Not Saussure

September 16, 2006

Quite so, Mr Bari

Filed under: Catholicism, Dante, Islam, press, UK — notsaussure @ 1:58 pm

Commenting on the Pope’s controversial speech (.pdf file)

MCB secretary general Mohammed Abdul Bari said the emperor’s views about Islam were “ill informed” and “frankly bigoted”.

Well, considering that Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos wrote his offending remarks around 1391, during the Siege of Constantinople, I’d have thought we might cut hm a bit of slack.

Or is that me being a cultural relativist?

Afterthought: It occurs to me that Dante, writing in the early C14th, was also  perhaps rather insensitive in his treatment of both Mohammed and his son-in-law, Ali, in Canto XXVIII of the Inferno:

A cask by losing centre-piece or cant
Was never shattered so, as I saw one
Rent from the chin to where one breaketh wind.

Between his legs were hanging down his entrails;
His heart was visible, and the dismal sack
That maketh excrement of what is eaten.

While I was all absorbed in seeing him,
He looked at me, and opened with his hands
His bosom, saying: “See now how I rend me;

How mutilated, see, is Mahomet;
In front of me doth Ali weeping go,
Cleft in the face from forelock unto chin;

And all the others whom thou here beholdest,
Disseminators of scandal and of schism
While living were, and therefore are cleft thus.

A devil is behind here, who doth cleave us
Thus cruelly, unto the falchion’s edge
Putting again each one of all this ream,

When we have gone around the doleful road;
By reason that our wounds are closed again
Ere any one in front of him repass.


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