He began his speech, which ran over half an hour, by quoting a 14th-century Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologus, in a conversation with a "learned Persian" on Christianity and Islam "and the truth of both."But, then there seemed to be only a muted reaction so I figured that the Times had basically misunderstood what the Pope said. Uh uh. It just took a day or so for his comments to get the reaction I expected.
"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," the pope quoted the emperor, in a speech to 1,500 students and faculty.
He went on to say that violent conversion to Islam was contrary to reason and thus "contrary to God's nature."
I don't know what the Pope was thinking, but he surely must have known that this would cause some 'unease' among Muslims. I wouldn't be surprised to find that Pope Benedict XVI has replaced President Bush as the primary hate figure among a segment of the Muslim population.
The Path to 9/11 contained reference to Ramzi Yousef's desire to kill both President Clinton and Pope John Paul II. If people like Yousef didn't like John Paul II, I'd imagine their dislike (hate?) for Benedict will be far, far greater. The Pope will be wearing a bull's eye from now on.