You are correct you are not an expert on Islam. John Paul II is said to have kissed the Quran.
And this means what exactly? Was this symbolic gesture of ecumenism on the part of the Pope seen the same way by many Muslims as it was meant to be by the Pope? Would an Islamic scholar who is not a Sufi mystic kiss the New and Old Testament?
The Vatican has an entire institute devoted to Islam. I believe it is refered to as the Pontifical Academy for Arabic and Islamic Studies (something like that). Islamic mystics also helped shape Christian mystics.
I would contest this. Didn’t Christian mysticism predate Islamic mysticism? Also, Islamic mystics-Sufis, were heavily influenced by Gnostic Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and (in the case of sub-Saharan Africa) animism or polytheism. These were the religious currents the Arab Muslims and the converted peoples came in contact with when they conquered other lands.
As for strife and war. Both the Islamic and Christian worlds have known this - so have the worlds of ideology (e.g. Democracy vs Communism). Such is life. The great Ottoman Empire, in her redoubtable strength and silk flags, did not have the turmoil and infighting that Christian Europe once had centuries ago.
That’s because the Ottoman Empire at its peak was able to subjugate its conquered people, including her subjects in Europe (Greece and the Balkans), into a single empire. Christian Europe was divided into several competing monarchies.
"Terrorism" is a tactic. It's employed not just by NGO's but by nations states. Currently Israel has inflicted no less terror on the cities of Lebanon and no less damage to her infastructure than Al Qaida did to New York City. The United States Government by the way supports this terrorism. The United States her self conducted a terrorizing tactic when it fire bombed Tokyo. The emotionalism in the phrase "terrorism" is of political construct. The Brits called the Americans and George Washignton a terrorist at one time. And there was a time when Nelson Mandela of South Africa was called a "terrorist." The status quo uses the term "terrorist" to demonize any NGO that would challenge its authority with it's own classic 21st century warfare principles (e.g. attack the civilian sectors to force the opposing government to cede to your demands)
This is obfuscation and negationism….If everyone is a terrorist then noone is. I suppose the Shiites in Southern Lebanon shouldn’t get upset when people call Hezbollah a terrorist group and they and others should refrain from calling Israel’s reaction to being bombed by Hezbollah terrorist because one man’s terrorist is another man’s [fill in the blank].
There are however things I don't care for about Islam. And I'm not certain my conviction in Mohammed. I'm still very a young brother of Jesus and give great honors onto Santa Maria. But Islam address my world and Islam through everything, through all the media hype over "Islamic terrorism," still has a Muslim women population that gives fidelity to Islamic men in the darkest of Islamic hours.
There is truth in loyalty and I love loyalty. And Islam has loyalty. At least in her women. To me, their must be something holy and golden in that, Islamic women bear some Divine truth I do not know or see in Christianity.
Loyalty isn’t a good thing necessarily. If I’m loyal to a significant other who emotionally abuses me or physically abuses me is this a good thing? And what is the “Divine truth” that Muslim women bear that you do not see in Christianity?
I've tired of much of the empty rethoric I've heard from Christians. I've tired of the hatred and rethoric from secular people. I don't fear Islam.
But not tired of the rhetoric, intolerance, and violence coming from many in Islamic quarters? I mean I was pretty fearful when a learned, respected religious leader took a contract out on a writer for writing a book he thought was blasphemous. And this was in the latter 20th Century. Many countries: Israel, India, South Africa (?), much of the Arab world, banned the book out of fear of what would happen if some of their Muslim population got riled up about the book being available for purchase. Or maybe the book was banned out of respect for that religion.
I was fearful of the rioting in Nigeria (hundreds killed) when Northern Nigerian Islamic leaders worked themselves into a frenzy when they found out that the Miss Universe Pageant would be held in their country.
I prefer most though, Brazilian secularism. It's tolerance and easy going ways. I would fight for Brazil against Islam if any Islamic forces ever attempted to place her under sharia. Other than that I pro-Islam, minus some of the mean and hateful people in Islam.
This last sentence is puzzling. You would fight for a country you’ve never visited and whose language you don’t speak if Muslims attempted to impose sharia on that society. Yet it is okay if Muslims attempt to do it elsewhere, even when many of their co-religionists would rather not live under sharia? Islam, unlike Christianity, is more rigidly monotheistic. Hence, in a place like Brazil, even without imposing sharia, Muslims on average would be much more intolerant of some Brazilians’ religious practices-Orisha worship, spirtism, etc.- than many evangelical Christians are in Brazil today. Catholicism has made its peace with African-based religions in Brazil. But the rigid monotheism of Islam makes it much less tolerant and easygoing towards some of the things that exist in Brazilian society.
Also, if you are willing to disassociate the mean and hateful people in Islam from the religion itself, why do you seem unable to do this with Christians and “secular” people (with the exception of the “secularism” of Brazil)?
Finally, to be pro-Islam should mean to accept the universal truth of Islam and submit yourself (Islam means submission) to the will of god. It also means accepting, according to Islam, that Christianity and Judaism are both distortions of god’s true message, which Muslims have received from Muhammad. If one is pro Islam, in my opinion, one should be a Muslim.
As far as I’m concerned, Muhammad was probably a Nestorian Christian who made Islam up. But then I operate from the premise that all religions are man made anyway.