Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Muslim paydirt

Ever since Pope Benedict's Regensburg lecture, I have contended that his 'incindiary' reference to the Byzantine emperor's quotation citing Mohammed was no accident but a calculated risk intended to precipitate a fruitful dialogue with and among Muslims about the relationship of reason to faith in Islam (see "Andrew Sullivan, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: fellow-fideists contra Benedict," October 6, 2006; cf. "Islam’s Unreasonable War Against Benedict XVI," September 18, 2006). Now, one month after his Regensburg lecture, Benedict has received an "open letter" signed by 38 Muslim personalities from various countries and of different outlooks, which discusses point by point the views on Islam expressed by the pope in that lecture. In a post entitled "The Regensburg Effect: The Open Letter from 38 Muslims to the Pope" (www.chiesa), Sandro Magister writes:
Instead of saying they are offended and demanding apologies, they express their respect for him and dialogue with him on faith and reason. They disagree on many points. But they also criticize those Muslims who want to impose, with violence, “utopian dreams in which the end justifies the means.”
... Exactly the sort of beginning for which His Holiness was hoping, I should imagine. Let us pray that the dialogue continues to proliferate and grow within the Muslim community, betweem Muslims and Christians, and that the discourse of reasonable faith may prevail and overtake the insanity of irrational fideist terrorism -- as well as the insanity (in the West) of an etiolated rationalism cut off (by self-censorship) from rational discourse about faith and morals.

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