To counter any suggestion that Islam is a violent religion, Muslims attacked churches in the West Bank, Gaza and Basra this week. In Somalia a religious leader named Abubukar Hassan Malin echoed a British religious leader named Anjem Choudary who seemed to be in agreement with a religious leader from India called Syed Ahmed Bukhari that Pope Benedict XVI had to be forced to apologize.
Forced? Bukhari left it open how, but Choudary felt that subjecting the Pontiff to "capital punishment" may be persuasive, while Malin was inclined to think that the situation called for hunting down the Holy Father and killing him "on the spot." And, perhaps to indicate that these were no idle threats, as the week wore on, an Italian nun was murdered in Somalia, along with two Assyrian Christians in Iraq.
What did the Pope do? As most readers know, he quoted a remark made by the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaeologus: "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."
Was the anointed of Byzantium on to something? The Pope certainly didn't say so. He just quoted the beleaguered emperor, who -- being squeezed between hostile Turks and demanding Venetians at the time -- had vented about the Prophet and his bellicose followers in conversation with a Persian scholar. Little did he suspect that his words would hit the fan nearly 600 years later.
"The infidelity and tyranny of the Pope will only be stopped by a major attack," announced al-Qaeda from its cave on the Afghan-Pakistani border. Al-Qaeda's political arm in New York, a.k.a. the United Nations, took no position, only using the opportunity to condemn Israel for one thing or another.
Why do some Muslims have such an uncanny talent for proving the case of their critics? When accused of violence, they threaten violence. Better still, they engage in it. "Call us unruly and we riot," they say, in essence. "Call us murderers, and we kill you." Don't they see that this makes them a joke?
Well, no, they don't -- and they're right. Saying such things may make someone a joke in a debating society, but Islamofascists fight in a different arena. They don't care about winning the debate; what they want to win is their Kampf, better known these days as Jihad.
Lo and behold, they're winning it. By now the whole world tiptoes around the sensibilities of medieval fanatics. We take pains not to offend ululating fossils who cheer suicide bombers. Or raise them. We prop up rickety regimes whose sole contribution to modern times is to nurture ancient grievances and revive barbaric customs. We worry about the feelings -- feelings! -- of people who stone their loved ones for sexual missteps. We pussyfoot to protect the delicate psyche of oily ogres who amputate the hands of petty thieves, issue fatwas on novelists and cover up their hapless wives and sisters to the eyeballs.
We do this, obviously, not because we're impressed by the logic of the Islamofascist line -- "call us murderers and we'll kill you" -- but because we're intimidated by it. The Jihadists don't care about the quality of their argument. One doesn't have to, if one's aim isn't to persuade, but to coerce. The mullahs of militant Islam aren't worried about proving their critics' case. So some pundits think we're proving Benedict XVI or Manuel II right, imams Choudary and Malin might say. Big deal. Logic may be essential for pundits. It isn't essential for our followers who are willing to blow themselves up to get their way.
Come again, slowly -- blow themselves up to get their way? Yes, sir. How's that for logic?
The sheiks and mullahs of conquering Islam don't give a hoot about the hearts and minds of the West (the place that used to be called Christendom). They figure, not without justification, that if they get us by the balls, our hearts and minds will follow. This phrase, by the way, usually attributed to John Wayne, is a rare example of successful cross-pollination between the West and the East. It comes from cowboy country, but even Taliban-types understand it.
We're fortunate, though. To grab us by the balls, the Islamofascists would first have to find them. Good luck.
Last question: Did the Pope apologize for upsetting the mobs so the poor things had to vandalize and murder? Well, that depends on what sono rammaricato means in English. The Vatican seems to think it means "I am deeply sorry," but some commentators swear it only means "I am disappointed." Personally, I'd be disappointed if it meant "I am deeply sorry" -- but that's only me.
© National Post 2006