Now we're hearing calls for the execution of the pope for the crime of quoting a 14th century Christian emperor about Islam.
Lots of people have noticed the irony of Islamic calls for death for the crime of saying Islam calls for death a little too often.
But beyond that, as The Times of London pointed out today, the "sword verse" is in the Koran, and it appears to be the very instruction on which Usama bin Laden and other Wahhabists base their belief that conversion to Islam is quickest when it comes on the blade of a sharpened sword.
The Times of London said it today, as well as Britain's Daily Telegraph and the U.S. news weekly TIME: The pope was right.
What was he right about? He was right to say that Islam has an issue with some doctrine that it must solve. It's not for us to solve, it's for followers of the prophet.
The issue is whether Islam is a religion of peace or not. It is obvious that many, many hundreds of millions of Muslims are perfectly peaceful and would gladly live in harmony with their neighbors. But what about the others?
There's no question the others do exist. We see it in the news everyday now, and we do understand there are people who say they represent Islam who think persuasion and reason are a waste of time, that Islam should be spread by force.
As The Times and TIME magazine and others have pointed out, it's hard to think of another religion that presently calls for war and death as the method of bringing the faith to the unenlightened.
Maybe the pope stumbled into a debate he would rather have ignored, but we're in it now. So I ask my Muslim friends: What are you doing about this problem?
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