Frankly, I'm pretty tired of "Muslim rage." If they're that insecure about their religion, maybe the problem isn't with the critics. I'm also pretty unimpressed with Western commentators who serve as enablers to such juvenile and destructive behavior.
"Baptist rage" certainly wouldn't get this kind of slack from the Times.
UPDATE: John Hinderaker: "The Pope can perhaps be excused for thinking that Islam can be associated with violence. He probably took it personally when an Islamic terrorist group plotted to assassinate his predecessor. If the Vatican ever starts assassinating imams, then they'll really have something to protest."
Meanwhile, Tom Smith offers a lengthy excerpt from the Pope's speech and comments: "The Pope can apologize if he wants to, but I certainly don't think he has anything to apologize for. I suppose he could explain that when he quotes a dialog between a 14th century Byzantine emperor and an educated Persian, he does not therefore endorse the views of either interlocutor. He might even quote something in order to ask, as he does, what are we to make of this? Obviously, the Pope was just putting in context the question the emperor was posing, and that has been posed for a long time, since 1391 anyway -- whether forced religious conversions are religiously justified."
And Jacob T. Levy (yes, he's blogging again, now at TNR) says that people are inappropriately treating the Pope as a political, rather than a religious, figure: "surely religious believers are in the business of drawing distinctions with, and denying the truth of, other religions. . . . I don't expect Catholics to take their theology less seriously than Muslims do; I certainly don't expect the Pope to take his theology anything less than wholly seriously. And what is a Catholic, committed to the truth of Catholicism, to think of Mohammed's additions to and transformations of the Christian bible?"
Ed Morrissey sees an imbalance: "People use words to criticize Islam; Muslims use stones, fire, and eventually bombs to protest back. When was the last time Christians threw firebombs at a mosque to protest Muslim imams characterizing Christianity as polytheistic? When have we seen Jews firebomb mosques for Muslim leaders calling them the descendants of pigs and monkeys, a common insult from both religious and secular Muslims in the Middle East? Muslims have proven Benedict prophetic, and don't think for a moment that this wave of violence has peaked."
The Anchoress thinks that Benedict has them exactly where he wants them: "Benedict has managed - in his very scholarly fashion - to apply a very hot drawing poultice to the enormous and festering boils of both radical Islamism and rampant secularism."
I can think of a lot more pressing matters for Muslims to be angry about. How about taking to the street over the murderers who have been disgracing our religion by shedding oceans of innocent blood in its name? On Thursday, a car bomb blew up outside a Baghdad orphanage. In all the wide sweep of the Muslim Street, is there no one sufficiently disgusted to raise his voice over such a thing? It should be easy enough, especially since a common excuse has been that the perpetrators of such evil cannot be Muslims. Surely, if such "non-Muslims" are killing Iraqi Muslims in great numbers, it's worth the attention of the pious.