Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 8:25 AM

German Opera decapitates Muhammad (too), despite Muslim protests

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Last September, when Pope Benedict XVI – Germany’s most famous native son – criticized tenets of Islam which incite Muslims to riot, Muslims reacted so violently, including issuing death threats against him, that the Pope was forced to perform a series of public apologies to quell their fury. But I promptly criticized him for being not only fallible but also gullible for thinking that an apology would tame Muslim fanatics.

Then, just weeks later, even before the Deutsche Oper – Germany’s most famous opera house – had a chance to perform Mozart’s “Idomeneo” (modified with a provocative scene depicting the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad being triumphantly placed on a wooden chair next to those of Neptune, Jesus and Buddha), Muslims erupted in such a terrorizing fury that the Deutche Oper cancelled all performances.

(Incidentally, please take a moment to appreciate the symbolism of a world without all of the evil organized religions have wrought….)

The opera house cited threats from Muslim fanatics, which posed an “incalculable security risk” and a wish “to avoid endangering its audience and employees” as the reason for the cancellations. But I could not help thinking that the Pope’s earlier capitulation set an enabling precedent of appeasement under Muslim threats that the Deutche Oper was now following.

Though, ironically, both incidents only reinforced the Pope’s lament (uttered when he was still Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” under Pope John Paul II) that Turkey should not be admitted into the European Union because Muslim culture and religious dogma are simply incompatible with European values.

But when the Pope ignored threats to his life (because his apology did not satisfy the self-appointed avengers of Islam) and not only survived but actually thrived during a state visit to Muslim Turkey, I lauded for him performing a truly heroic feat – like a modern-day Daniel in the Lion’s den….

Indeed, I thought it fair to assert that – just as he had set the unfortunate precedent for appeasing Muslim fanatics – the Pope had now set a new precedent for challenging them in the most forthright way. And, sure enough, his fellow Germans took note. Because soon thereafter, the Deutche Oper rescheduled its performances of Idomeneo, the first of which was performed without incident on Monday; albeit with unprecedented security in place, including metal detectors.

Nevertheless, the Pope and Deutche Oper have provided a valuable life lesson for all of us in this era of terror: Do not be cowered by threats. Live life! (ie. the show must go on) Because, more often than not, threats of terror are intended merely to intimidate, not to inflict bodily harm.

Related Articles:
The Pope apologizes! Proving he’s not only fallible but also gullible
Like Daniel in the Lion’s den, Pope Benedict XVI lands in Turkey

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