The Pope’s remarks were almost indefinitely deliberate. Certainly the Islamic response was calculated before his address.
While the reaction of Muslims regarding the Pope’s remarks might not have been justified; the Pope’s choice of text to quote is concerning. While he is deeply ‘sorry’ for the inconvenience to Muslims, he fell short of retracting his words. It might not mean anything to the secular of society or even some western nations, like Australia, who failed to give proper coverage to the events; however it is deeply worrying for all prominent figures.
The Vatican comprises many spokespeople and advisers; surely the reaction was measured. The Pope and his advisers would have certainly known the quotes would infuriate all Muslims and Christian-Judo-Buddhist-Hindu left wingers. Its aim was to ‘open’ dialogue between religions; on the contrary the parallel of violence to a religion is undisputedly a close.
To slander the Prophet of Islam is no way to get diplomatic advocating from Muslims or an assent from Christians.
Christian clergies instantaneously responded to the remarks and denounced them. News of Christian discord traveled fast to Islamic regions who at the time didn’t even know what the controversy was all about. Effectively, this paved the way for all Muslims to criticise the Pope without even reading his speech. Al-Jazeera spontaneously posted the Pope’s remarks for their viewers and the BBC followed suit.
The most notable castigation was the “New York Times,” sometimes itself criticised for being too Pro-Muslim, Pro-Lebanon and anti-Israeli. “The New York Times” was the bluntest when it demanded the Pope apologise to all Muslims. NY Times said ‘Benedict XVI needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology for his hurtful speech.‘ Apparently the NY Times claimed the Pope gave the ‘wrong idea’ about Christianity and implicated him as a ‘politician.’
Yahoo/Google made it transparent where they stood when they proclaimed in headlines ‘Pope enjoys private time after slamming Islam.’ Google was immediately condemned for ‘irresponsible journalism.’
Other global response
English left of centre paper, The Guardian, criticised the Pope as ‘God’s rotweiler.’ In Israel, Jews defended Muslims, calling the Pope an ’embarrassment’ in their most conspicuous media outlet, “The Haaretz.” The same paper went so far as to defend Muslims and claim the term ‘holy war’ was invented by the Christian Pope Urban II who sent his ‘Christian soldiers’ off to ‘massacre the Muslims and Jews’ simply for ‘refusing to convert to Christianity.’ In Russia, The Moscow Times called the controversy the ‘worst crisis’ and President Vladimir Putin called for religious ‘restraint.’
What the Pope did was beyond naive; albeit insensitive. His words were either intentionally callow or simply uncalculated; if it is the latter, than the Pope has proven he is inept.
While hundreds of theologists and political analysts try to decipher the underlying ‘reason’ for his speech, the rest of the universe will sit back and watch the layers of the pious world unfold.
The scathing response by Muslims in underdeveloped countries may be out of order but their assailant deportment has managed to get them a ‘sorry,’ one that is arguably deserved. The Pope has been scrutinised for distorting the Islamic religion. However a minority of Muslims have also been criticised for countering violently. Any violence perpetrated in response to the remarks will remain unorthodox and unholy.
The solution to this problem may prove to be insurmountable and not imminent.