Fueled by Previous East-West Tensions
SALAMANCA, Spain, NOV. 1, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The violent reactions following Benedict XVI's Regensburg address were fueled by an atmosphere of tension that already existed, says a professor at the Pontifical University of Salamanca.
Theologian Olegario González de Cardedal attributes the Muslim response to the Sept. 12 address to tensions "between an East, which feels exploited, and a West, which feels challenged by Islam."
González, at his university Monday, said that some underlying problems leading to tension include the low birthrate in Europe, "which makes it dependent on immigration" from Muslim countries.
Another contributing factor is "Europe's loss of confidence in the religious and moral values that have sustained it, basing itself now only on a formal democracy." He also cited "the silence of culture and society in the face of these situations, the fear of speaking out."
González gave as an example that Europe "cried out for freedom of expression in the case of the cartoons" that mocked Mohammed and Islam in general, yet "virtually no one came out in the Pope's defense at first."
The theologian said that Westerners expect several things from Muslims, including that they grow "in the historicity of the truth and the faith."
He added that the West would also like to see Islam "recognize the rights, liberties and dignity of the person, overcome violence and terrorism, and communicate the faith in freedom, without the need of dictatorships."
Additionally, González said that the Muslim world challenges the West in many areas, such as "the return to the religious dimension of human existence and the public presence of God."
Other challenges, he said, include "coherence of the whole of existence in the face of the fragmentation we experience in our society; the importance of prayer in daily life; the reaffirmation of fasting in our society of plenty; contribution to others through alms; and a return to the origin, to the foundational dimension, which is what the pilgrimage to Mecca means."
What I found so interesting is this point:
Europe "cried out for freedom of expression in the case of the cartoons" that mocked Mohammed and Islam in general, yet "virtually no one came out in the Pope's defense at first."
When a secular newspaper mocks religion, they are praised and defended for "freedom of speech." The pope criticizes Islam's violent tendencies (as did the cartoons) but in an academic way. No one defends him. Very interesting........