AN EXCELLENT COMMENT
By Khalid Amayreh
"Yes, we both have our misunderstandings and misgivings and peculiar beliefs and convictions, both as individuals and as religious and cultural communities. However, it would be unforgivable if we allowed these differences to marginalize let alone neutralize the fundamental common grounds between our religions, commonly called the Abrahamic religions.
There is always a huge reservoir of quotes, positive and negative, about religions and religious symbols. A Muslim or non-Muslim could easily amass a preponderance of quotes and texts from the Old Testament, for example, to prove that the Bible advocates murder.
In truth, the Prophet of Islam, Muahmmed (Peace be on him), never ever really called for spreading religion with the sword. The Quran states in Surat (chapter) al-Nahl, v. 134, “Invite to the path of thy Lord with wisdom and good advice, and argue with them kindly, for Thy Lord is well aware of those who go astray and He is aware of those who follow true guidance.”
Indeed, the very next verse states that “if thou should punish (aggressors) punish only in proportion to the aggression inflicted upon you, but if ye be patient, it will be better for the patient.”
Let us take Indonesia , the largest Muslim country in terms of population size, as an example. Historically, it is well known that no Muslim armies had ever set foot on the huge archipelago. Yet all these millions chose to embrace the religion endeared to them by Arabian merchants and sailors who had exemplified to the natives the Islamic ideals of honesty, purity and faithfulness.
A few days ago, a Jewish lady, who had lost 8 relatives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, appeared on Aljazeera TV, explaining why she decided to revert to Islam only a few months after the landmark tragedy. She simply said that “I found truth in Islam.” The same can be said about the estimated 20,000 Americans who have embraced Islam after 9/11.
Besides, what modicum of objectivity and honesty can there be in the words of an emperor who had lost his throne and empire because of Islam.? What else would we expect from the mouth of that loser?
Furthermore, the Pope should have realized that he lives in a glass house. I want to remind him of the history of the Catholic Church upon the helm of which he now sits. It was the Church that burned scientists alive, it was the Church that invented the Indulgences and Simony systems, it was the Catholic world that invented the Inquisitions, the pogroms, and all other abominations associated with its dark practices against critics and opponents, including Christians who didn’t extend fealty to Rome .
And the Crusades? And the Holocaust? Must we re-open these dark chapters again? Do we have to remind his holiness that in the past century alone, over a hundred million Christians were killed by other Christians in numerous wars, including two world wars? May we remind his holiness that he himself sixty years ago was a member of the Hitler Youth? And then how about the spread of Catholicism in South America ? Was it done through the example of platonic love and self-abnegation?"