Liberal Grace

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How to apologize to Muslims

It's a confusing dynamic for westerners. Muslims will angrily demand an apology but then reject it when they get one.

In my original post about the pope, I made a guess that an in-person apology to Muslim leaders might seem more sincere than an official read apology. I think I was right.

I suspect this is a cultural clash. In the west, we tend to deliver apologies from behind podiums or, worse, through a spokesperson. I think the better way to apologize to Muslims would be for the pope to personally meet with some respected leaders and deliver the apology personally. Those Muslim leaders then announce that they have accepted the apology and that their followers should also.
An apology from the Pope is the Christian thing to do.

That's what the pope did Benedict spoke diplomats from 21 countries and the Arab League and it seems to have cooled things down a bit Forgive and forget the pope blunder

I think I'm figuring this out.

Official apologies through read-statements (which is how we usually do it in the west) strike many Muslims as disingenuous.

In-person apologies (probably leader-to-leader) seem more sincere. If the Muslim leader accepts the apology then the masses are likely to follow.

Actually, I think I agree with this myself. How many times have we heard some official apology and felt like it was a fraud?

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