Lord Carey Calls for Islam to Urgently Address its Violent Image

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, has spoken out against "violent" Islam during a lecture in which he defended Pope Benedict's "extraordinarily effective and lucid" speech, The Times has reported.

"Great urgency" is needed for Muslims to address the religion's association with violence, said Lord Carey. He said the "clash of civilisations" that many say is endangering the world, was not between Islamic extremists and the West but rather it was with Islam as a whole.

Lord Carey said, "We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times. There will be no significant material and economic progress [in Muslim communities] until the Muslim mind is allowed to challenge the status quo of Muslim conventions and even their most cherished shibboleths."

It was also reported this week that the man who shot and wounded the last Pope, John Paul II, had now written to Pope Benedict XVI to warn him that he was in danger.

|QUOTE|Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who tried to murder John Paul II in 1981 and is now in prison in Turkey, urged the Pope not to visit the country in November, according to The Times.

The furore began during the Pope's address in Regensburg where he quoted a Byzantine emperor as saying that the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad were "evil and inhuman".

Since that statement was made there have been sporradic violent protests from across the Muslim world. So far attacks have included, a nun being shot dead, a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda has vowed to kill the Pope, churches in Palestinian areas have been attacked, churches have been burnt down in Africa, and security at churches and mosques in London and elsewhere has been stepped up.

The Pope last week apologised for the offence caused and distanced himself from the quote of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus.

Lord Carey argued: "Islam's borders are bloody and so are its innards. The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power."

Lord Carey went on to argue that a "deep-seated Westophobia" has developed in recent years in the Muslim world, according to The Times.

Lord Carey was delivering a lecture titled 'The Cross and the Crescent: The Clash of Faiths in an Age of Secularism', at Newbold College in Berkshire.

Lord Carey has continued his efforts in interfaith collaboration since his retirement in 2002. He said that the relationship between Islamic countries and the West was "the most dangerous, most important and potentially cataclysmic issue of our day."

He described the two civilisations as "polarised and uncomprehending".

In particular, he used the example of the Danish cartoons controversy last March to show "two world views colliding in public space with no common point of reference".

He said the West had to accept a large degree of responsibility for "redrawing the map of the Middle East", and it was the "moral relativism of the West" that has outraged Muslim society. Most Muslims believe firmly that the war in Iraq is 2004 was centred upon oil, he explained.

Lord Carey then went on to defend the Pope's fundamental thesis, that reason and religious faith can be compatible.

"The actual essay is an extraordinarily effective and lucid thesis exploring the weakness of secularism and the way that faith and reason go hand in hand," he said.

He said he agreed with his Muslim friends who say that true Islam is not a violent religion, but he wanted to know why Islam today had become associated with violence.

"The Muslim world must address this matter with great urgency," he concluded.