Although the book cites texts considered authoritative in the Islamic world, the book has been banned in Pakistan because Mr. Spencer is not a Muslim. He is a Melkite Greek Catholic. Melkite Greek Catholics are an Eastern church very similar to the orthodox churches but in communion with Rome, mostly concentrated in Lebanon and Syria, also in Jordan and the Palestinian territories. (I lifted the lines about Mr. Spencer's religious background and the details about the Melkite Greek Church from a transcript of a C-SPAN interview with Robert Spencer done on August 20, 2006.)
Here is the transcript of the C-SPAN interview with Robert Spencer, which goes into detail about his background and his scholarship with respect to Islam: Robert Spencer: Jihad Watch, Director
Here is some more information on the history of Islam:
Here is the Vatican News Services' account of Pope Benedict XVI's first day in Turkey:
BENEDICT XVI: "MY TRIP IS NOT POLITICAL BUT PASTORAL"
VATICAN CITY, NOV 28, 2006 (VIS) - At 9.20 a.m. today, the Holy Father departed from Rome's Fiumicino airport bound for Turkey, where he landed three hours later at Ankara's Esemboga airport. Thus began Benedict XVI's fifth apostolic trip outside Italy.
Speaking to the journalists accompanying him on his flight, the Pope affirmed that his visit to Turkey "is not political but pastoral," and that its aim is "dialogue and the shared commitment to peace."
As he descended from his aircraft, the Holy Father was greeted by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister of Turkey, by the governor of the local region, and by the military commander and the mayor of Ankara, the capital of Turkey, a city of some five million inhabitants. Also there to greet him was Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini O.F.M. Cap., of Izmir, president of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Turkey.
The Holy Father then went to a room within the airport building where he held a meeting with the prime minister.
Following this meeting, which lasted 20 minutes, the Pope travelled by car to the Mausoleum of Ataturk some 45 kilometers from the city. Built between 1944 and 1953, it holds the earthly remains of Mustafa Kemal "Ataturk" (Father of the Turks), founder and first president of the Turkish Republic (1923-1938). Within the building, which resembles a Greek temple and is reached by a flight of steps, the walls are covered in green marble and the ceiling decorated with gold mosaics. The cenotaph to Ataturk is made from a single block of marble weighing 40 tonnes.
At 3 p.m. local time (2 p.m. in Rome), Benedict XVI was received by Ahmet Necdet Sezer, president of the Republic of Turkey, in the presidential palace. Subsequently he met with one of the country's two vice prime ministers in the "Guest House" of the presidential palace.
This afternoon, the Pope is scheduled to meet with Ali Bardokoglu, Turkey's president for religious affairs, in the "Diyanet," the headquarters of his department.
Turkey has 72 million inhabitants, of whom 99.8 percent are Muslims. The remaining 0.20 percent is made up of Christians of various rites (Greek-Orthodox, Syro-Orthodox, Armenian-Orthodox, Protestants and Catholics) and Jews.
Catholics number some 32,000, about 0.04 percent of the total population. The Catholic Episcopal Conference of Turkey is made up of six bishops. Currently, there are 47 parishes, 68 priests, 98 male and female religious, four permanent deacons, five major seminarians and 28 catechists.
Keep the Holy Father in your prayers during his trip.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at the U.N. contained remarks that confirmed that he (and presumably others) joyfully await, with expectant hope, the coming of the "Imam Mahdi", the 12th imam, an apocalyptic figure in Islamic prophecy who will reportedly arrive on the world scene "after an apocalyptic holocaust on Earth that leaves most of the world's population dead".
This story represents one of the best parts of Catholicism, and it may be possible that Sister Leonella's death would be considered a martyrdom (which means that she is in heaven right now, praying for us).
We should all aspire to forgive as Sister Leonella did. Even if we do not feel like forgiving others, for our own preservation, we must forgive, and from the heart.
What helps me is to pray for the grace to forgive, as well as to pray that God forgive any sins committed against me by others, because I know God can forgive them whether I feel warm and fuzzy about it or not.
I frequently ask God for any moral debt owed me by others in the past and present to be erased. I use occasions when I feel angry with or slighted by others to remind me. It's actually helpful, because that turns negative feelings into a positive opportunity for my own spiritual benefit.
Jesus linked our forgiveness, and hence our salvation to the forgiveness we will towards others. I want God to forgive me. I need God to forgive me. As I understand it, holding grudges is not an option (unless you want to go to hell).
New Testament passages dealing with forgiveness bear this out:
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, 'Raqa,' will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
"This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.
"Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Then Peter approaching asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.' Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, 'Pay back what you owe.' Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?' Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart."
From audio book "How To Talk To A Liberal (If You Must)"
Ann didn't make the video, and the passage from her book that she is reading was written and read before we knew for certain that Osama bin Laden was/is still alive, but the video and narration are accurate history.
Warning: One of the signs shown throughout the presentation has the word "asses" on it.