Wednesday 8 February 2006

Hans Küng on Islamic violence

In an interview yesterday, Hans Küng discussed at length the current outbreak of violence over the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. Küng notes that the West shares some responsibility for this violence, and he rightly concludes: “Most urgently, the Palestinian problem must be solved.”

Küng has been a great supporter of Islamic-Christian dialogue, and in a few months he will release his monumental 900-page work Der Islam: Geschichte, Gegenwart, Zukunft, which is also due to be released in English translation as Islam.


Chris Tilling said...

Good link. I'd missed this one.

Rory Shiner said...

Thanks for pointing this out. I was actually going to write you an email to see if you knew of any decent theological reflection on Islam and the West.

Ben Myers said...

Hi Rory. You could also take a look at the collection of essays edited by Küng and Moltmann, Islam: A Challenge for Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Ben: Just curious... do you routinely expect people with which you interact to justify/excuse all of their misdeeds on the basis of one grievance? Would you under any normal circumstances permit colleagues or co-workers to blackmail you that way consistently? The West has absolutely no responsibility in this. The Islamists are agents fully entitled to take responsibility for their lives and their conduct. Their actions are simply not justifiable and they are inexcusable. Their actions also expose yet again--as the reactions to Beslan, 9/11, and so many other actions have--that there are large, mainstream factions within Islam that simply will not cease to fight until the world lives as they want and expect it to live.

Ben Myers said...

Hi Ken, thanks for your point of view.

Just to clarify: Küng is not trying to justify or excuse the current violence. On the contrary, at the start of the interview condemns the outbreak violence. However, he goes on to say that the West should also accept responsibility for its own mistakes (e.g. in Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, Palestine) which have helped to create a dangerous environment of frustration and anger.

So there is no question of excusing the violence -- rather Küng is saying that we should condemn the violence, but in doing this we (the West) should recognise that there is blood on our own hands as well.

When I was a little boy in primary school, I began to tease one of my little classmates. I made fun of him in front of my other friends -- I'm sure it was quite cruel and humiliating. Then one day (right out of the blue!) he punched me very hard, and nearly broke my nose. I didn't think for a moment that his behaviour was appropriate -- but I did recognise, with startling clarity, that I too was to blame.

Anonymous said...

I understand Küng's point of view and I did read the article. I just find that it's an inaccurate analysis. While Küng may not excuse the violence, he does want the West to share responsibility in it because of perceived wrongs yet it is clearly not those wrongs that have precipitated this--they are merely excuses for a radical Islam that would use any excuse it could generate. I'd encourage you to read the articles of Victor Davis Hanson; there's a link from my blog to his "VDH Private Papers".

Moreover, overall, our actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine are justified and have demonstrated excessive degrees of patience with an enemy that deserves far worse than it presently suffers and certainly an enemy that does not deserve the blood of British and American soldiers fighting for their freedom and democracy. With respect to Palestine, the Arab world has done more to feed the despondency of the Palestinian people and Israel has repeatedly compromised for peace only to be rebuffed time and again with terrorism and violence. I am truly amazed that people in the West have accepted the notion of Arab/Muslim victimization by the West. Is it Stockholm Syndrome?

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