A pope and a father

Okay, so everybody heard about the speech the Pope gave where he literally outdid President Bush, the difference being that the latter uses quotes more than the former (more academic…). But few may have seen what “Father” SAMIR Khalil SAMIR, director of some “research” center (CEDRAC) at the Saint-Joseph University of Beirut wrote in order to defend the pope in, of course, L’Orient-Le-Jour, the little Francophone newspaper that only satisfies the frustrations of the tiny amount of disillunioned Christian bourgeoisie in Lebanon.

The title of the text: Le discours du pape : une main tendue à tous, et aux musulmans en particulier. Now I would call this the Lebanese way of reaching out!

And here are some quotes:

Rappelons tout d’abord que les paragraphes qui traitent tant soit peu de l’islam correspondent à environ 10% du texte global. Le pape y cite un verset coranique : « Il n’y a pas de contrainte en matière de religion » (la Vache 2, 256) ; c’est sans doute le verset le plus fréquemment cité en Occident, dans le but de souligner que le Coran appuie la liberté de conscience.
Si le pape avait voulu attaquer l’islam sur ce point, il lui aurait été facile de citer d’autres versets, à commencer par les versets 190-193 de la même sourate : « Combattez dans le sentier de Dieu ceux qui vous combattent et ne transgressez pas. Certes, Dieu n’aime pas les transgresseurs ! Tuez-les, où que vous les rencontriez, et chassez-les d’où ils vous ont chassés : la sédition (fitna) est plus grave que le meurtre. (…). Combattez-les jusqu’à ce qu’il n’y ait plus de sédition (fitna), et que la religion soit entièrement à Dieu seul. S’ils cessent, donc plus d’hostilités, sauf contre les injustes. »

So basically here what the “Father” is trying to say is that Pope Benedictus could have been much harsher, but chose not to. How kind … “Father,” I am sure you would have done a much better job as you and most of the Lebanese know the “scandalous” quotes of the Qur’an very well and know how to strip them out of their context to support the idea that Muslims are somehow “inferior” to Christians.

Malheureusement, il arrive trop souvent aujourd’hui que la foi musulmane soit accaparée par les politiques (et par là passe à la violence) et que le Coran soit accaparé par les doctes, empêchant le musulman moderne de se poser des questions.

And what about Christians? Aren’t they political? Are you kidding me? Actually I won’t continue with this as the whole text by the “Father” tries to argue that Islam spread thanks to violence, whereas Christianity was always about love. Strangely enough, Christianity is equated not only with love but also with reason, whereas Islam is equated with violence and irrationalism … So it is story of angels against demons: another “Christian” way of looking at the world. “Father,” I recommend that you re-read Nietzsche to undertand why what you’re saying has been obsolete for nearly a century.

But also, without complicating things too much for the readers, I would ask the “Father” to go back to his history books and look at a much greyer reality. Actually, I think the “Father” may not have understood the political content of Benedictus. It’s a war, “Father.” Didn’t you notice? And you’re adding oil to the fire (to follow Joseph Samaha’s expression) by trying to crystallize what the Pope has said for some obvious political reasons.

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2 Replies to “A pope and a father”

  1. Bonjour Bechir,
    Je suis le “Father” dont vous parlez. Faute de temps et pour éviter une vaine polémique, je vous donne mon numéro de téléphone (01.200457 / 200458 / 200632). Peut-être nos points de vue ne sont-ils pas si éloignés et qu’une conversation directe écarterait certaines équivoques.
    Merci,
    P. Samir Khalil Samir SJ (CEDRAC, USJ)

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