A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Byzantine Emperor Apologizes to Muslims For Quote

The People's Cube offers a moment of clarity. Or was that 'hilarity'? Here's your moment of zen.

In the view of some historians, the Pope's recent apology to enraged Muslims over use of a quote written by Manuel II Palaeologus in 1391 bears a striking similarity with a similar apology delivered more than 600 years ago by Manuel II Palaeologus himself to offended Muslim armies after they ransacked his Christian country, converted its citizens to Islam, and beheaded or enslaved those who resisted the forced conversions. In a public speech made shortly after the quote first appeared in Muslim press, Manuel II apologized to the Islamic community that besieged his controversial "Byzantine entity," the term used to describe the Greek-speaking Roman Empire of the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople (now Istanbul). "I hope," said Manuel II, who was also known as a writer, poet and theologian, "that my apology will appease hearts and clarify the true meaning of my address, which was an invitation to a rational dialogue, with great mutual respect."

"In my seventh dialogue with an imaginary Islamic scholar," the learned Byzantine ruler continued as he evaded occasional critical arrows flying from the surrounding hordes, "I referred to the Koran's teachings about spreading the faith by the sword. And this, I said, could not come from God because violence is the opposite of reason, and God himself cannot act contrary to reason. But your passionate criticism has proven to me that there is, indeed, nothing evil or inhuman in spreading the faith by violent means, and that beheadings of non-believers and terrorizing communities in the name of religion are all signs of perfectly rational behavior and wonderful mental health."

"Taking quotes out of context is similarly a magnificent example of a reasonable dialogue from which we all should learn," Manuel II said, adding that the recent slaughters of thousands of his Christian subjects by the Muslim sword were the result of his own blindness to the true peaceful nature of Islam. "We can only hope that their sacrifice will help build real fraternity among us," he said, "so that all Muslims and Christians can learn to live with reciprocal respect of everyone's religious convictions, and that some 600 years from now conflicts and misunderstandings like this would be a thing of the past."

h/t Kathy at SDA

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