I've been reading an interesting book about the Israeli Mossad (their version of our CIA), Gideon's Spies, written by Gordon Thomas. What I found out for the first time was the circumstance behind the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II back in 1981.
Before Agca's attack on the Pope he killed a Turkish newspaper editor who published flattering pieces on the West. Agca was arrested, but was soon sprung from jail by The Gray Wolves, an Islamic extremist group, and went underground. He sent a letter the next day to the Turkish press threatening just about everyone, including "the infidel in Rome", "the Commander Pope", and "the Commander of the Crusades", all of course referring to Pope John Paul II. The suspicious part was that these terms were much too eloquent to be used by the barely literate Agca.
The Pope's confidant and the Vatican's virtual Secretary of State (my title), Cardinal Luigi Poggi, was sent out to ask questions. That's when the Israeli Mossad began checking their data base and found that the terms "infidel in Rome, Commander Pope, and Commander of the Crusades" were originally used by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Intense digging pieced together that the plot was indeed hatched in Iran.
Two years after the attempt on his life, the Pope visited the man in prison who shot him where he pointedly asked him if Khomeini was responsible, and Agca admitted that yes, it was true. The Pope forgave Agca and even gave him a rosary crafted in silver and mother-of-pearl.
Pope John Paul II later said during a speech to workers at an Olivetti factory in Ivrea, Italy, "What the Koran teaches people is aggression; what we teach our people is peace. Of course, you always have human nature which distorts whatever message religion is sending, but even though people can be led astray by vices and bad habits, Christianity aspires to peace and love."
"Islam is a religion that attacks. If you start by teaching aggression to the whole community, you end up pandering to the negative elements in everyone. You know what that leads to: such people will assault us."
How could this have gotten past by me, the news junkie that I am? Did you know this?