According to the Finnish News organization STT, Helsinki University Professor of Arab languages and Islamic studies, Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila doesn’t believe that Pope Benedictus XVI’s recent speech will have any wider ramifications in the lslamic world. This is of course the very same Finnish professor who dismissed the notion of a wider (violent) Muslim response over the Danish cartoons that depicted the Islamic Prophet Mohamed.
He was grossly wrong back then, which makes me highly skeptical of his “analytic powers” this time around as well. That he tries to downplay the reaction of the Muslim world in response to a speech by the Roman Catholic Pope, is not surprising at all, especially when he’s implicating that the Pontiff is himself to blame:
“The speech can be interpretated in much the same way as the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed, in other words, that the West’s attitude towards the Islamic world is in some way, one of belittlement or contempt.”
This is of course absolute nonsense, the speech read in its entirety, proves the exact apposite of Hämeen-Anttila’s conclusion. According to Fr. Samir K. Samir, SJ, the Vatican’s top expert on Islam:
“Rather than criticizing Islam, the pope is actually offering it a helping hand by suggesting that it do away with the cycle of violence,”The pope’s academic lecture “was trying to show how Western society – including the Church – has become secularized by removing from the concept of Reason, its spiritual dimension and origins which are in God”.
According to Hämeen-Anttila, he doesn’t think the situtuation will lead to anything more than a few demonstrations over a period of a few weeks. Perhaps, but who can say what will happen in the future, since the Islamist nutcases are already demanding the murder of the Pope? Robert Spencer has already observed the Islamic world’s outrage containing something else, a warning to the Christian Pontiff and the rest of the Christian world “to be within your limits”.
Funny that Helsinki University Professor Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila never discusses these issues with the Finnish media, he never dares to bring them up. Somehow it’s always the misunderstanding of the West towards Islam that’s at fault, never the intolerant religious fanatics. KGS