Friday, April 08, 2005

"John Paul's Final Victory"

Cliff May has written an excellent column on what he calls "John Paul's Final Victory":

The threat posed by Islamist extremism was not widely recognized prior to September 11, 2001. And, after 9/11, Pope John Paul II was too frail to energetically address it.

But what the Pontiff did not manage in life, he is perhaps accomplishing in death: In recent days there has been an unprecedented outpouring of affection and respect for this Pontiff – and not just by Roman Catholics.

Consider how radical that is. By recognizing the Pope as a great spiritual leader – even if he is not their spiritual leader – Protestants, Jews and moderate Muslims are implicitly rejecting the notion that there is only one true religion, and that all others are, by definition, false.

Instead, they are embracing the idea that different religions may approach God in different ways. They are saying, in effect, that while all mountains may not be equally tall, beautiful or smooth, all point in the general direction of the heavens.

Such a concept is a stunning refutation of bin Ladenism and related ideologies that regard non-Muslims (as well as Muslims who interpret Islam more liberally than they do) as “infidels” -- unbelievers whose practices are not just wrong but blasphemous. The justification for the Islamist idea of “jihad” is that it is the duty of those who adhere to the only “true” religion, the Islamist version of Islam, to defeat and destroy the others: the “enemies of God” who dwell in the Dar al Harb (the “House of War”). As the Iranian revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini stated a quarter century ago: "Our struggle is not about land or water... It is about bringing, by force if necessary, the whole of mankind onto the right path."

Mike Chandler voices similar sentiments at the Counterterrorism Blog.

You can see just two examples of Muslims offering heartfelt condolences over the death of Pope John Paul here and here. Iraq's national assembly even held a moment of silence in honor of the Pontiff. In fact, the Arab media coverage of John Paul's passing has been so extensive and fair-minded that it has been roundly denounced by Islamists.

Such reactions are just one more sign of the growing gulf between the barbarous fanaticism of the jihadists and the ordinary humanity of most Muslims. They mark another step forward on the long road to the defeat of bin Ladenism.


Post a Comment

<< Home