Pope Benedict XVI spoke recently in Germany, and as I see it, he spoke the truth while quoting another person.
In his speech at Regensburg University, the German-born pontiff explored the historical and philosophical differences between Islam and Christianity and the relationship between violence and faith.
Stressing that they were not his own words, he quoted Emperor Manual II Paleologos of the Byzantine Empire, the Orthodox Christian empire which had its capital in what is now the Turkish city of Istanbul.
The emperor’s words were, he said: “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.”
The Pope’s comments were followed quickly with predictable responses from members of the “Religion of Peace:”
Religious leader Ali Bardakoglu said the Pope’s comments represented what he called an “abhorrent, hostile and prejudiced point of view”.
A senior Pakistani Islamic scholar, Javed Ahmed Gamdi, said jihad was not about spreading Islam with the sword.
Well, if jihad isn’t about spreading Islam with the sword, Gamdi had better get the word out to his co-religionists. Here’s what a few of Gamdi’s fellow Muslims proclaimed in 1998 about the nature of jihad:
And ulema have throughout Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries. This was revealed by Imam Bin-Qadamah in “Al- Mughni,” Imam al-Kisa’i in “Al-Bada’i,” al-Qurtubi in his interpretation, and the shaykh of al-Islam in his books, where he said: “As for the fighting to repulse [an enemy], it is aimed at defending sanctity and religion, and it is a duty as agreed [by the ulema]. Nothing is more sacred than belief except repulsing an enemy who is attacking religion and life.”
On that basis, and in compliance with God’s order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims:
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, “and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,” and “fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God.”
So, Mr. Gamdi, if this fatwa is wrong, I’d like to see where you publicly proclaimed that it is wrong. I’d like to see a fatwa or two from you against Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu-Yasir Rifa’i Ahmad Taha, Shaykh Mir Hamzah, and Fazlul Rahman, who issued that proclamation back in 1998.
As for Bardokoglu, who called the Pope’s quoted text an “abhorrent, hostile and prejudiced point of view”–I’d like him, or any other Muslim apologist, to point out some teaching unique to Mohammed that isn’t evil and inhuman, just as Emperor Paleologos said.