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                              Opinion Editorials, September 2006, To see today's opinion
                                       articles, click here: www.aljazeerah.info


                             Pope Benedict XVI Regrets
     •••••••                 By Abdel Aziz Dimapunong

  Al-Jazeerah.               Al-Jazeerah, September 28, 2006
     Home                                                                                                                                           Earth, a planet
                             Praise is to God-Alone who gives the temporal power of reason to                                                       hungry for peace
       News                  whom He pleases, and for as long or short as He pleases. And peace
                             is to Prophet Muhammad, his companions, friends and family. And                                                           Apartheid Wall
 Arab Cartoons               peace to everyone on this occasion of Ramadhan 1427 A.H

  News Photo                 On September 12, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a lecture at
                             Regensburg University where he was quoted to have said “offensive
                             remarks about Islam and Muslims”. It was clear that the pope linked
  Documents
                             the religion of Islam to violence. The Muslims reacted faster than they
                             did on the issue of Danish cartoons. It was immediately unleashed
   Editorials                with fury. By Friday, September 15, 2006, Palestinian protestors
                             marched in the Gaza Strip waving the flags of Hamas and chanting
Opinion Editorial            Allaho Akbar (Allah is Greater). Prime Minister Ismail Haniya criticized
                             the pope's comments, saying: "These remarks go against the truth
 letters to the              and touch the heart of our faith.”                                                                                     The Israeli Land-
     editor                                                                                                                                         Grab Apartheid Wall
                             The following day, thousands of Muslims have held demonstrations
                             around the world. They protested against the remarks made by Pope                                                      built inside the
Human Price of
  the Israeli                Benedict about Islam.                                                                                                  Palestinian
Occupation of
                             Five days after he made his remark, Pope Benedict XVI said he                                                          territories, here
   Palestine
                             “sincerely regretted” that he may have offended the Muslim world.                                                      separating Abu Dis
       Islam                 This partly calmed down the outrage of some Muslims although some
                             still want more than being sorry. Among those that reacted positively                                                  from occupied East
                             were the Muslim Council of Britain, Britain’s Ramadhan Foundation,                                                     Jerusalem. (IPC,
  Israeli daily
                             the British Muslim Initiative, and the Islamic Society of Britain.
aggression on
                                                                                                                                                    7/4/04).
the Palestinian
                             In making his remark, Pope Benedict XVI wishes to set back the time
     people
                             to the Byzantine days of conflict. Nobody seems to understand why he
                             quoted Emperor Manuel II Paleologus who was anti-Islam. Why
  Media Watch                Joseph Ratzinger had to say those hurting words befuddled so many.
                             I personally do not wonder. The Holy Qur’an has the explanation.
 Mission and                 Benedict is already 79 years old in the Gregorian calendar. By
 meaning of Al-              reckoning of the Hijra Islamic calendar, Benedict is already about 82.
   Jazeerah                  He is already an octogenarian in lunar time frame. This time frame
                             marks fixed period of time in the affairs of man (Qur’an: v 189, s. 2). In
  News Photo                 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
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Peace Activists              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
      Poetry                 over 70, this decline may amount to forgetfulness and memory lapses.
                             Reaching the age of 80 and above, amnesia or schizophrenia may set
 Book reviews                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
    Public
                             others. By Freudian theories, octogenarians are susceptible to commit
Announcements
                             a Freudian slip.
     Public                                                                                                                                         The Israeli apartheid
                             The Holy Qur’an speaks of declining capacities of man including
   Activities                                                                                                                                       (security) wall around
                             physical strength, intellectual and reasoning abilities. And this may be
                             the relevant message for everyone. In the popular Sura Ya Siin is                                                      Palestinian population
Women in News                stated: “If we grant long life to any, we cause him to be reversed in                                                  centers in the West
                                                                                                                                                    Bank, like a Python.
                             nature. Will they not then understand?” (Qur’an: v. 68: s 36). Let me
                                                                                                                                                    (Alquds,10/25/03).
     Cities,                 call this as the verse of diminishing capacity of man. This verse is
 localities, and             particularly relevant considering that Archbishop Dominique Mamberti,
     tourist                 the Vatican foreign relations secretary, is insisting on an interfaith
   attractions               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.


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                            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



Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not
                                     represent Al-Jazeerah's.

                                                             editor@aljazeerah.info




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