I am very disheartened and saddened after reading His Holiness Pope Benedict's comments made in Germany on Sept. 12 concerning Islam, Muslims, and the Prophet Mohammed.
His Holiness' comments are not in order, and I cannot see them befitting a person of his esteem and stature as leader of the 2 billion followers of Jesus, nor a manifestation of humanity, love, and grace. Nor are his comments appropriate for the highest figure in Islam, who is profoundly loved, revered, respected, and followed by 1.3 billion Muslims.
It was through Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) that God revealed his final enlightening message to humanity, the message of Islam. None of the Prophet's quotations and teachings comes close to what His Holiness alluded to.
This difficult time demands from all of us to shun negativity and avoid generating hurt, hatred, and insensitivity. Rather we should work on creating an environment of unity, hope, and respect of everyone's faith, culture, values, and way of life. As children of God and citizens of the world, we need to display a high level of respect and tolerance with a positive outlook.
I hope that His Holiness will reconsider his comments. I hope we will all learn from the tolerance, love, humility, and politeness characterized in the lives of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, peace be upon them all. As a leader of the human family, he will follow his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who captured the world's attention by his endless struggle for unity, peace, harmony, and love in this world.
Imam and Director
Islamic Center of Greater Toledo
The essence of Pope Benedict's speech was that religion and violence do not mix.
Anyone who disagrees with this thesis is a terrorist and an enemy of all peace-loving people!
J. Murray Stewart
Offended by words but not slaughter?
I am tired of listening to Muslims whine every time some comment offends their delicate sensibilities. They are offended by words but apparently not by suicide bombings and mass slaughter.
When they speak out as strongly against the evil being perpetrated in the name of Mohammed and Allah as they do about a few innocuous comments that they choose to interpret incorrectly, then maybe they will have the right to complain.
As each day goes by the radical Muslims prove the Pope right.
I don't think for one minute that the radical Muslims want anything but the death of all Christians. The Pope's comments just give them a reason to spew hatred around the world.
The left keeps telling us that we should not use excessive means to get information to protect Americans. I personally have not met any people who believe those lies. How many times do we have to see our young men dragged in the streets, heads cut off, or forced into conversions before the left gets it that we are in a war? I can hear them now, but never heard them when our innocent lives are being violated.
Two recent articles in The Blade ("Pope Benedict condemns holy wars " and columnist S. Amjad Hussain's appeal for Muslims to find their voice and condemn violence) lead me to add my individual voice and challenge others to speak up against the radical mullahs who are:
•Preaching hatred against non-believers (infidels) in their religious schools.
•Recruiting martyrs to give their lives in crimes against humanity with ludicrous promises of eternal rewards.
•Preaching that all supporters of Israel are guilty by association of crimes against Islam and therefore subject to reprisal, including the killing of innocents.
•Ordering that women who are perceived as embarrassing their family or Islam be beaten or raped or even killed in the name of Islam.
Clearly, we are not facing rational people in this war against terror and, therefore, the war cannot be won with bullets and bombs.
The only logical approach we have to win this war is for the rational voices around the world to aggressively challenge the radical beliefs of the jihadists as being immoral, irrational, and against the universal religious tenets that hold all human life as sacred.
Hopefully, if enough voices are raised, those Muslims who blindly accept hatred and killing in the name of Islam will start to think for themselves and realize that the taking of innocent human life is a crime from which there can be no redemption.
While I agree with the President's statement that the battle with Islamic extremists is going to be a long drawn out fight, I had to kind of chuckle when he called for Democrats and Republicans to "work together" to come up with the solutions - and then defined "working together" as the Democrats not opposing what he proposed.
This seems to be the hallmark of his and the neo-conservatives idea of "working together." They know the problems, they know the answers, and they don't make mistakes, so go along with them or be labeled "unpatriotic," "oppositionist," or "cut-and-run."
The word "compromise" is often seen as having bad connotations or as just a dirty word to them.
And, while I believe that the Democrats also have a problem at times with the concept of compromise, this President and the neo-conservatives in his party have made it an art form.
I mean, when you have a conservative Republican facing opposition in a primary from another Republican and the whole gist of the argument is that the incumbent isn't "conservative" enough, what are the voters to think?
When you have no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars being handed out by this administration for Katrina relief, the war in Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan, based not on what's best for the country but who donated money to Republican causes and candidates, how is that "working together"?
All in all I'd say that, despite all of his protestations and comments to the contrary, the President's recent speech had very little to do with unifying the country for the long road ahead and a lot to do with rallying the Republican base for the elections shortly ahead.
Josh Billings wrote that a politician looks to the next election; a statesman to the next generation.
The President's speech just shows what a fine politician we have in the White House.
Ron J. Bores
How do you choose a candidate to elect for public office? I will hazard a guess that it is based on name recognition.
The more signs you see and the more TV ads you see, whether they are positive or negative, probably sway your vote. You have to decide on who is telling fewer lies and thus base your vote on your feelings rather than their qualifications and performance.
This is a terrible way to run our city, state, and nation.
Since we, the electorate, are hiring wannabes to represent our interests, we should require that they submit and publish formal resumes as they would if being hired in the private sector.
It is our responsibility to select our representatives based on their qualifications and visions. Re-election would be based on their updated resumes and performances.
How many of you now vote for the lesser of the bad choices?
ERNEST L. LIPPERT
Ironic! The Pope, during a conference, quotes a 14th-century emperor and a significant number of Islamists in the world react with threats of violence and death.
Kind of a self-fulfilling quote.
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