Pakistan spokeswoman:

"Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.

Statements should not be made that offend Islam because it will incite violence? Violence over comments you disagree with does not sound like tolerance to me.

Here is what the pope said:
"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war,. He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed 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."'

Now, the pope’s comments were inappropriate and hypocritical – the Catholic Church did quite a bit of spreading the faith by sword during the Middle Ages – but the proper response is debate and education, not mass protests where the pope’s image is burned in the street.

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