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… into forced marriages. Morrissey has the scoop.

Good to know this whole thing is just a fantastical story concocted by crazy Islamophobes the world over and that it is all a mirage though, right?

Just days after the Vatican blasted Osama bin Laden’s statement that the Pope played an integral role in a worldwide campaign against Islam:

Italy’s most prominent Muslim commentator, a journalist with iconoclastic views such as support for Israel, converted to Roman Catholicism Saturday when the pope baptized him at an Easter service.

As a choir sang, Pope Benedict XVI poured holy water over Magdi Allam’s head and said a brief prayer in Latin.

“We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another,” Benedict said in a homily reflecting on the meaning of baptism. “Thus faith is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close.”

The baptism follows just days after bin Laden issued threats against the Pope for his “large and lengthy” role in the crusade against Islam, but like the Bush administration, the Vatican is showing a lack of fortitude in properly identifying evil and fighting against it. While Osama called for a violent jihad against the US, the President would claim Islam “teaches peace.” Just days after bin Laden threatened Europe and the Pope for a 2006 Danish caricature of Muhammad and the Pope’s alleged role in contributing to the declining respect of Islam, the papacy issued a statement defending the Pope to the ruthless leader instead of rebuking him for the violent threats. The papacy argued:

Benedict has recently taken steps to improve relations with moderate Islam.

and,

…that the Vatican and the Pope have criticized the cartoons on several occasions

Following the statements of bin Laden, the Pope proceeded to baptize a prominent Muslim during one of the most attended vigils with tens of thousands of spectators in an act that can certainly be construed as defiant of Islamic doctrine. With both religious and political figures refusing to take a hard, consistent stand against Islam, people are left confused and without a clear understanding of the connection between Islam and the acts of violence carried out in its name. It is time a leader stood up and called Islam by its rightful name…EVIL.

Via Atlas, this nifty little map comparison courtesy of the Brussels Journal.

The French website 5 Years Later has posted maps that illustrate the advance of Islam in France. I’ve taken the latest one from 2008 showing through shades of green the areas of implantation of the religion of peace and tolerance. The numbers on the map are those of the departments and have nothing to do with numbers of Muslims. The chart at the bottom runs from fewer than 5 to more than 30 mosques, prayer rooms or meeting houses. So we see that, in the southwest, department 33 has more than 30 while department 40 has fewer than 5.

For a complete list of all places of Islamic worship in France, click the link above. Even if you don’t know French you will find the listing impressive.

You will note also the inset in the upper left showing Paris (75) and its three surrounding suburbs. The name for that whole region is Ile-de-France, but someone has chosen to emend it to Êl-de-France.

Quote of the Week

"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it." -- Thomas Jefferson