Friday, December 01, 2006
Pope Benedict goes to the mosque and bows towards Mecca
Pope Benedict continued his unfortunate exercise in dhimmitude yesterday when he visited Istanbul's famed Blue Mosque and performed the gesture of praying toward Mecca.
Benedict XVI is the second pope in history - after John Paul II in Damascus in 2001 - to set foot in a mosque. He made the gesture at the `suggestion' of Istanbul Mufti Mustafa Cagrici, who was with him for the occasion.
This makes John Paul's Qu'ran kissing pale by comparison.
Benedict's spokesmouth, Federico Lombardi, was quick to tell journalists afterward that the pope had not actually prayed but was "in meditation."
I'm sure the Muslims will make that distinction as well, aren't you?
The imam instructed the Pope in the basics of Muslim prayer and then said "Let us turn toward the Kiblah" - the direction of Mecca, which all Muslims must face when they perform their prayers.
The pope did so...and `meditated' for about two minutes, in a classical Muslim prayer attitude known as "the posture of tranquility."
Ironically, the Pope had just come from visiting the Aya Sofya Museum, which was once the Christian cathedral St. Sophia, until Constantinople was conquered and the Turks forcibly converted it into a mosque. And while he was in what was once hallowed ground, the Pope was careful to follow the orders he was given by his Turkish hosts not to pray or take any sort of religious posture.
As little as a century ago, just prior to the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish ethnic cleansing of the Greeks in Smyrna, there were still over 2 million Christians in what is now Turkey.
Today, there are less than 120,000.
While some in the West may see the Pope's actions in Turkey as a welcome interfaith gesture, rest assured that the Muslims world will see it as subservience and capitulation.