The reaction to the infamous quotation by Pope Benedict XVI in the world is deeply troubling. No, not the reactions in the Muslim World (more on this below) but in the west. Some examples from various blogs and comments to news items:
I say this - the christian religion needs to commit jihad on all Muslims of the world. They need to be exterminated from the planet once and for all. Their heads need to be stuck to the end of a pike. The holy crusades need to be started again to purge the world of this filthy disease called Islam. I'm sick of the nation's religious and political leaders kissing the Islamic leadership's ass.
They can take their stinky birkas, headscarves, suicide bombers, mosques, dirty filthy beards, and shove them all into the depths of hell.
Well, as a (formerly) non-extremist Catholic I can honestly tell you, the over-reaction to the Pope's WORDS, following on from the treatment of that Danish cartoonist, has left me feeling extremely hostile toward Muslims everywhere and hoping that my church rises up to use it's far superior firepower to wipe this ugly blemish of a religion from the face of the planet! Yes, that's right, I, a non-hostile Catholic, has become so angered by these animals that I now hope they DO bring their f***ing Jihad here and get wiped out once and for all by my God-fearing, peaceful church.
The angry mob is proving the Pope's point by their actions. If everybody went around causing a ruckus every time something they didn't agree with was said, the world would be in chaos.There's ton's of this stuff out there. More and more the image is engraved in the minds of westerners that Muslims ("well not all but many") really react at the slightest amount of negative criticism with violence, and idiots even start to suggest that the west should be violent back.
Let's consider the facts. Yes, many Muslim leaders protested. Yes, this was a bit of an over-reaction in this case since it turned out that the pope was quoted out of context. But considering the general context of a rich part of the world constantly trying to rule over a poorer part of the world, often with the use of violence (Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan...) and always by propaganda (television), to hear that the pope have actually said that Muhammed brought nothing into the world except things "evil and inhuman", then a protest is not necessarily that un-called for. Consider that most western media were very light on context in reporting what the pope actually said, and that the Pope's actual point was not that easy to grasp. He was, after all, speaking to an academic audience. In other words, that many Muslim leaders reacted with outrage was no surprise. I did too, even if my normal suspicion of media kicked in rather fast.
But, wait, we are talking violent reactions, right? Well, again, consider the facts. There is talk of a nun being killed. To my knowledge there has been no certain link between this tragic event and the pope's speech. And a few (less than ten) churches have been attacked. Again this is horrible, but one should keep in mind that the Muslim world is a big place, and that the Christian minorities have suffered there for a long time. I suspect this makes up little except a small peak in an ongoing situation. I mean, churches are being burned in the West, too. Certainly there are fanatics that would use this incident as a cause to do what they generally do, but to be perfectly clear, the image of a Muslim World in Outrage and general Chaos because of this speech by the pope exists in the Western media only, who seems to love to show images of angry men in beards.
The thing is, I'm starting to see a pattern where more and more people in both the Muslim and the Western part of the world starting to subscribe to these false representations of the other side. This development will only lead to one thing: war. C'mon, this is serious! I'm no expert on the media in the Muslim world, but considering how bad western media is at presenting the Muslim world, it does not surprise me one bit that these things happen. The only thing that get reported in the West from Muslim countries is violence! It's absurd! People live their lives there, it's not like the whole region is one big battlefield. Yet this is the image we see in the media. I wonder what kind of image they have of us.