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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 20, 2006 / 27 Elul, 5766

Who Should Apologize? Not the Pope

By Jonathan Tobin



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The link between faith and violence must not be ignored


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Pope Benedict XVI got in more trouble than he could have imagined last week when, in the course of a lecture at a German university, he quoted from a debate in which one of the last of the Byzantine emperors disparaged the link between Islam and violence.


The speech, which sought to denounce religiously-inspired violence, provoked a response that was reminiscent of last fall's Danish cartoons controversy. Then, as now, the perception of an insult to Islam resulted in Muslim violence. A nun in Somalia was murdered and churches across the West Bank were torched. More horrors were promised and, in the face of intolerable international pressure, the Vatican did the unthinkable: make a public and tacit admission that the Pope was wrong about something.


This defeat for the principle of Papal infallibility may not mean much to non-Catholics but it should. For over six decades the Vatican has refused to admit that a former Pope might have erred by his inaction during the Holocaust. The fact that it took them all of five days to cave in to the demands of Muslim censors speaks volumes about the fear of Islamist terror and the West's lack of self-confidence is speaking in defense of its basic values.


But for good or for ill the Pope has apologized and hopes, perhaps in vain, this will put the issue to rest. Given the vulnerability of Christians inside the Muslim world, it can be argued that a Papal apology may serve to save lives and on those grounds alone should be understood. But the reason why an apology may have been inevitable — the proclivity of Muslims to use deadly violence to register their opinions and to promote what they think are the interests of their faith — demonstrates the West's dilemma in dealing with the Arab/Muslim world.


The notion that Muslim violence and the rise of Islamist terror is not a fit topic for public debate is the real problem. The idea that jihad or an obligation to wage holy war had nothing to do with the historic spread of Islam is as absurd as the attempt to suppress debate about contemporary Islamist terror and hate for Jews and other non-Muslims is dangerous. The violent reaction of Muslim mobs to anything, whether ironic (as was the case with the Danish cartoons) or scholarly (as in the Pope's speech) that speaks to this issue only reinforces the cogency of a critique of Islamic culture and politics in our day.


It must be realized that the retreat of the Vatican is in line with the general rout of Western Europe when dealing with aggressive Islam in recent decades. The work of authors such as Bat Ye'or ("Eurabia") and Melanie Phillips (" Londonistan") have demonstrated other examples of this trend.


Even worse, editorials on the issue in newspapers such as The New York Times completely missed the point about the need to confront Muslim intolerance. By accepting the idea that the Pope had been insensitive, those who urged that he apologize implicitly accepted the idea that any aspect of Islamic practice, including jihad, is above criticism. But appeasing the "Arab street" in this manner will not work. It will instead just be taken as proof of the strength of their position and encourage even worse outrages in the future.


That a world religious leader such as the Pope cannot think aloud about the links between faith and bloodshed without fear is exactly what is wrong about exchanges between the West and the Islamic world.


Benedict has been derided by many for his lack of belief in the utility of interfaith dialogue. But rather than this being a sign of intolerance, it appears that this former German cardinal and theologian may have a deeper understanding of the intersection of Islam and the West than those who are more interested in ecumenical proclamations and the fairy tale of peaceful accommodation with those who believe in violence.


If this episode deters the Pope and others from further exploring these themes, it will be a major victory for the jihadist mentality and a defeat for genuine peaceful contact between the great faiths of the world.


The Pope may have felt he had to apologize, but despite the dangers, thinking persons who care about the future of the West and freedom ought to be asking the same questions that he has tentatively broached.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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