In other words, the new pope must not speak the truth about jihad and Islamic supremacism — or else. The papacy of Benedict XVI offered numerous illustrations of this. “Muslims Seek Dialogue With Next Pope,” by Harvey Morris for the New York Times, March 1:
LONDON “” As the Catholic Church”s cardinal electors gather at the Vatican to choose a new pope, Muslim leaders are urging a revival of the often troubled dialogue between the two faiths.
During the papacy of Benedict XVI, relations between the world”s two largest religions were overshadowed by remarks he made in 2006 that were widely condemned as an attack on Islam.
Not by rampant, worldwide Muslim persecution of Christians. No, that didn’t hurt relations at all. Only Benedict’s remarks were at fault.
In a speech at Regensburg University in his native Germany, Benedict quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor as saying, “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.”
In the face of protests from the Muslim world, the Vatican said the pope”s remarks had been misinterpreted and that he “deeply regretted” that the speech “sounded offensive to the sensibility of Muslim believers.”
For many in the Muslim world, however, the damage was done and the perception persisted that Benedict was hostile to Islam.
Juan Cole, a U.S. commentator on the Middle East, has suggested that although the pope backed down on some of his positions, “Pope Benedict roiled those relationships with needlessly provocative and sometimes offensive statements about Islam and Muslims.”
Juan Cole, who like Reza Aslan is on the Board of the Iranian mullah-linked National Iranian American Council, doesn’t say anything about how Muslims may have “roiled those relationships” with “needlessly provocative” and violent attacks on Christians in Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, and elsewhere. No, for him, as for all Leftist dhimmi analysts, the burden is always on the non-Muslim party to change what it says and does in order to accommodate Islam and Muslims. Muslims have no responsibility whatsoever to change their behavior to improve relationships with Christians.
In this, Cole and others like him betray an unconscious ethnocentrism that contradicts all their multicultural protestations: they view only non-Muslim Westerners as capable of reasoned action and therefore as bearing responsibility for their actions. Muslims, in their view, are helpless, passive reactors to what non-Muslims do, and are unable to control their actions and thus have no responsibility for them or need to change their behavior.
Despite the Vatican”s efforts to renew the interfaith dialogue by hosting a meeting with Muslim scholars, hostilities resumed in 2011 when the pope condemned alleged discrimination against Egypt”s Coptic Christians in the wake of a church bombing in Alexandria.
Al Azhar University in Cairo, the center of Islamic learning, froze relations with the Vatican in protest.
Muslim persecution of the Egyptian Christians is widespread and increasing, but Al Azhar was infuriated not with that persecution, but with the Pope’s daring to notice it. He should have heeded the advice Muhammad Atta gave to the passengers on the plane he hijacked on September 11, 2001: “Stay quiet and you’ll be OK.” Except they weren’t.
Following the pope”s decision to step down, Mahmud Azab, an adviser on interfaith dialogue to the head of Al Azhar, said, “The resumption of ties with the Vatican hinges on the new atmosphere created by the new pope. The initiative is now in the Vatican”s hands.”
Mahmoud Ashour, a senior Al Azhar cleric, insisted that “the new pope must not attack Islam,” according to remarks quoted by Agence France-Presse, the French news agency, and said the two religions should “complete one another, rather than compete.”…
Reem Nasr, writing at the policy debate Web site, Policymic, this week offered Benedict”s successor a five-point program to bridge the Catholic and Muslim worlds.
These included mutual respect, more papal contacts with Muslim leaders and a greater focus on what the religions had in common.
“There has been a long history of mistrust that can be overcome,” she wrote. “No one should give up just yet.”