Saturday, September 16, 2006

Regrets, not Apologies....

The Washington Post tells the story one way:

Pope Benedict XVI "sincerely regrets" that Muslims have been offended by some of his words in a recent speech in Germany, the Vatican said Saturday- stopping short of issuing an apology the Islamic world has demanded.

I like that - it is akin to saying, "I'm sorry that you feel that way", which is a way of expressing regret for someone's emotion, but not taking responsibility for causing that emotion to arise.

However, Reuters claims that the same sentence is actually an apology to Muslims, which of course is nowhere near good enough:

Pope sorry for remarks
Pope Benedict is sorry Muslims were offended by a speech that provoked fury in the Islamic world and led to calls for the leader of the Catholic church to apologize personally, the Vatican said on Saturday...
"The Holy Father is very sorry that some passages of his speech may have sounded offensive to the sensibilities of Muslim believers," Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said in a statement.

In an early reaction to the Vatican statement, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said it was not enough and they wanted "a personal apology."
"We feel he has committed a grave error against us and that this mistake will only be removed through a personal apology," the Brotherhood's deputy leader, Mohammed Habib, told Reuters.

I think the WaPost gets it, while Reuters is following a predetermined storyline; they seem unable to conceive that a Western leader may be nuancing his words and not actually groveling before the Islamic hordes. Let's hope the pope remains firm; after all, to quote TigerHawk:

Never in the history of Christianity has a pope been proven correct so quickly and demonstrably.

As can be seen here, and also over here. TigerHawk goes on to bash the New York Times' predictable sympathy to the rioters and antaganism towards the pope:

The editors of The New York Times said this morning, to the eternal discredit of that once great paper, that:

[t]he world listens carefully to the words of any pope. And it is tragic and dangerous when one sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly. He needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology, demonstrating that words can also heal.

This is obscene. Apart from its factual inaccuracy -- there is no evidence that any of the enraged Muslims "listened carefully" to the words of the pope -- this is like blaming a beaten wife for provoking the bastard who throttles her. It is the leaders of prayers in the mosques of the Muslim world who call on their faithful to riot in the streets. It is they who sow pain and incite violence, and anybody unburdened by a loathing of Western civilization knows it. Pope Benedict has nothing to apologize for. The leading clerics of the Muslim world have a great deal to apologize for.

Indeed. But with the media behind them, and most of the Western world quailing before them, why should they?

UPDATE: Captain's Quarters reports, and opines:

Two churches in the West Bank were hit by firebombs early Saturday, witnesses and clergy said, and a group claiming responsiblity said the attacks were meant as a protest against comments by Pope Benedict XVI about Islam...

...People use words to criticize Islam; Muslims use stones, fire, and eventually bombs to protest back. When was the last time Christians threw firebombs at a mosque to protest Muslim imams characterizing Christianity as polytheistic? When have we seen Jews firebomb mosques for Muslim leaders calling them the descendants of pigs and monkeys, a common insult from both religious and secular Muslims in the Middle East? Muslims have proven Benedict prophetic, and don't think for a moment that this wave of violence has peaked.

UPDATE: Tim Blair has some Tales of Arabia; or some mind-blowing reactions from the Middle East on the pope's quotation of a 14th-century Byzantine emperor. My favorite:

Afghanistan’s Taliban on Saturday demanded Pope Benedict XVI to apologise for remarks linking Islam with violence.

I simply have no response to that...

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