The Pope & Air Quotes

So I was kind of wondering to myself, you know just as another Muslim trying to survive in this mad world, can you get away with saying something by saying someone else said it?

The Pope isn’t saying the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) is “evil and inhumane” or what he preached and how he spread it was “evil and inhumane” he’s just saying that Emperor Manual II Paleologos said it. And really, who better to quote as an authority on Islam, Jihad or the Prophet pbuh? The Pope also made certain to say “…and I quote”, possibly while bending two fingers on both hands to form air quotes during his speech.

I’m not really concerned with the Pope’s comments to be honest. I can understand why some in the Muslim world have grown angry with him considering his position of global influence, but right now I’m thinking to myself two things: “what else is new?” and “I hope this won’t lead to boycotting the Vatican; we have a lot of holy water to export”.

And while I don’t agree with the context in which the Pope was seeking to form his point, I do essentially agree with the point that religion cannot be spread through violence, which is why Islam teaches us not to in the clearest way possible but perhaps Emperor Manual II Paleologos is just a more quotable fella.

All that aside what really interested me in this incident and hence the point of this entire post was a segment from last night’s Daily Show that got me thinking: in these highly sensitive times can our redemption lie in the clever use of punctuation? Can this be the way to effectively communicate a message while guaranteeing some cover from the blame? Air quotes and questions marks?


  • This kind of statement coming from the pope is very strange, for someone in his poistion who’s supposed to be an intellic and very well education he surely knows that islam never used violence to force anyone into joining islam. and the jews and chirstians who lived peacefuly and pretected under the islmic rule at those times can testify to that.

    if the pople has something to say let him say it directly to our faces, we can counter his claims but to resort to such ways is just unbecoming of his holiness.

  • im a bit surprised actually, u hear people saying bad things about islam (and anything on their opposite) all the time, BUT THIS IS THE POPE!!
    i like the video by the way..

  • And I bet the Pope who originally said it was not involved in religious war, the supression of religious minorities, or maybe in the infamous Inquistion itself?

    As to his statement, it is wrong, and easily so. One can name one quick thing that Mohammed brought that was not evil. The practice of killing female babies in Arabia was common at that time. Mohammed put an end to that evil. An evil, incidently, still happening in India, China and other places.

    So let the originators of The Inquistion and Trial by Torture talk all they want.

  • Quote: Ibn ‘Aun reported: …The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) made a raid upon Banu Mustaliq while they were unaware and their cattle were having a drink at the water. He killed those who fought and imprisoned others. On that very day, he captured Juwairiya bint al-Harith. Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62).

    Actually, the comments were mild. Don’t Muslims read their own writings? The hadiths are full of violence by Islam’s prophet against others. Or are you going to tell me that Muslim don’t accept Buhkari, Tabari, Muslims and other ‘strong’ hadiths? There are accounts of torture, murder, mass executuions, plunder, slavery, rape and even a story of Mohammed beating Alisha (Unless “He hit me and caused me pain” means something else. Muslim 4:2127).

    This is why this infidel has no repspect for Muslims. They cannot be honest about their religion and their dear prophet.

    John Kactuz

    PS: Abu, do you consider this the work of a nice man? (hands and feet cut off, hot nails, eyes, thirst, slow death…)
    Or is there ‘good’ torture, as practiced by Islam’s prophet, and ‘bad’ torture, practiced by infidels?

  • So is this gonna be our next “Cartoon Piñata” that we beat the hell out of coz we can’t beat anything else while the hole world just moves on while they’re watching and laughing at us?

  • John, the Holy Quran says that Islam cannot be spread by the sword as there is no compulsion in religion. as for what you quoted, this is in reference to Banu Mustaliq…a part of the Quraysh tribe who were at war with the Prophet pbuh and the Muslims. Also Juwairiya bint al-Harith was imprisoned as a slave girl by Banu Mustaliq and what Bukhari says “captured”, the better translation is “freed”, at the request of her father. Both her and her father later converted to Islam and she married the Prophet pbuh.

  • Arespected religious leader like the pope should not say such things especially as nations across the globe are struggling to find ways to bridge differences between faiths.
    We have heard about his extremism and hate for arabs and muslims now that he have dropped his mask from his face we see its ugliness and extremist nature.

  • Asalaamalaikum,
    Love the blog.
    About the pope’s comment….i think thats the biggest hippocracy ever. The pope who is part of the catholic church(which is the birth place of “evil and inhumanity”) should not be making any comments. For his church has been involved with more evil than any islamic leader or world leader for that matter. “Holy War” was a creation of the the church, for he should blame him self for that. The crusades were started by the church, and it was the terrorist…I mean crusaders that killed innocent muslim woman and children on their way to capture Jerusalem. In Islam there was no holy war, untill of late. Muslims durring the prophets time deffended them selves against the meccan tribes who attacked muslims. Even against a Jewish tribe that turned on the same muslims that brought peace to the city of Yathrib. HOLY WAR was created by the Catholic Church. Every one can try and twist the word Jihad, westerners do it all the time, even some muslims do it(astaqfarullah) but it was and always will be HOLY STRUGGLE.

    To John Kactuz
    If the pope wanted to just quote things, maybe he should have quoted how Prophet forbid the killing of woman and children, something that the catholic churge practiced durring the crusades. The reason the pope specifically quoted what he did, he was attmepting to slander the prophet with lies. If he actually wanted to use the truth he could have used so many Sahih Hadith:
    Bukhari Volume 004, Book 052, Hadith Number 258.
    Muslim Book 019, Hadith Number 4319.
    Abu Dawood Book 008, Hadith Number 2663.
    Muwatta Book 021, Hadith Number 008.

    John pay attention now. The book that the pope reads has these quotes

    Samuel 15:2,3
    2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt.
    3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ”

    Numbers 31:17,18

    17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man.
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 20:16

    16 However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.

    Now tell me which religion teaches hate?

    Jazakallah Khairn, besides my comments i would like to say that you have a wonderful blog.

  • They’ve found 4 explosions near a church in Gaza! it’s either some are so stupid or there’s someone behind the entire thing, the speech, the timing and the explosions. Either way, I’m so sick of this but I secretly pray that it was planned and not the product of some people’s stupidity.

  • And I bet the Pope who originally said it was not involved in religious war, the supression of religious minorities, or maybe in the infamous Inquistion itself?

    He wasn’t quoting a fellow Pope, but one of the last Byzantine Emperors, Manuel II. By the time of Manuel’s time, the Byzantine Empire wasn’t really up to any religious wars or inquisitions. From the Emperor Manuel’s perspective (he spent time in the Ottoman Court as a hostage and had to fight in wars against fellow Christians), the comment was entirely understandable, though I’m not sure it was one Benedict should have chosen to make his point on religious tolerance.

    I mean crusaders that killed innocent muslim woman and children on their way to capture Jerusalem

    They did. But their Islamic opponents weren’t all as merciful as Saladdin, the Christian population of Jerusalem was slaughtered in 1244 and that of Acre in 1291. I do agree though that it was better to be a Christian in the Middle East during the Middle Ages than a Muslim in Europe. The latter for the most part wasn’t even possible, with some exceptions such as the 11th century Norman Kingdom of Sicily.

    So is this gonna be our next â??Cartoon Piñataâ? that we beat the hell out of coz we canâ??t beat anything else

    Spot on. The cartoonish “Pope is new Hitler!”, “He must apologise to the holy Islam!”, “this is the new crusade!” slogans were entirely predictable. As are the no doubt soon to follow attacks on individual churches, burning of effigies, violent protest marches, etc etc etc. I mean, what better way to show that what the Pope supposedly meant to say is wrong than a spot of rioting, right?!

    I understand why this happens, but at the same time the victim mentality in the Arab and Islamic World is depressing. It’s more convenient to constantly blame outsiders than to look at what’s happpening on your own doorstep, isn’t it?

    This “poor me” syndrome was for me best summed up in that docu-film about Al Jazeera (I forget the name) during the Iraq War. At the end, one of the Al Jazeera producers comments on how Israel is an easy excuse for everything that happens in the Arab world and quips that if the price of vegetables in the Damascus market go up tomorrow, the traders will no doubt blame Israel for it.

  • Why are the Iranians using every delaying tactic on the nuclear issues? 1. Obviously, they want to build bombs before they are prohibited.
    2. They must have the bomb by the end of the Bush Presidency, because he is the only western leader willing to stand up to them.
    3. The Iranians believe nobody with a chance to be Bush’s successor will oppose them.
    4. That is why the Pope has earned their ire. That makes two men who oppose the one billion Islamists. The Pope has halved the odds against us. Up the Pope!

  • jason, there’s a difference between islamist and muslim. also, iran didn’t exactly write the pope’s speech nor does it control the muslim population of the world.

  • Sadly, although many here have quoted that “religion cannot be spread by the sword” as Islamic belief, those with high-impact media exposure disagree:

    “You infidels and despotic, we will continue our jihad (holy war) and never stop until God avails us to chop your necks and raise the fluttering banner of monotheism when God’s rule is established governing all people and nations,” the statement said.

    The group said Muslims will be victorious and addressed the pope as “the worshipper of the cross” saying “you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere … We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (killed by) the sword.”

  • He’s quoting the spokesperson from Al-Qaeda in Iraq, who ironically are playing into the Pope’s words.

    In other news, Anjem Choudhary of the UK’s Al-Muhajiroun group held a protest calling for the Pope’s execution. You have an extremist nutjob living in the UK calling for this, yet British Muslims do not rise up and silence these idiots.

    And Muslims wonder why everyone else hates us.

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