Via Dhimmi Watch, I find the latest display of completely indescribable stupidity from Rowan Williams:
The Archbishop of Canterbury used the eve of the anniversary of the September 11 attacks on America yesterday to defend religion against claims that it promotes division and violence.
Dr Rowan Williams said that although Islam and Christianity had histories scarred with violence, they carried the “seeds of non-violence and non possessive witness.”
Jihad, or holy war, could nowadays be interpreted as a “struggle of the heart” rather than the defence of the Muslim community against its enemies, he said.
Well, he may interpret it that way, but Yusuf al-Qaradawi does not. He interprets it as meaning that one can wage violent war against those living in Dar al-Harb ("the domain of war", i.e. non-Islamic lands). Al-Qaradawi is seen by Muslims as one of the greatest contemporary Islamic scholars. Rowan Williams, by contrast, is seen by Muslims as a useful idiot, and by everyone else as simply an idiot. Which one do you think knows more about Koranic interpretation?
He added that both faiths could offer society an ideal of peaceful co-existence despite their violent histories because they were guided by beliefs that transcended human conflict.Note the moral equivalency between Christians and Muslims. Williams appears not to regard Christianity as in any way superior to Islam: both offer an equally good vision of peaceful co-existence. Now that's a pretty odd position for an Archbishop of Canterbury to adopt. Not an unexpected one from this particular Archbishop, though.
The Archbishop’s lecture to a Christian Muslim Forum conference in Cambridge follows mounting criticism of religion as dangerous and destabilising.
While there are some who attack all religion in this manner, I can think of one religion which has carried out more than its fair share of dangerous and destabilising actions, and which consequently tends to get rather a lot of (richly deserved) criticism. Can you guess which one I mean? Because Rowan Williams can't.
But Dr Williams argued that religion should not be judged by the failures of its adherents but on its vision of a social order that is “without fear, oppression, the violence of exclusion and the search for scapegoats”.
He compared the “act of nightmare violence” six years ago, when extremists flew aeroplanes into the twin towers in New York, with the birth of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent protest movement on September 11, 1906, in Johannesburg.
He said that Gandhi’s movement showed it was possible to reject a response to oppression that “simply mirrors what has been done by the oppressor.”
Now, this is the real low point. As Robert Spencer at Dhimmi Watch points out, Williams actually appears to be saying that the 9/11 terrorists had a just cause, but simply went about expressing their justified grievance against violent US "oppression" in the wrong way. To say this at all is indicative of a severely dysfunctional moral compass. To say it on the eve of the anniversary of the attacks themselves is simply reprehensible.