Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cardinal Pell Sparks Outrage Over Koran Comments

From The World Today:
ELEANOR HALL: Australia's Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell has sparked furious reaction today with his description of the Muslim holy book as an incitement to violence.

In a speech delivered to a group of Catholic business leaders in the United States, the archbishop also took aim at what he claimed were hysterical and extreme claims about global warming, saying the west's obsession with climate change is a symptom of pagan emptiness.

And he said a crisis confidence in the west was manifesting itself in a decline in fertility rates, as Edmond Roy reports.

EDMOND ROY: At eight pages and with 24 footnotes, the Cardinal's central argument was that an understanding of Islam was vital for the future of western democracies.

September 11, according to the Cardinal, was his wakeup call. And a copy of the Koran, which had in his possession for nearly 30 years, was dusted off and digested.

Indeed, as he puts it: "I recommend that you, too, read this sacred text of the Muslims, because the challenge of Islam will be with us for the remainder of our lives."

Having read the sacred text, Cardinal Pell then sets out what he discovered.

The Koran, he says, is riddled with invocations to violence.

There are so many of these, he says, that after about 50, or 60, or 70 pages, he stopped taking notes.

He goes on to say that considered strictly on its own terms, Islam is not a tolerant religion and its capacity for far-reaching renovation is severely limited.

And he points to the difficulty that scholars and commentators face when analysing the Koran, such as receiving death threats and violence when questioning the divine origin of the holy book.

George Pell's speech to the Legatus Summit in Naples, Florida may have been received with some sympathy inside, but outside the reaction has been furious.

I’m curious. Why is it than when a Catholic cleric criticizes Islam, it is grounds for moral outrage, but when Islamic clerics call for the death and destruction of Jews, Christians, and the USA as a nation, it barely makes section 1 of the paper? I don’t really expect an answer. Just wondering.