Regarding the Pope and Islam [Archives:2006/985/Letters to the Editor]

September 28 2006

By: Paul Kokoski
[email protected]

I believe it is time for European leaders to start questioning whether mostly-Islamic Turkey should have a place in the European Union, especially following the country's reckless and overly critical reaction to the recent words of wisdom by Pope Benedict. The Pope's address was deliberate and intended to recall the necessity of conjoining faith and reason: it is the uncoupling of these twin values that has delivered so much needless death in history.

Ironically, the Muslim response in many quarters has only underscored the veracity of the pope's remarks.

The irrational behavior toward the pope is a reflection of the great cultural and spiritual divide that exists especially between Turkey and Western nations which are fundamentally Christian. One need only look at Turkey's record on freedom of speech and what it is doing to writers in Turkey who want to speak out. From a political and historical point of view Turkey has always represented another continent that is in permanent contrast to Europe.

Ultimately, Turkey's Islamic heritage makes it doubtful that the country would be easy to integrate into the European community, with its Christian cultural background. Surely a European community has to be more than economic. It has to have common values.