Question asked of Jerusalem Post columnists: "Should the Pope have apologized for his comments quoting a Byzantine emperor who equated Islam and violence?" For all replies, see "Burning Issues #1: Should the Pope have apologized?"
The pope should not have apologized, as he did nothing wrong. (By the way, a close look at the Italian original of his statement finds it much milder than the official Vatican translation into English - not "I am deeply sorry" but merely "I regret.")
The statement Benedict XVI quoted from the Byzantine emperor, to the effect that everything new in Islam is "evil and inhuman," with specific reference to jihad (holy war) needs to be debated. I happen to disagree with it, but I stand by his right to express his views on Islam. We are in a war and a crisis, and each of us, from the mightiest to the lowliest, needs the freedom to opine on the nature of the enemy and how to defeat him.
Nothing can be off limits in this debate; and there must be no penalty for those who express their views. To apologize and to avoid further discussion of Islam is to accept Islamic restrictions and to take a first, and momentous, step toward acceptance of the Shari'a (Islamic law). (September 18, 2006)