Not Saussure

September 18, 2006

Westminster Cathedral Demo against Pope

Filed under: Catholicism, Community, Islam, UK — notsaussure @ 9:46 am

Joee Blogs, A Catholic Londoner has some photos of a pretty offensive demo, comprising about 100 people and organised by Omar Bakri Muhammad’s sidekick, Anjem Choudary, which confronted him and other worshippers on Sunday at Westminster Cathedral; he writes

It was a pretty nasty demonstration. From 11 – 3pm they chanted absurd things, literally just outside the Cathedral. And from 11- 3pm (and indeed all day, every day) like every day of the week, faithful Catholics and non-Catholics (mainly tourists) wondered in and out of the magnificent Church, largely ignoring the furore of hatred this crowd of muslims was trying to stir up.

I see, incidentally, that The Sun seems to have used one of his pictures; I hope they’ve paid him.

Joee, who ‘prayed a rosary for them’ before taking the photos of the protestors, says, ‘I feel a bit uneasy posting the above, so any supportive comments would be very much appreciated!’. Some of the people who’ve left comments on his blog seem to have taken that as meaning

this statement demonstrates the level of fear that Muslims have caused in decent people. In a free world it is disguting that people should be made to feel ‘uneasy’ about posting some pictures of a current event.

but I think this poster got it right:

Interesting that you understand Joee’s “feel uneasy about posting this” as fear of Muslims. I understood it differently, that he felt reluctant to post about evil for the same reason that made him pray for them, which is love of mankind.

The pictures certainly made me angry — they would most people, I think — which I don’t think was Joee’s intention; it’s easy to forget that any fool can — and quite possibly will next Friday outside Regents Park Mosque in retaliation — get up a small and nasty demonstration. Doesn’t necessarily mean many of the people on whose behalf he claims to speak agree with him.

Meanwhile, Indigo Jo Blogs (a British convert to Islam) writes in Pope Criticises, Anjem Embarrasses,

Reading what the Pope actually said, I can’t find anything which is so defamatory as to actually cause riots, not that anything justifies riots; the words which have caused all the offence are words quoted from someone else, namely Emmanuel II Paleologus, a 14th-century Byzantine emperor. As Osama Saeed and others have pointed out, the words reflect a misconception that Islam was spread by the sword, which in terms of Islam as a set of beliefs rather than as a political system, it was not. It is worth noting that the eastern Orthodox churches, to one of which the emperor quoted belonged, have a rather less bloody record of spreading religion by the sword than does the Catholic church, whose violent exploits over the centuries in Spain, the Levant and South America are well-known.

[…] It could be that the protests are made to seem bigger in the media than they actually were, particularly given that they took part in several Muslim countries, but what Ratzinger has done is little more than disagree with an aspect of our religion, even if somewhat hypocritically, to a group mostly comprised of his followers. The reaction, which once again makes us all look like senseless rabble, has done Islam a far worse disservice than anything Ratzinger has said, either in Regensburg last week or in his entire career.

UPDATE

I see Joee has posted the following in his comments section; he shouldn’t have needed to say it, but, sadly, I can’t say I’m surprised he had to.

I’ve had to turn comment moderation on again since some of the comments show as much hatred as these extremists in the pictures.
I’ll post again about this but I’d like three things to be noted:
1) These were 100 Muslims out of the 2 million (ish?) living in Britain. Thus this is hardly representative of all muslims.
2) The Pope’s speech reiterated Christ’s words to love your enemies, and not to commit violence in the name of religion. Further, Christ gives us a difficult commandment (Mt 5:28) that even to think of evil is as good as committing it.
3) I prayed the rosary for their intentions.
4) I don’t give my permission for the BNP to use my photos.

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