Or not as the case might be. It would seem that the recent decision by Pope Benedict XVI to quote Emperor Manuel II Paleologos of the Byzantine Empire by saying, and I quote,
“Show me just what Muhammad 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.”
has caused a bit of a furore in the Islamic world. If someone had said that about any religious leader important to the West, there would’ve been discussion and dialogue, with people at least saying “Yes, no or maybe!”
The response of the Islamic world seems to be one of non-discussion. There have been lots of calls for the Pope to apologise for his words, but very few rebutting the argument. Is submission without reason the true face of Islam? The response to heresy we are used to when Christianity is attacked is not a call for an apology, but a call to apologetics – a reasoned defence of the faith. I may not think the Pope is right a lot of the time, but my response is not to silence his words, but to argue against them from Scripture and with reason.
This is a great opportunity for the defence of Islam, and for discussion and dialogue. Will ignorant silence triumph over intelligent discourse?