"Unlike the enemy, when it came to Islam, her bomb-throwing was strictly rhetorical," writes Allapundit of Oriana Fallaci, who died today. "Indeed, Fallaci’s vogue these last few years was, I think, a reaction to western leaders mindlessly chanting 'Islam means peace' even as it becomes increasingly clear that huge swaths of Muslims have a decidedly nuanced view of what 'peace' might mean."
"Given the Pope's brave remarks just this week about Islam and jihad, which has Muslim leaders fuming (when are they not?), it has been heartening to see that [Oriana] Fallaci has had an obvious impact on his thinking," writes Michelle Malkin in her tribute to the woman referred to in our previous post (scroll down) as "the mother of all cognitive dissidents." As we noted, the celebrated and reviled Italian journalist, indicted in her native Italy for criticizing the Religion of Peace,™ was for years a voice in the wilderness trying to warn the West of the gathering forces of darkness. We've blogged here often about Fallaci's spiritual bond with Papa Ratzi -- with whom she had an audience last year -- who shared her alarm over Europe's suicidal loss of belief in itself. Perhaps sensing her time was running out, she gently but firmly chided her soulmate in an essay last summer on the London bombings, excerpted by Michelle, urging the Pope not to whitewash the "illiberal and anti-democratic -- no, cruel --essence of Islam" in the name of interfaith "dialog." Benedetto's uncompromising words this week would have reassured and comforted Fallaci:
Citing historic Christian commentary on holy war and forced conversion, the 79-year-old pontiff quoted from a 14th-century Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologos.
"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"
No wonder the usual suspects are upset and demanding an apology. Even as a Turkish lawmaker made the inevitable comparison of the Pope to Hitler, a Pakistani official unwittingly put his finger on the problem:
"Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.
Denial and projection, weapons of choice among the faithful of the ROP. More excellent coverage from Time:
In a provocative speech citing the concept of jihad and referencing the Muslim prophet by name, Benedict sends the world a signal that it's time for hard questions -- not hugs and handshakes.
On Tuesday, in a riveting and provocative university lecture, the Pope explored the philosophical and historical differences between Islam and Christianity --a speech that would become the surprise centerpiece of a five-day visit that many had expected would be mostly just a walk down memory lane. There is little doubt left that Benedict is indeed highly attuned to the risks of fundamentalist terrorism. In fact, it is testament to where this problem stands on his list of priorities that he used the occasion of his triumphant return to Regensburg University, where he taught theology in the 1970s, to deliver a lecture that explored how Christians and Muslims may have historically viewed the relationship between violence and faith, based on the two religions' conceptions of the divinity.
His discourse Tuesday sought to delineate what he sees as a fundamental difference between Christianity's view that God is intrinsically linked to reason (the Greek concept of logos) and Islam´s view that "God is absolutely transcendent." Benedict said that Islam teaches that God's "will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." The risk he sees implicit in this concept of the divine is that the irrationality of violence can potentially be justified if someone believes it is God's will.
ScrappleFace captures the essence of the fumers' response to the Pope's historic speech with only slight exaggeration:
Pope Benedict XVI today apologized for using a quotation in a recent speech that has offended Muslim leaders by implying that the religion of Muhammad has brought little good to the world, and much evil . . .
Upon his return to the Vatican a contrite Mr. XVI today said, “I’m sorry if I gave the wrong impression about what Muhammad has done for the world. I was just quoting the old emperor. But upon further reflection, I was reminded of the mighty civilizations that Islam has spawned, and I marveled at their profound contribution to humanity.”
More about the Fallaci-Ratzinger kinship from our own post, "When an atheist and a pope think the same things," quoting an Opinion Journal interview with Tunku Varadarajan last year:
As a cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI wrote frequently on the European (and the Western) condition. Last year, he wrote an essay titled "If Europe Hates Itself," from which Ms. Fallaci reads this to me: "The West reveals . . . a hatred of itself, which is strange and can only be considered pathological; the West . . . no longer loves itself; in its own history, it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive, while it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure."
"I am an atheist, and if an atheist and a pope think the same things, there must be something true. It's that simple! There must be some human truth here that is beyond religion."
In that letter to the Pope last summer, Fallaci referred to herself as a person "who loves you, because you are right about so many things." Amen. From his Tuesday speech:
Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats."
A host of tributes at Pajamas Media.