The clamour of those who want an apology from Pope Benedict is, as usual, confected. Imams, muftis and preachers of Islam feel exposed by the Pope's reference to its history of conversion by violence which the Pope illustrates is not in accordance with reason, and is contrary to God's nature.
Islamic leaders seeing their influence challenged, resent a reasoned analysis of Islam, claiming it is insulting and warranting an apology.
The escalating reactions, demands and threats substantiate the Pope's claim that Islam fosters a mindset that approves violence as a means of responding to opponents to its viewpoint.
Though the Koran at Surah 2, 256 reads: ‘There is no compulsion in religion’ there are a multitude of verses advocating violence against infidels if they are not persuaded to convert to Islam. For example, in 9:123: ‘O you who believe, fight those of the unbelievers near you and let them see how harsh you can be. Know that Allah is with the righteous.’ The injunction is to deal with unbelievers, even 'near' relations as well as those geographically proximate. Surah 9 also rebukes Muslims who see jihad only as a struggle of the soul and not of a military nature.
The previous Pope apologised for the past wrongs of Catholics. The present Pope need not apologise for an analysis of Islam.
The world is tired of the victim role adopted by Islamic leaders to excite volatile reactions. It awaits apologies and even acknowledgements for the litany of crimes against humanity committed in the name of Islam.
GREGORY F.J. O'REGAN