1. Are Muslims "acting in accordance with reason" in response to Pope Benedict's remarks?
The Muslim world is outraged by Pope Benedict's criticism of "violent conversion" and references to the siege of Constantinople. A lawmaker from the Turkish ruling party said Benedict's speech on the universality of reason "looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades" and that Benedict "is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini." Pakistan's parliament unanimously condemned the Pope and his remarks. In Srinagar, India, a group of Muslims burned an effigy of Benedict and shouted, "Those who dare to target Islam and the Prophet will be finished!"
"This is not an effective way to argue against someone who has questioned your religion's relationship to violence," notes Catholic blogger Amy Welborn.
"Honestly, the thin-skinnedness of many Muslims is getting awfully tiresome," agrees Rod Dreher at Beliefnet's Crunchy Con. "How on earth are we ever supposed to be able to have a dialogue if the non-Muslim side has to walk on eggshells to avoid offending the wounded sensibilities of Muslim leaders, who seem very eager to take gross offense at anything critical?"
Not that Benedict's point was to criticize Islam, says National Catholic Reporter's John Allen Jr. "He brought up the dialogue between Paleologus and the Persian to make a different point. Under the influence of its Greek heritage, he said, Christianity represents a decisive choice in favor of the rationality of God. While Muslims may stress God's majesty and absolute transcendence, Christians believe it would contradict God's nature to act irrationally. He argued that the Gospel of John spoke the last word on the biblical concept ...1