Friday, July 27, 2007

Vatican: “Attempts to Islamise the west cannot be denied”

Given the Muslim outrage the last time the Pontiff said something substantive about the history of Islam and the West, it has fallen to his secretary to make public observations about what is going on:

Pope Benedict XVI’s private secretary warned of the Islamisation of Europe and stressed the need for the continent’s Christian roots not to be ignored.

“Attempts to Islamise the west cannot be denied,” Monsignor Georg Gaenswein was quoted as saying in the weekly Sueddeutsche Magazin to be published Friday.

“The danger for the identity of Europe that is connected with it should not be ignored out of a wrongly understood respectfulness,” the magazine quoted him as saying.

As if to underline his point about this decline in the West Venice, along with a little help from its friends in Paris and New York, is celebrating its long relationship with Islam:

Venice and IslamFor a thousand years Venice had a unique trading relationship with the great Muslim dynasties who shared their magnificent art and culture in a way that still defines the city today.

From the sumptuous silks, ceramics, carpets and gemstones sold by oriental traders to the Moorish architecture reflected in its elegant palaces and famous Basilica San Marco, the city has incorporated Islamic influences like few other cities in Italy.

Now Venice is celebrating its centuries-old relationship with the Islamic world in a vast exhibition which opens on 28 July.


The show is the result of collaboration between the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musei Civici Veneziani.


“Venice was pushed by the Vatican to join the crusades, but always had a pragmatic approach,” Carboni (the curator) said. “The doges were always trying to mediate between the church and its Islamic neighbors.”

Capable of understanding and appreciating its achievements in the world of science and philosophy, the city also showed itself capable of establishing relations with the great Muslim dynasties of the Ayyubids, the Mamelukes and the Ottomans.


Carboni said the exhibition was particularly timely since there is so much misunderstanding in the world between east and west.

“If we can show that Venice had a relationship with the Middle East that was also positive, it’s a good message.”

Italy is fading into the Dhimmi dust. But you have to admit that at least Venice makes a beautiful corpse.

Hat tip: His Grace, Cranmer

[Sic Transit Gloria Mundi]


Subvet said...

"If we can show that Venice had a relationship with the Middle East that was also positive, it's a good message."

Didn't Vichy France have a "good relationship" with Nazi Germany? How'd that work out?

eatyourbeans said...

And the Battle of Leponto was fought between Belgium and California.

xlbrl said...

Carboni is confused. There is no misunderstanding between the cultures.

Pangloss said...

I responded at my site.

As Geoffrey Chaucer wrote in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale:

Mordre wol out, that se we day by day.
–The Nun’s Priest’s Tale, l. 232

While the murder of the West in Europe is not complete, it is planned. And it is obvious, and day by day becoming more so even to those who squeeze their eyes shut. If we watch we will see the knives plunge into its breast pinning Jihadist threats again and again, every day. If we refuse easy, shallow pacifism and take action, we may yet be able to save the West, even Europe.

It is good to know that the Vatican is awake. It is still the soul of Europe, and can still be its salvation.

Unknown said...

For those who missed the sumptuous exhibition, here are the catalogue details:

Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797
Stefano Carboni, ed.
New Haven: Yale UP, 2007
ISBN: 9780300124309
ISBN-10: 0300124309

Rather stiffly priced at $ 75, but worth it for the eye-popping images.

There is nothing wrong, by the way, with stating historical fact. It is quite interesting to see, here in the instance of art, how frequently cross-cultural interchange occurred, which is about what you would expect, given that Venice and the Ottomans were either at war with each other, or trading, for a period of several centuries.

P.S. Eatyourbeans, why are you using the Turkish spelling of "Lepanto"?

Profitsbeard said...

I guess the encroaching sea wasn't good enough for them.

They want the Ummah tsunami as well.

Lick, meet Spittle.

John Sobieski said...

God, I barf at the stupidity. Is he forgetting that Rome was sacked by the Muslims? Has he completely forgotten about Muslim piracy of the Mediterranena? These Dhimmis actually believe this crap.

Satantiago said...

The eurotwits don't remember that Venice lost Cyprus and Crete to the Mohammedan Turks.

"the Moorish architecture reflected in its elegant palaces and famous Basilica San Marco"

Isn't St. Mark's a prime example of BYZANTINE architecture? The centuries old trading relationship was not with the Mohammedans but the Byzantines.

The Venetian vermin raided and sacked Constantinople during the 4th Crusade and the Latin Empire, proof of this are the Roman quadriga on the facade of St. Mark's and the Tetrarchs statues. Venice weakened the Byzantine Empire and is responsible for the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and the expansion of the Ottoman Empire to Eastern Europe!

Venice, I spit on thee, you filthy whore.

Unknown said...

Reading Sataniago's statements, it should be said that whilst the basic design of Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice is Byzantine, there are many Gothic features, not to mention some Moorish elements incorporated into the building. For example, the Basilica's marble grilles are modelled on the ones of a Damascus mosque.

As far as his denial of long-term Venetian trading relationships with the Muslims goes, he should better inform himself by taking a look at:


Venice played all sides, with profit and the survival of the Serene Republic, not religion, the main motive guiding their trade and diplomacy.

Venice certainly contributed to the weakening of Constantinople that eventually led to its fall. On the other hand, the loss of Venetian Cyprus and Crete was in part due to the tepid support from other European powers in holding the Ottoman forces at bay, when Venice most needed help. The support from the locals wasn't much to brag about either - evidently the Cretan Greeks thought that things would be the same or better under the Turks, and were somewhat less than enthusiastic in helping their Venetian overlords, to put it mildly. The Turkish seige of Venetian Candia (present-day Iraklion) lasted over twenty years - pretty impressive when we see that the U.S. is about to turn tail and run from Iraq after five paltry years.

So before dumping on poor old Venice then, perhaps the average wisenheimer should ask him or herself whether they think their own country - whichever one it may be - is likely to stem, or even contribute a little bit towards stemming, the muslim tide. Given the events of the past few years, I have my serious doubts. The Venetians did their bit and more in holding back the invading armies. If our actions look as good as theirs a few centuries on, then our descendants can be proud.

Satantiago said...

After Constantinople fell to the Turks, the Venetians signed a peace treaty with Mehmet II, Constantinople's conqueror, is that it? The Turks first attacked Cyprus in 1489, during the lifetime of Bellini the guy who painted Mehmet's portrait featured in this blog's entry. The Turks raided Cyprus at will and finally took the island ca. 1570.

I doubt the Cretans, deprived of food and supplies, refused to fight the Turks, even though I guess it would be understandable if the Cretans showed little interest in helping their Venetian overlords fight the Turks given that Crete was taken from the Byzantines during the 4th Crusade, and because of the grudge against the Latins justified by said Crusade. The tepid help or lack thereof can be attributed to European Christians killing each other over mythology, succession, power and wealth.

Venetians indeed did their bit, along with Genoa and Habsburg Spain, the 16th century superpower, against the Turks. The same can be said about the Bulgars defending Constantinople from the Arabs. Anyway, Lepanto didn't win Cyprus back from the Turks.

OK, OK, maybe I got a little carried away. I've read Othello, Marco Polo's & Ibn Batuta's as well.

Looks like this time around the USA is the invading force, much like the Turks who besieged Candia. So what was the point in comparing the Siege of Candia with Iraq's ongoing war?

There has been like 3000 American casualties in 4 years and you wish the war to last 16 years more? Even though pulling from Iraq would hurt USA's credibility further and encourage jihadists. Nancy Pelosi playing the good dhimmi doesn't help either. Start fixing democracy at home before exporting it to places with centuries old totalitarian regimes.