Student Voice


July 22, 2024


Pope causes Islam uproar

September 21, 2006

The pope represents peace and loyalty to the Catholic religion. He is looked up to by millions of people to lead a church that follows God’s word. He is seen as the holiest of holy.

So why does he have to go pissing everyone off?

Last week at a German university, the pope made an extremely controversial speech saying that the religion of Islam was “evil and inhuman.”

“Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith that he preached,” he said.

These words fueled heated responses from Muslims across the world. Even some of those that follow the Catholic religion cringed when they heard that the pope would say such seemingly hateful things.

On the other hand, the argument could be made that what the pope was saying had some truth to it. After all, following Sept. 11, images of extremist Muslims celebrating in the streets at the United States’ expense filled the airwaves. They flew airplanes into two of our country’s most important buildings and had plans to do much more.

The fact is that these Muslim extremists attacked the United States because a small portion of the people who follow the Islamic religion generalized Americans as dangerous and awful people. The attacks were not supported by all Muslims. It was just too easy for the majority of the United States to see a group of people celebrating the deaths of their own and claim that every one of them was a terrorist.

Maybe what the pope did isn’t that closely related to the attacks on our homeland. He didn’t hurt anyone, right? After all, sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you! Unfortunately, this is not a playground, and in this case a verbal attack is a damn boulder.

He may have not hurt anyone directly, but his words reflect the views of millions of people across the world, including many of us here in the United States.

One would hope that in such a critical time in the course of human history -- a time where there is a war on terror going on, a time when extremist Muslims are blowing themselves up in the streets, a time when Al-Qaeda is issuing threats day after day -- that the one man who is supposed to preach love and acceptance would think before he opened his mouth.

The words spoken by the pope created even more hate for Christians, and Al-Qaeda leaders have already issued statements that they are going to gauge war on the religion.

He issued an apology on Sunday, saying that he didn’t mean to offend anyone, and that he is sorry if his words were misunderstood. Yet mis- understandings can do a lot of damage. People jump to conclusions, and in a fast-paced world, do not take the time to wait for apologies.

These extremist groups are dangerous and easily provoked. Maybe the pope didn’t mean what he said, but he still said it, and his words may come back to haunt us.

Rebecca De Neui is a student at UW-River Falls.