Opinion: "Pope Benedict XVI's Remarks on Islam Unwise and Damaging"

September 18, 2006

Source: The Jakarta Post


On September 18, 2006 The Jakarta Post ran an opinion piece by Indonesian Christian staff writer, Kornelius Purba. "Pope John Paul II, during his 26-year papacy, was quite respected by Muslims for his empathy with Islam and the suffering of Palestinians and Iraqis... So how has his successor done, in terms of maintaining relations with Islam?... The comments made by the pope about Islam and violence, as recorded in a seven-page English translation of an address at the University of Regensburg in Germany on Sept. 12, received mixed reactions from Catholics around the world. They also left many Catholics in predominantly Muslim nations like Indonesia fearing for their security. His statements could affect long-term relations between the world's two biggest religions... It would be saddening, however, if Muslims acted violently to demonstrate their anger over the pope's comments. Such violence would only strengthen the perception -- not necessarily accurate -- among non-Muslims that Islam tolerates violence. It would be better to regard the pope's address as a challenge to prove to the world that Islam truly is a peaceful religion."