September 16, 2006. I turn on the news
and I see: Muslims Playing the We're-Offended Card Once Again. The story in short:
Muslims offended by pope. Outraged Muslims kill nun, etc.
Once again, offending Muslims leads to Muslim outrage, Muslim rage.
I was expecting all of that. More outraged Muslims. More rage of the so-called
righteous. My question: what will the non-Muslim response be?
The last time. September 2005. A Danish cartoonist
publishes a cartoon that offends quite a number of Muslims. Muslim rage. Huge protests by outraged Muslims. Muslim insistence that offending Muslims is prohibited. Muslim demands for apologies. Muslims burn an embassy,
torch cars, take Danish products off the shelves of stores, put a price
on the Danish cartoonist's head. The Western response is understanding, sympathy and nicenes:. offending Muslims - or any religious group - is wrong.
This time. September 2006. The Catholic pope makes
a speech, in which he quotes a fourteenth-century Christian Byzantine
emperor debating with a Muslim Persian scholar. In that speech, the long-ago
emperor speaks against the concept of jihad, holy war, saying that violence
in the name of religion is against the nature of god. He also speaks
against the rightness of trying to spread a religion by the sword.
I am sure it took the pope quite some time to find
the way he wanted to say what he wanted to say about jihad, that it is
against the nature of a deity to be in favor of such a thing.
I wondered, watching a news clip of the pope speaking:
how has he planned to react to the Muslim reaction which he must have
known would come? For the pope is not a stupid man. I expected that he
had a carefully worded response, one as planned as the words of his speech.
In chess, one plans ahead by more than one move. To plan, it's best if we can anticipate what the other will do.
The Muslim response. Utterly
predictable. Utterly unsurprising. Muslim rage. Muslim outrage. And self-righteous Muslim violence - the exact nature of which could not be predicted. It has included the murder of
a Catholic nun. The predictable message: the Muslim religion demands that you avoid offending Muslims or else. You have offended Muslims! Apologize.
Here is the pope's response: he is sorry if his words
were misinterpreted. No apology. He does not appear to be responding
with fear. He does not seem to be intimidated by what he must have known
My guess. He is deeply upset by what is happening
in the name of the Muslim religion. And since Muslims are not responding
in outrage to Muslim violence in the name of the Muslim religion, he
The image that comes to mind is of someone lancing
a boil – opening an underground infection so the wound can be cleaned. The idea the pope presents is very ordinary, and should go with Muslim insistence that Islam is a religion of peace. The idea: violence done in the name of religion is wrong, and moreover goes against the nature of god.
Another guess - more of a certainty, actually. The pope has long been against the
use of violence in the name of the Muslim religion. So he chose clear
harsh words to describe a harsh and horrific reality.
Here is the pope's opening quote from the fourteen-century
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.
As cowboys say in Western movies, "Them's fightin'
words." Often, soon after, guns are drawn, shots are fired, good
prevails and evil is vanquished. That's the most common scenario in Western
The world I live in is far more complex, with lots
of debate, for example, on what is good and what is evil. I am sure the
pope knows that, and also knew he was using fighting words.
The reality the pope describes – people using
violence in the name of their god - is one that Christians have often
been guilty of. The Crusades were done - largely against Muslims who had invaded and conquered much Christian territory - in
the name of the Christian religion. Roman emperors converted their subjects
to Christianity with the sword. The alternative to conversion was often
death. It is not only part of the Muslim religion that has waged so-called
holy war, and had gotten converts by violence. The pope knows that full
That horrors have been committed in the name of the
Christian religion do not make it any better when the same is done by
Muslims. If it is against the nature of god to do these things, that's
the way it is. It doesn't matter who does the thing.
Back to the pope and his response to the unfolding
events. He speaks, outraged Muslims rage, the pope responds. The pope is not backing away from
what he said. He is holding to his beliefs and his vision of god. He is definitely not calling for violence, but is instead clearly against the violence.
Where do I stand? I hold that one
must be able to express one's vision of god, without calling for this
vision to be enforced or attacked by violence. And no, not all visions
are basically alike (a commonly held and utterly unfounded opinion) or
equally valid. Since many of these visions of god are contradictory,
it does not stand to reason that they are all valid - for it would make
god forgiving, unforgiving, loving, vengeful, hating, rigid, flexible.
There is the vision of a loving god, of a punitive god, of a harsh and
rigid god, of many very different gods.
It is vital that one can speak what one believes and
then back these beliefs with all the evidence one can summon.
Outrage as a response to the pope's words is only
meant to cut off debate, thought, reflection. It attempts to keep closed
around people the shell that cuts them off from thinking, reflection,
experience, development. In other words, Muslim outrage and Muslim rage are tactics that aim to silence questioning in both Muslims and non-Muslims.
We will see the next moves.
When one lances a boil, what oozes out is anything
but pleasant. The good thing is that one recognizes it as something that
needs to be drained, not as something healthy, to be encouraged as much
as possible. One drains as well as possible, and administers antibiotics.
I don't know if the world will manage to lance the
outbreak of Muslim rage and Muslim outrage, to get Muslims to face fully what
is being done in the name of the Muslim religion. "Our religion
is a religion of peace," I have heard many Muslims say angrily.
The evidence does not show that, not at present.
It will, it's my guess, take thousands of small pushes
to get the segment of the Muslim religion that upholds violence in the
name of the Muslim religion to somehow or other face what it is doing,
to experience the horror of thousands and thousands of Muslims and nonMuslims
murdered in the name of the Muslim religion. Muslims offended? I don't see that that offended is the right word. Muslims offended? I do not see that the pope offended. He did touch on something Muslims did not want touched on. I see more Muslim outrage at realities revealed.
Note: Muslims who do not agree with violence being done in the name of their religion could use the same energy to act against those doing such violence rather than going: avoid offending Muslims or else! Are they ashamed? Are they just not thinking? In other words, why the Muslim rage, Muslim outrage?
What comes to mind has to do the psychology of shame-bound systems. In a respectful system, there is openness. In a shame-bound system, one may not speak of many realities. So in an shame-bound system, a battered woman may not reveal she has been battered - or her family is horrified. In other words, the rage is directed at her revealing what is happening, rather than directed at what is happening.
I think back to the pope's blunt words. They were
not gentle, soft, tentative suggestions that it might be better not to
kill people in the name of a god. Maybe he could not contain his outrage.
Much more likely, he was intentionally provoking a response. At present, only he knows.
My hope is that the pope has given things one more
small nudge in the right direction.
September 16 , 2006
I pause. And soon come to further thoughts
Question one. What made the pope
fail to acknowledge the Christian religion's many transgressions against
the nature of god, as he sees it – the many instances of Christian
violence in the name of the Christian religion? It would have been better
had he done so.
Question two. What was the final
impetus for the pope's harsh words? My partner wonders: does it
have anything to do with the poor treatment of Christians in overwhelmingly
Muslim countries? Has the treatment of these Christians (Copts) deteriorated
even more during the last few years?
My biggest question. How will this turn out? – because
all is not predictable.
I have pointed out Muslim rage and Muslim outrage. I have
a link to other equally enraged, outraged and outrageous responses in
the wake of the pope's speech – from people against all Muslims,
and from people disregarding the pope's major argument.
Anti-Muslim rage. One kind of horror,
an equally inaccurate understanding of the pope's speech is to applaud
it and call for the death of all Muslims. Rage and outrage and hatred
are definitely not an exclusive Muslim phenomenon. A question here: who
and what will break the hate-rage shell of these people? - because the
anti-Muslim hate-rage shell is just as important to break through.
Non-Muslim raging disregard for the pope's
words. Probably the most common way of not hearing the pope's
message is through saying that the pope has no right to be against
Muslims doing violence in the name of religion because Christians have
done the same. This is a logical fallacy. Something is wrong because
it is wrong, no matter who has done it. It is fair to point out the
masses of wrongs done in the name of the Christian religion – and
I have in fact said it would have been better had the pope done so.
That does not make the wrongs done in the name of the Muslim religion
any better. Once again, how does one break through the shell of not
listening, not hearing?
Here's the link to some of these outraged outrageous
responses – another testament to the human capacity to rage instead
of to care, to cut off without thinking instead of to listen and think
Final thought: what I have written comes from
what I know, up to this point. Maybe my views will change through more
information. I know I am getting more and more convinced, though, on
the danger of the rage-hate-righteousness shell of so many people -
from lone murderer-suicides shooting at a school (again
locked inside, cut off from caring for the people they are hurting and
killing, as well as cut off from valuing their own lives) –
to large scale rage-hate-righteousness shells fostered
by some branches of some religions and political ideologies.
The big question, over and over (stated in earlier
pieces, and restated here), is:
how do we break that shell/spell? what
works best? and then, how can we reach people as early as possible, as
effectively as possible, perhaps immunizing them against the shell/spell?
September 16 , 2006
copyright © Elsa Schieder 2006, 2009 - all rights reserved
here to go from Outraged Muslims Demand: Avoid Offending Muslims
to the initial spark for looking at the Muslims religion and Islam basic beliefs,
The Rage of the Righteous.
here to go from the piece on Muslim rage
to a blog on the effects of terrorism.
here to go from Muslim rage and outrage
to all the issues explored at
The Idea Emporium,
from animal rights, to Islam, to gambling, to the ultimate reality.
Questions re Outraged Muslims.
so much Muslim rage at the pope's words?
Why so much rage in people in general? Narcissism. Hate. Illusions.
The Idea Emporium - facts, ideas, conclusions.
- The Idea
Emporium on Outraged Muslims -
The Question: Outrage over What?
One of my lifelong concerns has
been trying to make sense of reality.
What is happening? Why is this
happening? grow from some
of what comes back.
Here, I ask myself: why did the pope make the comment he did.
Also, I ask myself: why is the response Muslim outrage, Muslim rage, Muslims offended?
August 27, 2009
copyright © Elsa Schieder 2009, 2011, all rights reserved
Muslims offended by pope. Outraged Muslims kill nun, etc.
Desired lesson: offending Muslims leads to Muslim outrage, Muslim rage.
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