Of course, the answer is none of the above. Khatami was not referring to any of those incidents of Muslim violence against Christians, or persecution and harassment of Christians, all of which took place during the last month. No, what Khatami was referring to was the Pope’s speech at Regenburg that touched off the Pope Rage riots of last year — and why? Because the Pope quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor suggesting that Islam was violent.
Now consider for a moment what he could have done on this occasion. Shaking hands with the Pope, Khatami could have decried the Muslim persecution of Christians, apologized for it, and called upon Muslims to treat the “People of the Book” with all the respect that Islamic apologists in the West claim they have for them. He could have told the Pope, “I deplore your remarks about Islam and Muhammad, although I am aware that you have made it clear that you do not share those sentiments, and I have determined that the best response to them is to show the world that Islam is peaceful and rational. I ask Muslims worldwide to behave in this manner, thus removing any cause anyone might have to suspect that the Emperor Manuel II Paleologos was right about our religion and our prophet.”
But he didn’t say anything like this, of course. He just whined and played the victim, after the well-established pattern of the spokesmen for his coreligionists in the West.
By Philip Pullella for Reuters, with thanks to JS:
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami met Pope Benedict on Friday and said the wounds between Christians and Muslims were still “very deep,” including those caused by a controversial papal speech last September.
Khatami became one of the most prominent Muslim clerics to visit the
Vatican since the Pope’s controversial Regensburg speech which angered Muslims by appearing to link Islam and violence.
“These wounds are very deep. There are many wounds and they cannot heal that easily,” Khatami told a conference in Rome just before the papal meeting, when asked if the wounds that followed the Pontiff’s speech in his native Germany had been healed.
“For sure, a meeting with the Holy Father cannot be enough to heal all these wounds but at least we are making a joint effort in order to start healing these wounds,” Khatami said.