CWNews reports on more carefully articulated remarks by certain Muslim leaders, aimed at Pope Benedict XVI:
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of the Islamic Guardian Council that supervises the country's government, said that the Pope's speech was "an act of madness." The Pontiff, he said, was following "the same path" as the Danish newspaper publishers who printed cartoons mocking Mohammed. "These moves aimed at confronting Islam and the revolution are all doomed to defeat," he said.
Well, now that that is clarified, let's talk. Or not.
Meanwhile, John F. Cullinan has written a helpful piece over at NRO about how the Holy Father challenged Muslim leaders he met with at the Vatican recently:
The upshot is that purely theological dialogue between Christians and Muslims is pointless, if not counterproductive. Whatever its other attributes, the most fundamental elements of all orthodox Christian thought are Trinitarian and Christocentric; and these are precisely the same elements that orthodox Muslims necessarily find blasphemous on the one hand and idolatrous on the other. What’s more, sharia jurisprudence plays roughly the same role in Islam as systematic theology in Christianity. That’s why purely theological dialogue inevitably mixes apples and oranges. But basic disagreement over the nature of God in no way precludes discussing how best to coexist peacefully in a pluralistic world. That’s the meaning of Benedict’s September 25 exhortation in favor of “sincere and respectful dialogue, based on ever more authentic reciprocal knowledge which, with joy, recognizes the religious values we have in common and, with loyalty, respects the differences.” In other words, it’s possible to share — and discuss — certain religious values without sharing religious truths.
Similarly, fruitful dialogue does not consist in futilely seeking to assign relative responsibility for religious conflicts lasting more than a millennium. These historical issues — all too easily reduced to whataboutery or the politics of the last atrocity — have rightly been relegated to a joint Vatican/al Azhar commission. What really matters, as Benedict put it in another address he quotes, is the “imperative to engage in authentic and sincere dialogue, built on respect for the dignity of every human person, created, as we Christians firmly believe, in the image and likeness of God.” Do Muslims believe in the equal, indivisible, and inviolable dignity of every person, or are some (namely Muslim males) more equal than others?
Good questions. Let's hope and pray that moderate, reasonable, and truth-loving Muslims will respond with courage and conviction.