Mohammed at Iraq the Model has a thoughtful commentary on violent reactions to the Pope's words titled "When Will We Be Able To Accept Criticism?" Here is an excerpt. Read the rest here.
Now after reading texts that are mentioned in our respected books I wonder why we always put the sword as a symbol under 'There's no God but Allah'?
Isn't the call for Islam convincing enough by itself that some countries or Jihadi groups add a sword to it?!
The truth is that the religious institutions here are corrupt and despotic. And while they reject criticism today, they are looking with fear at the criticism coming out from the inside of the very same institutions which in some cases I find harsher and more explicit that the quotes the pope used in his speech.
First of all, we need to review these texts and history books that Muslim scholars insist on relying on, and before they judge others' knowledge they must present what proves the opposite of the stories or facts they reject. Or, they should abandon these texts and declare them invalid.
Now let's see, the chief cleric of the al—Azhar university accused the pope of ignorance about Islamic history, right? Let's hear what another history scholar from al—Azhar said in one of his books about the same stage of Islamic history as the one the pope was referring to.
Sheikh Khaleel Abdul Kareem in his book "Shadu al—Rababa fi Ahwal al—Sahaba" (first edition 1997) said,
"Did the invaded people take the belief of the invaders voluntarily? What were they expected to do after seeing with their own eyes their men being slaughtered even after they surrendered and raised the white flag? Or when they saw their houses burned down, women taken slaves, belongings purged and taxes imposed, where they expected to keep their religion or move to embrace that of their invading masters to get away from the punishment?"
I believe this testimony which comes from one of al—Azhar scholars is way more critical than the words the pope quoted....
By the way, Khaleel Abdul Kareem was prosecuted more than once but was never pronounced guilty because of his factual and objective approach in which he used examples and proofs taken from the history texts approved by al—Azhar and the like.
His prosecutors backed off when they realized that denouncing him would mean renouncing the history the live by and that's what none of them dared to do.
Some accuse the pope of bad timing but I wonder what is going to be the best time to accept criticism and accept questions? Next year? a decade from now? When?
There will no be such time for our clerics who derive their power from this history, and to them, questioning or criticizing this history is a threat to their holiness and power
John B. Dwyer 9 19 06