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					                       Opinion Editorials, September 2006, To see
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                      Pope Benedict XVI Regrets
      ‫اﻟﺠﺰﯾﺮة‬         By Abdel Aziz Dimapunong

          Al-         Al-Jazeerah, September 28, 2006
    Jazeerah.Home                                                            Earth, a planet
                  Praise is to God-Alone who gives the temporal              hungry for peace
                  power of reason to whom He pleases, and for as
                  long or short as He pleases. And peace is to                    Apartheid Wall
    Arab Cartoons
                  Prophet Muhammad, his companions, friends and
     News Photo   family. And peace to everyone on this occasion of
                  Ramadhan 1427 A.H
                  On September 12, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI
   Editorials     delivered a lecture at Regensburg University where                             
                  he was quoted to have said “offensive remarks
Opinion Editorial about Islam and Muslims”. It was clear that the
                  pope linked the religion of Islam to violence. The
 letters to the   Muslims reacted faster than they did on the issue of
     editor                                                                  The Israeli Land-
                  Danish cartoons. It was immediately unleashed              Grab Apartheid Wall
                  with fury. By Friday, September 15, 2006,                  built inside the
Human Price of
   the Israeli
                  Palestinian protestors marched in the Gaza Strip           Palestinian
 Occupation of waving the flags of Hamas and chanting Allaho                 territories, here
   Palestine      Akbar (Allah is Greater). Prime Minister Ismail            separating Abu Dis
                  Haniya criticized the pope's comments, saying:             from occupied East
     Islam        "These remarks go against the truth and touch the          Jerusalem. (IPC,
                  heart of our faith.”                                       7/4/04).
      Israeli daily
    aggression on     The following day, thousands of Muslims have held  
    the Palestinian
        people        demonstrations around the world. They protested
                      against the remarks made by Pope Benedict about
     Media Watch      Islam.

     Mission and    Five days after he made his remark, Pope Benedict
    meaning of Al-  XVI said he “sincerely regretted” that he may have
      Jazeerah      offended the Muslim world. This partly calmed
                    down the outrage of some Muslims although some
     News Photo
                    still want more than being sorry. Among those that
                    reacted positively were the Muslim Council of
    Peace Activists
                    Britain, Britain’s Ramadhan Foundation, the British
                    Muslim Initiative, and the Islamic Society of Britain. The Israeli apartheid
                                                                             (security) wall
                                                                             around Palestinian
     Book reviews     In making his remark, Pope Benedict XVI wishes to      population centers in
                      set back the time to the Byzantine days of conflict.   the West Bank, like
    Public          Nobody seems to understand why he quoted               a Python.
Announcements       Emperor Manuel II Paleologus who was anti-Islam. (Alquds,10/25/03).
                    Why Joseph Ratzinger had to say those hurting
                    words befuddled so many. I personally do not
                    wonder. The Holy Qur’an has the explanation.
Women in News Benedict is already 79 years old in the Gregorian
                    calendar. By reckoning of the Hijra Islamic
Cities, localities, calendar, Benedict is already about 82. He is
   and tourist      already an octogenarian in lunar time frame. This
   attractions      time frame marks fixed period of time in the affairs
                    of man (Qur’an: v 189, s. 2). In Islam, Muslims who
                    live during and after the Prophet Muhammad,
                    peace be on him, are told to expect a life
                    expectancy of only 60 years. Any longer life maybe
                    considered as a chance to live and believe in God-
                    Alone. It is also of common knowledge that after
                    the age of 60, a person’s intelligence and reasoning
                    starts to decline. At the age of over 70, this decline
                    may amount to forgetfulness and memory lapses.
                    Reaching the age of 80 and above, amnesia or
                    schizophrenia may set in. By the standard of Islam
                    after Hijra, 82 is an old age. In the Philippines,
                    under a special law, they are called “senior
                    citizens”, they bring Identification Cards because
                    they are treated separately from others. By
                    Freudian theories, octogenarians are susceptible to
                    commit a Freudian slip.

                 The Holy Qur’an speaks of declining capacities of
                 man including physical strength, intellectual and
                 reasoning abilities. And this may be the relevant
                 message for everyone. In the popular Sura Ya Siin
                 is stated: “If we grant long life to any, we cause him
                 to be reversed in nature. Will they not then
                 understand?” (Qur’an: v. 68: s 36). Let me call this
                 as the verse of diminishing capacity of man. This
                 verse is particularly relevant considering that
                 Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican
                 foreign relations secretary, is insisting on an
                 interfaith dialogue “based on sound intellectual
                 foundation” and that he would like the dialogue to
                 be so personal that “the thoughts of Pope Benedict
                 XVI should be seen in that context”.

                 Yousef Ali, the famous translator of the meanings
                 of the Qur’an had this comment on the verse of
                 diminishing capacity: ” As a child, the powers of
                 mind and body are still undeveloped. As he grows,
                 they grow, and certain moral qualities, such as
                 courage, daring, the will to conquer, unfold
                themselves. In extreme old age these are again
                obscured, and a second childhood supervenes”. In
                the end man loses all of his memory – even his life.
                An even while man is still alive, his fleeting
                intellectual capacity dies every time he falls asleep.

                Therefore, considering the age of the pope, we may
                just consider his remarks as a slip-up

                According to Sigmund Freud, this condition results
                from the operation of unconscious wishes or
                conflicts and can reveal unconscious processes.
                Besides, the pope has already said he is sorry. He
                already expressed his “sincere regrets”.

                There is another reason why we should let go the
                remarks of Pope Benedict XVI. Today is the start of
                Ramadhan fasting. This is a holy month when it is
                required of every Muslim not to be hostile. Yes,
                even when a Muslim is challenged to a fight, he
                should just say: “I am fasting”.

                Going back to the Pope, he also partly mentioned
                the popular verse 256 of surat Al-Baqara which
                partly reads: “There is no compulsion in religion.”
                Then he made some unwarranted comments.
                Rather than a rejoinder to whatever comments he
                has made about this sura, let me just patch up
                because that is just a part of the verse. It should be
                read: “Let there be no compulsion in religion, the
                truth stands clear from error… ”

                To my dear Pope Benedict XVI, as the truth stands
                clear, the truth shall set you free.

                Abdel Aziz Dimapunong
                Imam, Masjid Al Khairi
                Ramadhan 2, 1427 AH

                The author is the Imam of Masjid Al Khairi, No. 3,
                Marawi Avenue, Maharlika Village, Tagig City,
                Metro Manila, Philippines. He is also Chancellor,
                Islamic Banking Research Institute, and Chairman
                Emeritus, Amanah Islamic Bank of the Philippines
                15th Floor, Washington Tower, Asia World
                Complex Paranaque City, Philippines

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