Friday, September 15, 2006

OP-ED: The Passion of the Pope, By Ray Hanania

The passion of the Pope
By Ray Hanania

Hey Pope, haven’t you figured something out that most people already know?

Extremist in the Islamic world have more weight on public opinion than the moderates who fear violence, bullying and retribution if they dare to questions the extremist lines.

I am no scholar on Islam, but I am very experienced on the issue of Christian Arab persecution and bullying by religious fanatics in the Islamic world.

The real problem with the Arab and Islamic world is not the religion of Islam, which is a religion based on peace and purity of thought.

No, the real problem is the small cabal of extremists and tyrants in the Islamic World who claim to interpret not only what Islam means, like Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and a handful of other characters.

These fanatics have distorted the true meaning of Islam, and the moderates in the Islamic world are afraid to speak out against them.

You can’t blame them. After all, if they speak out against the extremists, they face opposition from two different sides.

On the one hand, the extremists will initiate violence, intimidation and other forms of oppression on the people who dare to challenge their distortion of Islamic principles.

And on the other hand, people like you, President Bush and many Western leaders can’t tell the difference between moderates and extremists in the Arab and Muslim World, so you allow the extremists to bully and threaten the moderates giving them no support.

What you said Pope Benedict was, well, stupid. If you can point out that the Prophet Mohammed urged his followers to spread the word of Islam by the sword, it can also be said that your predecessors at the Vatican also more violently imposed the extremist will of Christian fanaticism on the world.

I mean, the Inquisition was not a Muslim court. It was the result of extremist Christians.
The terms "Jihad" and "Crusade" are words that have many meanings of noble struggle when used by moderates and of unjust violence when embraced by the fanatics.

The Sword of Christian fanaticism is a bloodied as any scimitar you might reference from the deep and dark pages of the ancient past.

Rather than promote peace and love, your comments only serve to throw kerosene on a raging fire that was started, I might add, by extremist Christians who sought to divide and control the Arab and Islamic Worlds when they were only known as Oil Fields after World War I.

The West handpicked the tyrants and the monarchs who ruled the Arab and Muslim World, some of whom today have been ejected from the Western fraternity of International tyranny.

Let’s face it, Pope, you may not like the words, for example, of Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, but he is the product of a world the West create. The United States CIA murdered the duly elected president of Iran and then installed a meglomaniac religious fanatic who declared himself not just a king, but the king of kings – Shah in Shah. And the Shah of Iran oppressed and murdered more innocent victims in his first two years in power than Saddam Hussein killed in the late 1980s who plotted against his American-allied dictatorship.

I don’t blame you for not knowing history, Pope. Like most Westerners, you probably grew up learning about the Middle East and the Arab and Muslim Worlds from Hollywood movies and from the Western Media.

They’re not exactly the most reliable sources for accurate news and information, if you haven’t already figured that out. The mainstream Western media is in fact the fuel behind the bigotry and racism that provokes the victims into resistance, revolution and the overthrow of the governments the West has always sought to impose on the people of the Middle East.

Of course, maybe this is a strategy that I have not yet recognized. Let’s start a fight with the Muslims in order to deflect eyes and focus away from the constant revelations about the Catholic Church’s complicity in the Holocaust and the murder by an avowed Christian, Adolph Hitler, of more than 6 million Jews, 5 million gypsies, invalids, and ethnic minorities, and more than 40 million other people including Russians and people of Eastern Europe.

Yea, the Pope who was in charge during that war wasn’t exactly the model of principle or morality.

And today, the Christian World is happy to take the Holocaust and the Western hostility against Jews and cast it upon the people of the Arab and Muslim World who with only one minor exception because of pure political opportunity, was uninvolved.

I think you should apologize, Pope Benedict.

But then I also think that many in the Islamic World including most of their leaders should also offer an apology of their own to Christian and Jewish minorities whom they say they treat with respect but abuse, mistreat and disrespect all the time.

That is besides the point of your rather inappropriate comments, of course.

But in the end, everyone has some blame for the tragedies that have engulfed today’s worlds, don’t they all?

(Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist, author and co-founder of the National Arab American Journalists Association. He can be reached at