Saturday, December 02, 2006

Newsflash! Turkish imam prays like a Christian in the presence of the Pope!

Proof positive. Here is a picture of Pope Benedict XVI praying at Auschwitz:

And now here's a picture of him standing next to a Muslim cleric in the Blue Mosque:

I rest my case.

This reminds me of the story of Lord Macartney, England's first ambassador to China, who refused to perform the ritual kowtow before the Emperor. Macartney knew it was more than just a meaningless polite gesture; it was an acknowledgement of the supremacy of the Chinese emperor over all the "lesser" kingdoms of the earth. In the end, Macartney met the Emperor, and, just as happened in Turkey yesterday, each side interpreted the event to fit into its own worldview:
In the end, history provides ambiguous and conflicting reports of what Macartney actually did in the presence of the Qianlong emperor.

English witnesses record the one knee, no kiss salutation. Chinese sources of the time suggest that in the presence of the Son of Heaven, Macartney was ''so overcome with awe and nervousness, his legs gave out from under him, so that he groveled abjectly on the ground,'' according to the account in ''The Immobile Empire'' by Alain Peyrefitte.

Both sides claimed the encounter legitimized the sovereignty they sought to preserve...

(From The Fletcher School, Tufts)


Blogger Kasia said...

Too funny. I confess I think the whole thing is overblown. If he'd recited the Shahada, I'd think differently.

9:02 am  
Blogger Kasia said...

Incidentally, I've just tagged you for a sort-of-meme. :-) You can see it on my blog.

11:08 am  

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