Pope Gets Angry Over the Burning of a Book That Calls Christians ‘Vile’
Pope Francis is “indignant and disgusted,” according to a Sunday news report, but not over what you might expect. The pontiff is not enraged over the industrial-scale clerical sex abuse that has plagued the Church, or about the escalating persecution of Christians worldwide, or about the wholesale abandonment of Christianity in Europe. Instead, he is furious because an Iraqi refugee in Sweden set fire to a copy of the Qur’an.
Last Friday, the Iraqi refugee in question, Salwan Momika, stood outside a mosque in Stockholm and mounted a one-man protest. He placed a strip of bacon inside a copy of the Qur’an, put the book on the ground and stomped on it, and tore some pages out and set fire to them. Now, if he had done this to a Bible, he would have been celebrated all over Europe and North America for being stunning and brave, but since he did it to a Qur’an, the reaction was a bit different.
Momika explained: “I want to protest in front of the large mosque in Stockholm, and I want to express my opinion about the Quran… I will tear up and burn it.” He announced his plans beforehand in a video: “My demonstration will take place on the first day of Eid,” the Muslim festival commemorating Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son Ishmael (not Isaac, as in the Judeo-Christian tradition). “My demonstration,” Momika continued, “will be in front of the big mosque in Stockholm where I will burn the Qur’an.” He added: “My loved ones, who are living in Stockholm, and would like to participate in the demonstrations, and contribute both financially and emotionally, my information is below.” He emphasized the importance of the freedom of expression: “This is democracy. It is in danger if they tell us we can’t do this.”
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Salwan Momika poses a problem for those who dismiss all criticism of Islam and opposition to jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women as “hatred,” “racism” and “Islamophobia.” This critic of the Qur’an cannot be waved away with the usual smears. As a native of Iraq, Momika has had a great deal of interaction with people who believe that the Qur’an is the perfect word of the only true God. His experience has obviously not been favorable, but it is precisely that: experience.
Pope Francis, on the other hand, has never lived in a majority-Muslim country, and has steadfastly refused to face the reality of Qur’an-inspired violence even amid the global jihad against Christians. Instead, he declared counterfactually in 2013 that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Qur’an are opposed to every form of violence.” And so he was duly upset with Salwan Momika, who is upsetting his kumbaya applecart. He declared: “I feel indignant and disgusted by these actions.” Why? Because “any book considered sacred by its authors must be respected out of respect for its believers, and freedom of expression must never be used as an excuse to despise others, and to allow this, must be rejected and condemned.”
Any book? Really, Frank? Good thing Hitler wasn’t savvy enough to declare Mein Kampf a sacred book, so that we don’t have to endure the spectacle of the Bishop of Rome telling us that it must be respected. Yet even in the present case, the pope is busy painting himself into a corner. The Qur’an says that “the unbelievers among the people of the book,” that is, Jews and Christians who don’t become Muslims, are “the most vile of created beings” (98:6). It says that unbelievers are “the worst of animals in Allah’s sight” (8:55). It calls on Muslims to “wage jihad against the unbelievers and the hypocrites” and adds: “Be harsh with them” (9:73). It says: “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are ruthless against the unbelievers and merciful among themselves” (48:29). These verses and numerous others like them make it clear that while Pope Francis is calling upon non-Muslims to respect the Qur’an, the Qur’an doesn’t return the favor. The pope is demanding respect for a book that is filled with nothing but disrespect for those who, like the pope himself, are considered to be outside the circle of believers.
Pope Francis has likewise never acknowledged that the Islamic world’s anger over blasphemy in the West, such as cartoons of Muhammad as well as burnings of the Qur’an, are part of a larger endeavor to force the West into discarding the freedom of expression and submitting to Islamic blasphemy laws. The secretary-general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Hissein Brahim Taha, said Sunday: “We must send constant reminders to the international community regarding the urgent application of international law, which clearly prohibits any advocacy of religious hatred.” By “religious hatred,” Taha means any expression of disapproval of one religion in particular: Islam. The OIC is trying to manipulate newly minted provisions restricting “hate speech” to silence all criticism of Islam, jihad, and Sharia, however justified it may be, and Pope Francis is willingly going along.
Meanwhile, when has Pope Francis ever said he was “indignant and disgusted” over Islamic jihad violence? Why, never. He has never acknowledged that Islamic jihad violence even exists. Admitting it does might harm his beloved “Muslim-Christian dialogue,” which he pursues indefatigably despite its never having saved a single Christian from persecution. It does get him woke points, and that seems to be all that matters.
Article posted with permission from Robert Spencer