Culture Ethics

Vatican blasts Muhammad cartoons as pouring ‘gasoline on the fire’

Screenshot of the L'Osservatore Romano. newspaper in Rome.
Screenshot of the L'Osservatore Romano. newspaper in Rome.

Screenshot of the L’Osservatore Romano newspaper in Rome.

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican’s semiofficial newspaper blasted a series of cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as “blasphemous” but also condemned the “mad and bloodthirsty” extremists who opened fire at a Texas exhibit of the cartoons.

The front-page article in L’Osservatore Romano likened the exhibit in Garland, Texas, to pouring “gasoline on the fire” of religious sensitivities and was critical of its sponsors, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, and professional provocateur Pamela Geller.

Police on Sunday (May 3) shot and killed two gunmen who opened fire outside the exhibit that was designed to provoke Muslim sensitivities; the so-called Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for the attack that injured a security guard, and promised more to come.

The newspaper said the Texas event “resembles only remotely the initiatives of ‘Charlie Hebdo,'” referring to the French satirical weekly whose office was attacked by Islamist extremists in January. Twelve people were gunned down at the Paris premises by the Islamist militants, who targeted magazine staff for publishing similar cartoons.

A memorial for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Photo courtesy of Valentina Calà via Flickr

A memorial for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack.

After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Pope Francis condemned the idea of killing “in God’s name” but warned that “you cannot provoke, you cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

While L’Osservatore Romano said the Texas exhibition could be compared to Charlie Hebdo “for its provocative intention, almost a desire to throw gasoline on the fire,” the Vatican newspaper reserved a stronger condemnation for those behind the attacks.

Garland was “certainly not Paris,” while the anticipated “participation of some ultra-conservative European politicians” was also noted. The Vatican newspaper went on to urge respect, which it described as “the necessary attitude to approach the religious experience of another.”

L’Osservatore Romano is largely autonomous from the Vatican but rarely publishes anything that does not have the tacit approval of Vatican officials.

KRE/MG END SCAMMELL

About the author

Rosie Scammell

Rosie Scammell is a British journalist with extensive experience reporting for leading international news organizations. She has been based in Italy since 2012 and covers the Vatican for RNS.

18 Comments

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  • The Pope is morally correct, of course. Popes have said the same about the pornographic art mocking Christianity.
    Why people want to do this, is beyond me….but they do have the right to do it. With Islam one does risk execution and harm to innocent bystanders, a grotesque statement about their faith……but then again, blackmailing the world for defying their laws should not intimidate us. They kill Christians capriciously, Christians who do nothing wrong towards them.

  • So, I guess all these persecuted Middle-Eastern Christians I keep hearing about these days should also be condemned for “throwing gasoline on the fire.” If they would just convert to Islam peaceably instead of inflaming the sensitivities of their deeply pious Muslim overlords by blaspheming against the Prophet, there would be no reason to persecute them in the first place. Why can’t these persecuted Christians just try to get along instead of rocking the boat?

    I look forward to the Vatican’s press release on this matter. Or isn’t one forthcoming?

  • POPE: “you cannot provoke, you cannot insult the faith of others.”

    Oh really?
    POPE FRANCIS..Did you forget your JOB DESCRIPTION?

    “DEAR CHRISTIANS: IF anyone comes to you and does not bring our teachings, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting” (2 John 1:10)
    “Avoid Them” (Romans 16:17)
    “For whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works!” (2 John 1:11)

    “CHRISTIANS, YOU MUST STAY UNITED AGAINST ARABS!”
    “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God…through Abraham’s seed (not ISHMAEL’S), and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29)

    “MUSLIMS, YOU MUST STAY UNITED AGAINST CHRISTIANS!”
    “Infidels are those who declare:’God is the Christ, the son of Mary.’ ” (Sura 5:17)

    These holy books are primitive hogwash.

    The Pope wants people to respect religion? What part of this tribal bigotry has earned any respect?

  • Among other things, again, not all speech is protected. If you know where a car has gone off the road and you don’t give the correct address to the police, you are liable for repercussions. In order to be protected, speech must be pure, in the sense of having a good heart and a decent goal, or, at least, being innocuous. Trying to incite to riot is not protected speech.
    And this display, like the Jyllands Posten connivance, and all similar instances, are provably vicious and malignant. They claim to want to challenge the idea about not rendering a depiction of Mohammed. But they could do that, too, by making a respectful, dignified representation. But they do not! Evidently because it will not be possible to easily sell the idea that the New World Order engineered “attacks”, as here and in Paris, are real.

  • And the engineered incidents are exactly what Geller and the Nazi sympathizing rag Jyllands Posten want! They6 seek to have an “excuse” to initiate the Final Solution to the Muslim Problem, but that can require something more than demonstrations, something like violence, bloodshed. Geller’s paid shills will fire weapons, but she wants to make sure, when the lie is finally exposed, that she is not responsible for directly killing Americans. But she still gives every sign of working to see Americans killed by actually angered Muslims.
    That is her evident goal.
    To see Americans die!
    She won’t stop until she can manage that!
    So hypocritically ironic, condemning Muslims for be willing to see people die to protect the image of Mohammed, while, at the same time, being willing to see people die to protect the idea of making deliberately vicious depictions of Mohammed and lie, calling them “cartoons”.

  • But, too, another facet needs to be looked at, the craven, New World Order fashioned representation of Muslims as psychotically devoted to their religion, or having woken up one morning “wanting to kill Americans”.
    The fact is, the Muslims have undergone massive abuse by The West throughout history. Wars of conquest, followed by thieving land and resources. “Colonization”, which consisted of stealing resources and land. Placing craven, malignant traitors in power, to facilitate robbing nations of their resources and land. Unseating legitimate rulers. Installing Mossad/CIA/MI-5 corporate friendly, in other words, Fascist, dictators. Wholesale destruction of social order by Special Forces thugs.

  • The Western friendly General Suharto of Indonesia, who murdered three quarters of a million Muslims, many times the sum total of all victims of actual “terrorists” and the filth the New World Order used to fabricate “terrorist” events. The equally criminal Reza Pahlavi and his vicious and murderous SAVAK secret police.

  • There is not a single Muslim who doesn’t have relatives less than three levels away, third cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces or nephews three times removed, who weren’t brutalized, abused, butchered by the forces of the greedy Western corporations! Every single Muslim home has reminders of close relatives slaughtered in the interest of the greedy Western corporations less than a generation ago. They saw their limbs lying bloodied in the street where Western forces killed them, calling them “the enemy”. The memories of their relatives are still there! A massive plurality has relatives no more than two levels away who were butchered to try to steal the Middle East for the corporate owners and bosses. Every Muslim, even those who act in anger against the West, probably that morning touched the shawl or Koran or toy used by a close relative ripped to bloody shreds by atrocities committed by The West.

  • But don’t expect the criminally complicit conspirators of the New World Order, the “news” or “The Pope”, to admit these truths.

  • It’s true that some speech is not protected. It’s not true that to be protected, “speech must be pure, in the senes of having a good heart and a decent goal” — or any sense. I can say “Barach Obama is a the worst president ever” or “George Bush was the worst president ever” with a black heart and/or a nasty goal as well as if I think either statement is the truest thing ever spoken. It’s all protected. Likewise, you can say that the attacks in Paris and Texas were “not real” because they were “engineered by the New World Order” if you want to, for any reason at all, and I can say in reply that you are CRAZY. All protected.

  • “You shall obey my Sasquatch God or you shall be killed”

    By rejecting this command and this threat –
    I have somehow committed an act of bigotry !?

    The bigot is the person who says I am worthless without Sasquatch God!
    Not me!

    Challenging the bigot who forces Sasquatch God on everyone else
    may provoke the bigot – but he has no right to attack!

    Freedom of speech exists so we can argue about ideas instead of killing each other over them! Religions are just ideas – and the religious prove it every day by changing their minds and changing religions! It happens every day.

    The Pope is a numbskull.

  • “In order to be protected, speech must be pure, in the sense of having a good heart and a decent goal, or, at least, being innocuous.”
    Nonsense. The Nazi march in Skokie proved that.

  • Julian Penrod,
    “being willing to see people die to protect the idea of making deliberately vicious depictions of Mohammed”
    Your are the enemy of American Constitutional values, having viciously attacked our sacred rights of free speech. I call for all true Americans to hunt you down and serve you with the …….

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