If defeating one’s enemy requires, in the first place, knowing who he is, the editorial is perfect: it describes the logic of violence present in Islam – both the terrorist and fundamentalist sort, and that of the entire umma – with scientific precision.
But it describes this logic of violence so well as to practically agree with it on everything. It does so to the point of denouncing those Muslims who deviate from orthodox doctrine. The paragraphs on Israel are exemplary: those Palestinians who accept its existence should know that “the viewpoint shared by the entire Islamic world” is the contrary, and that Hamas and its “martyrs” represent this much more consistently; Israel must be uprooted from a land that “ belongs to Muslims ‘by divine law’ until the end of time.”
The passages on democracy are also indicative. “La Civiltà Cattolica” says that this should not be imposed upon Islamic peoples, but “hopes” that they may adopt it on their own initiative. But in another passage, the same editorial maintains that democracy is incompatible with Islam. An earlier editorial from February 2, 2004 even describes it as “offensive to the Islamic community.”
The idea of cutting off financing to terrorist groups also seems contradictory. After it has argued, for pages and pages, that the Muslim world is inviolable and must not be touched, it is incomprehensible how in the last lines “La Civiltà Cattolica” could propose forcible intervention in the mosques and in the charitable associations of the “crescent moon,” from which this financing is thought to come.
But the most glaring contradiction is in the first of the five final points, where “La Civiltà Cattolica” invokes “a serene and trusting intercultural dialogue” with Islam.
If this editorial is an example of dialogue, in reality this is a counter-example.
In nine pages, there isn’t even a single line, not a single word subjecting to criticism “according to reason” the striking plexus of faith and violence described as existing in today’s Islam.
In Regensburg, Benedict XVI did this with rare courage.
“La Civiltà Cattolica” – which by statute should reflect the pope’s thought and argue on its behalf – doesn’t even refer to him.
Nor could it have done so in an editorial which, in the Islamic world, can be interpreted only as an act of surrender.