Nun Murdered after Muslims Condemn Pope’s Remarks

A nun who had spent most of her life helping sick people was murdered today by Muslims retalliating for Pope Benedict’s remarks about the violent nature of Islam.

Murdered Nun he body of late nun Leonella (only first name available) in the hospital, Sunday, Sept 17, 2006. An Italian nun was shot dead at a mothers' and children's hospital by unidentified Somali gunmen, doctors said Sunday. Hospital doctor Mohamed Yusuf said the nun was shot in the back. The nun's bodyguard was also killed, doctors told The Associated Press. The nun, who has not been identified, was shot at the entrance to the hospital in northern Mogadishu by two gunmen armed with pistols, Dr. Yusuf said . (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor) An elderly Italian nun who devoted her life to helping the sick in Africa was shot dead by two gunmen at a hospital Sunday in an attack possibly linked to worldwide Muslim anger toward Pope Benedict XVI. Sister Leonella, 65, was shot in the back four times by pistol-wielding attackers as she left the Austrian-run S.O.S. hospital at lunch time after finishing nursing school for trainee medics. Her bodyguard was also slain.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, which came just hours after a leading Somali cleric condemned the pope’s remarks last week on Islam and violence.

So much for there being no casualties in this wave of Muslim violence. Sadly, I suspect she will not be the last.

I disagree somewhat with Ed Morrissey here:

What should influence Europeans and the West is this repetition of the Prophet Cartoons ugliness all over again. The Muslims are not interested in a Socratic dialogue, such as the kind proposed by Benedict in his speech, if one actually bothered to read it. They completely reject any notion of critical thinking when it comes to their doctrines, their laws, and their beliefs. They can make all the comments they want about Jews being descended from pigs and monkeys and the “polytheism” of Christians, but if anyone utters a word of scholarly criticism about Islam, the murders begin until someone admits that Islam is better than any other faith.

I’m sure there are plenty of Muslims around the world who welcome such a dialogue. Indeed, they probably constitute a majority of educated Muslims. The problem, though, is that most Muslims are kept ignorant by their societies and there are plenty of radicals in influential positions poised to fan the flames whenever an incident like this presents the opportunity. (The similarity with the modern remnants of the American civil rights movement is striking in that regard, with the notable exception that Sharpton, Mfume, and their kind stop well short of fomenting violence.)

Patrick Frey joins me in noting the irony of protesting the suggestion that Islam is violent by rioting and murdering.

FILED UNDER: General, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. John says:

    Now what part of this does NOT sound Insane ?!? The muslims are mad that the Pope rightly said that their religion is violent.. yet they protest it is not.. so in order to Prove their islamic stance.. they go out and murder an innocent Nun .. DUH ! Now that’s insanity !

  2. liz adams says:

    The Muslim group has taken quite a beating lately from Westernized Society. Who is to say that violence is not a justified means to a threat to your very existince?

  3. Tano says:

    John,

    I don’t think the Muslims are mad that the pope said their religion is violent. He implied (through his choice of quotes) that their prophet had nothing to contribute other than things evil and inhuman.

  4. HeadScrewedOnRight says:

    I wonder what kind of threat that nun was to those muslem groups. How many people will need to be killed before the world stands up to these thugs.

  5. Dave says:

    Muslims protest being called violent by killing a nun? I think the Pope should not apologize but rather cite this action to appeal to his case.

  6. Jim says:

    The Muslim method of communication is violence. When the rest of the people of the world figure this out, maybe then they will try to communicate with them once and for all in a language they understand.

  7. John says:

    Dear Headscewedonright and Dave,

    I agree with both of you completely, and yes Dave, the Pope as well as all other Christians should indeed use this very tragedy of the murder of this innocent nun to blatently keep exposing the insane and violent ways of islam. Liz.. I believe you need to get your head screwed on right.. no one is threatening the exsistance of muslims .. but are not muslims threatening to kill all infidels such as Christians and Jews ? Get your history right before you speak.

  8. Boyd says:

    Indeed, they probably constitute a majority of educated Muslims.

    What bearing does that have on anything? That’s like your frequent reference to surveys that address “adults” or “registered voters,” or more precisely, the inverse to your references, since that’s much more applicable here. I don’t give a rat’s patootie if they’re educated or not, if they’re Muslim, they count. And if the vast majority are “uneducated,” and perpetrate these crimes, why single out the “educated” ones?

    Sorry, I’m just a little lost trying to figure out the relevance of your limitation, James.

  9. Ben Miles says:

    Comment in violation of site policies deleted.

  10. Richard Gardner says:

    I think that much of the blame for the Islamic violence lies in the so-called Moslem populists and governments over the past 20 years, who for secular (power) reasons have deflected responsibility for their own failures at governace onto the West. Easier to blame someone else than accept responsibiity.

  11. John says:

    Comment in violation of site policies deleted.

  12. Samy Moustafa says:

    First let me start by strongly condemning the killing of the Nun in Somalia and any killing any where on Earth including suicide bombings because there is no suicide in Islam as a way of life prescribed to use by the only maker of mankind.

    It is quite apparent that a learned person like the pope who is one of the most learned people on Earth today intentionally spareked the anger of some ignorant people that are associated with Islam in Somalia which is a country with no viable government in over a decade now; all thank to the USA intervention.

    It is apparent too that many of you do not know what is the meaning of the word Islam; for that please visit this site: http://www.iad.org/ and learn what is Islam before saying something that is equally ignorant.

    The pope instead apologising to the Moslem world he said that he was sorry for the reaction of the Moslem world, he is actually blaming the Moslem world for his intentional attack on us… what a pitty.

  13. Wisp says:

    It is clear that what terrorists are trying to do is make all muslims hate the west. However good muslims want nothing to do with these backward cave dwellers. The murder of Sister Leonella only makes good muslims more repulsed at the terrorists. All nations have murderers and no doubt Sister Leonella’s attackers will be hunted down and brought to trial. If the attackers are terrorists then hopefully they will be shot on site as all vermin deserve. I respect everyones faith, however I am not a muslim and I will never travel to a muslim country as I don’t agree with their beliefs such as making females wear certain clothing ect… If muslims want to practice their religion they have every right to do so in their own countries. If they wish to live in western countries then they must abide by the social rules and laws of those countries if they are to fully fit in. That goes for any race or religious denomination. I was going to compare a cockroach to a terrorist but cockroaches are more intellegent and cleaner.

  14. anjin-san says:

    Lets lump a billion people together, call them evil, and use them to whip up fear. What a good idea.

    Where is the outrage over innocent muslims being killed in the Iraq war? Guess thats different. We are going to kill you until you are free! Guess we really did not lean a f____ing thing from ‘Nam. Except how to do it again…

  15. Dale Cox says:

    To Samy Moustapha – Why don’t you go and read the actual speech instead of believing what your Imam’s and tinpot dictators want you to believe. I think you’ll find that the Pope’s speech actually wasn’t an attack on Muslims or Islam.

    Even if the Pope was attacking Islam, is the Islamic faith so weak that it can’t handle some “infidel” making offensive remarks about it? Muslims need to grow up and quit being so damn sensitive about their religion. Muslims-as a whole, not individuals – have a serious self-esteem issue.

  16. Disgusted says:

    Disgusting animals! They were angered at the Pope’s implication that they are violent (now justified) so they vent by killing an elderly nun? Lovely! Islam is a violent religion full of fanatical nutjobs. They do not wish to convert you — they wish to slaughter you and your whole family. It is time to purge the country of this garbage. Send them back to the stinking cesspits they come from, and if need be, arrange for their dates with those virgins sooner rather than later.

  17. Rich says:

    anjin-san, there IS outrage at the number of innocent muslims losing their lives in Iraq. It is clear that the innocent muslims are being killed by gangs of, umm – muslims. If you can, please explain how the killing of muslims by muslims demonstrates a desire for peaceful coexistence?

  18. just me says:

    What is the best way to protest a charge that your religion is violent?

    Why go out and kill innocent people and destroy their places of worship.

    Um, maybe not such a good way after all.

    As for the pope’s actual words, he didn’t say, what they think he said, and frankly even if he did say it outright, it is just words. What is happening now proves his case more than anything else.

  19. Kent G. Budge says:

    The similarity with the modern remnants of the American civil rights movement is striking in that regard, with the notable exception that Sharpton, Mfume, and their kind stop well short of fomenting violence.

    Try telling that to the Yeshiva students beaten by a mob of Sharpton’s followers.

  20. Tano says:

    “It is clear that what terrorists are trying to do is make all muslims hate the west.”

    And it is clear that the blowhards on the American right are trying to make all Americans hate muslims. Nicely mirrored personalty types. Judgeing by the comments here, they are making good progress.

    What is it with this deep existential craving for the Apocalyptic War of Civilizations, that seems to have taken root amongst a fair chunk of people on both sides?

    Oh yeah, fear.

  21. Just me says:

    And yet another victim of the “religion of peace”.

  22. justme says:

    Tano.. are you reading the same news story as me? We cant just ignore it and hope it will go away. That is not the nature of whats going on here. The folks, like yourself, who say that the american government is brewing up fear for the muslims on purpous for their political agenda is outrageous. YOU are the ones that are afraid… so afraid you want to hide under the covers and hope it goes away. Fortunatly, there are others who will actually stand up.

  23. civik says:

    First let me start by strongly condemning the killing of the Nun in Somalia and any killing any where on Earth including suicide bombings because there is no suicide in Islam as a way of life prescribed to use by the only maker of mankind.

    It is quite apparent that a learned person like the pope who is one of the most learned people on Earth today intentionally spareked the anger of some ignorant people that are associated with Islam in Somalia which is a country with no viable government in over a decade now; all thank to the USA intervention.

    It is apparent too that many of you do not know what is the meaning of the word Islam; for that please visit this site: http://www.iad.org/ and learn what is Islam before saying something that is equally ignorant.

    I take issue with ‘moderate’ Muslims who think in this way. This was a horrible act that derseves condemnation. Yet we continue to get statements like “The nuns death was a tragedy, BUT…” “September 11th was a horrible act, BUT….” These basically amount to excuses to justify horrible horrible acts in the name of Islam. Quit being so wishy-washy and just come out and say you feel that the Nuns death was justified in your eyes. You are fooling no one with your shallow rhetoric.

  24. think people says:

    There was no claim of responsibility for the attack-

    what makes you think this killing was due to the popes remarks … sure looks to me like it was just assumed .. and you know what they say about assuming things .. think people …

  25. akumaryuu says:

    It really doesn’t matter what the Pope’s WORDS are, they are words. There is absolutly no justification for murder because of the words of another. This is a very difficult issue to handle. On the one side we can look at the “violent” nature of Islam by noting that out of about 30 military conflicts in the world, 28 of them have as one or both sides violent muslim groups. This seems to be “proof” that muslims are evil. However, one should not forget that there are many other muslims out there that are not violent and we must not lump them into one group. It is very strange that the muslim religion seems to be the only one going around killing others who call themselves muslim. We should not however, forget that at one time or another just about every religion is guilty of this. Think back to the inquisition and you’ll see a similar concept. Certainly not for the same reasons that muslims do it today, but killing their own kind none the less. It is sad that for the most part, that muslim world is incapable of accepting or responding to remarks made against it without resorting to flag burning and marching in the street. But think about the fact that many of these people have no jobs and no hope of a better life. As said by others previously, their governments blame the west for their problems. Easier to look without then within for answers. What we must do is bring economic prosperity, success, and technology to these parts of the world. Just look at Iran. 60% of Iran’s population is under 25 and highly westernized. They are avid computer users and shop at all the western stores. As this generation matures, hopefully, they will be less violent and aggressive towards the west. I do find it deeply troubling that we do nothing as leaders like Iran’s president change “death to Israel” and the west never demands and appology. Even if they do every once in awhile, you don’t see Iran’s president apologizing for wanting to “whipe Israel off the map”, his words not mine.

  26. rota says:

    Obviously James, you had no real muslim friends …otherwise you would be aware, like I am (due to the fact that I am from Asia),
    that they seem very nice, but you make a joke/comment about their stupid religion, and they would’nt blink an eye before wanting to kill you.

    (Religion as such is, but a cruel joke some aliens bestowed on us to harm each other..by the way 🙂

    That has made me distance myself from seemingly educated but whimsically fanatical muslim friends.

    I think the only real solution is for the whole world to convert to Islam 🙂

    If you are so gullible as to say Islam is not violent, when they riot about being called a violent religion, you shouldnt not be writing these articles.

    If you think an educated muslim is better than an illerate one, you are wrong.

    The only muslims who will not stop at a fatwah on the pope will be those who couldnt care less about religion as a whole.

  27. Tano says:

    Justme,

    First off, I said nothing about the American government. My comment was about the rightwing bloviaters.

    Secondly, I aint hiding under any covers.

    Thirdly. I don’t know what story you were reading, but what I saw was a story about one person being killed in Somalia (how rare is that), for reasons unknown. Despite James’s claim, I havent seen any indication that this nun was in the path of the raging muslim hordes that are about to sweep down on the beseiged capitals of the civilized world.

    Get a grip.

    This hyping of the seige mentality, and the stoking of fears of imminent doom are PRECISELY the tools used by propagandists amongst the muslims to stoke thier sense that the West must be taken on aggressivly, that any hint of belligerence (like the possible interpretaiton of the pope’s remarks as laying the groundwork for a “crusade”) must be opposed violently.

    Similar types of propagandizing are going on here in the West. We really are all humans, and similar human psychological types exist in all cultures.

  28. jack says:

    I will tell you what..GEorge W bush is behind all this…just think a little out of your ordinary minds..its all usa to provoke a war ag ainst iran, one of the biggest muslim nations..and every smart person knows this,.

  29. Peter says:

    it is tragic all the Muslim deaths in the war in Iraq, however, the vast majority of the fatalities to Muslims are done by Muslims suicide bombing and lobbing mortars at one another or missing us.

  30. anjin-san says:

    Rich,

    Right. No innocents in Iraq were killed during “shock & awe”. None are killed during firefights in Bush’s war.

    How is life in your fantasy universe?

  31. anjin-san says:

    Peter,

    Civilian deaths in the Iraq war are in the tens of thousands. Are you comfortable with the blood that is on our hands?

  32. justme says:

    I will tell you what..GEorge W bush is behind all this…just think a little out of your ordinary minds..its all usa to provoke a war ag ainst iran, one of the biggest muslim nations..and every smart person knows this,.

    haha

    Secondly, I aint hiding under any covers.

    Ok, so what are you proposing we do then… I would really like to hear this

  33. sandro says:

    did you even read the report? it says apparently related to .. no group has claimed responsiblity Aren’t you jumping the gun by putting religious motivation as the cause of all of this ? Where’s the connection?

    All you’re going is pouring fuel on the fire

  34. justme says:

    yeah it was probably a catholic that did it, give me a break.

  35. M says:

    HOW incredibly rediculous to compare fanatic islamists with the American civil rights movement, when the only group that should be compared with them should be other radical regious groups: right wing christians.

    Very biased site. Not news.

  36. bigtoe says:

    I love how a story has the word “possibly” as in “in an attack possibly linked to worldwide Muslim anger toward Pope Benedict XVI” and everybody immediately jumps to the conclusion that Muslims actually killed this nun because of something the Pope said.

    You people need to go back to reading comprehension. The only facts in this story are that a nun got killed by somebody with a gun.

    In the future try not to jump to conclusions and act with a mob mentality.

  37. Tano says:

    Justme,

    What are we to do? Well, thats a big question for a small comment thread. Let me just focus on one basic strategic point. Much could then be deduced from that.

    A cardinal rule to be followed when faced with a challenging situation is to unite your friends around you, and to try to divide your enemies.

    Unfortunatly, the Bush administration, and the raging hordes of RWers egging them on, have done the exact opposite. They have divided our nation, and our nation from its allies – in ways too numerous to mention here – I’m sure you’ve heard all the arguments.

    And they have seemed to do their best to unite our enemies. From desparatly trying to pretend that Saddam and al-Qaeda were part of the same phenomenon, to this overarching “war on terror” – a vague formulation that actually doesnt include all terrorists, but only those disparate groups that are the intended targets. Throw in Iran with Saddam and al-Q, and Syria too while your at it. And the Palestinians, hey – there are no issues there except terrorism.

    We were attacked by 19 men with boxcutters (granted there was a larger support group behind them). We now have rhetorically expanded the definition of our enemy to include about 1 billion people. Brilliant strategy!

    Undo that, try to parse out and divide the enemy, and you will be taking the first steps in the right direction.

  38. Mark says:

    I am a Muslim. I condemn the killing of the nun or any person. That is as catastrophic as the speech of the pope. Muslims shouldn’t react this way. That is totally wrong. This doesn’t comply with our religion. So please whoever done or doing such violent actions, stop it!! Cuz you ain’t helping our religion or other Muslims if that s what you re thinking. This is not in the spirit of our religion.

    Mark

  39. Joe Blow says:

    How does murdering an innocent nun show us that these radicals aren’t violent people? It doesn’t, it only shows the world the true nature of these disgusting people.

  40. Joe Blow says:

    Let me add to this, I don’t believe they are all bad people, they must have many good Muslims, now to the good Muslims, why is it that you have so many people like this in your religion?

  41. funkygamer says:

    Thank God for Bigtoe (see comments above). Read the frikken story.. “in an attack possibly linked to worldwide Muslim anger” that word “possibly” is quite critical people!

  42. SickandTired says:

    The time is fast approaching when Muslims the world over will be forced to come to terms with their end. This can not continue. Change your ways or be changed for good.

  43. Bob says:

    How do you know it was Muslims retaliating for the Pope’s attack? you people are stupid. It was most likely not a Muslim but someone knowing this would be immediatly blamed on Muslims trying to arouse anti-Islamic sentiment.

  44. Anonymous says:

    “… attack possibly linked to worldwide Muslim anger toward Pope Benedict XVI …

    There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, which came just hours after a leading Somali cleric condemned the pope’s remarks last week on Islam and violence.”

    So you are all making these comments on some murder that has no proof that it came from Islam OR that it was related to the comments? Am I missing something? Could it just be a concidence, since somalia is quite a violent country anyway?

  45. Chris says:

    I do believe that the world’s patientce with Islam is running out. It won’t be pretty when it does.

  46. John says:

    Bob:

    How do you know it was Muslims retaliating for the Pope’s attack?

    Lets see, maybe it has something to do with the fact that it occurred in Somalia. A country that has recently been taken over by a Taliban like militia. Maybe it is the way Muslims have acted since the Pope’s comments.

    The headlines should have read “Pope Offends Muslims, Muslims Prove Pope’s Point”.

  47. James says:

    The comments here are becoming 2 sided between christians and muslim. Now im not saying, the people are just trying to support each ideas by “flaming” each other. However the fact of this article is that a group of muslims were hurt by the pope’s speech. Not about how the cause of muslims being all angry is because of americans who are trying to siege their tradition or how their venting by killing a member of christianity

  48. Ray says:

    We now have rhetorically expanded the definition of our enemy to include about 1 billion people. Brilliant strategy!

    That’s BS. Show me where President Bush or any one in government has declared that all Muslims are the enemy, even rhetorically! Show me where the President and America has declared war in Islam! If all Muslims are the enemy, then why hasn’t our government detained all Muslims in America? It hasn’t happened because you know it’s not true. America has NOT declared Islam the enemy and I dare you to show me any proof that we have. You may hate President Bush and the Republicans, but you’re just showing your bias with senseless statements like that.

  49. Ray says:

    The Muslim group has taken quite a beating lately from Westernized Society. Who is to say that violence is not a justified means to a threat to your very existince?

    How is western society a threat to Muslims? Are we actively hunting down Muslims and killing them? Is there a requirement to register Muslims in a global database? Do Muslims have to wear a symbol declaring their religious affiliations? Are there anti-Islamic death squads traveling the world and executing Muslims? Get real!

  50. Ray says:

    The pope instead apologising to the Moslem world he said that he was sorry for the reaction of the Moslem world, he is actually blaming the Moslem world for his intentional attack on us… what a pitty.

    That’s how you see it? An intentional attack? So you believe that the Pope was attacking Islam? Then here’s a bigger attack: Any Muslim that uses force to respond to a perceived insult to that person’s religion is EVIL!

  51. Tano says:

    Ray,
    The comment about rhetorically expanding the definition of our enemy was directed toward the raging hordes of rightwing bloviators, so evident in this thread, and throughout the blogosphere and other media. You are correct that Bush has not taken it to that level, but he has muddied the waters to the extent that I have outlined, and his supporters are taking it the next step.

  52. Christian_Crusader says:

    Personally what everyone needs to realize is this.
    The Pope has sent mail to another powerful religious figure of the Muslim faith hoping to start peace talks. Now I haven’t heard of any major Islamic leaders asking for peace but this could be due to the media coverage itself. The Nun don’t matter.
    The country can only be divided if there are two party’s willing to not cooperate. Maybe we should’ve done what George Washington said huh?
    But look what everyone in this “war” is looking for is security from national to the feeling of being secure, that’s what it boils down to.
    U.S.A. doesn’t feel secure about Iran having WMD’s
    when a small group of U.S.A. hating fighters could sweet talk Iran into letting one go.
    These groups of “terrorists” don’t feel secure with the “west” invading into their country’s and doing what ever they think it is they think the “west” is doing wrong I don’t know maybe it is just the “west” being there.
    Two paths Escalation of which anyone that looks at history feel this is the only way it is going to go.
    Peace talks and people putting their gun’s down
    yay a new landmark for humanity.
    But unless you can talk an enraged person who had their family killed in crossfire between “insurgents” and “western” troops to not go about shooting other “insurgents” and “western” troops then try your luck, but I feel that something like that won’t happen until “peace” is slung from the end of a barrel.
    remember you can’t argue with brute force.

  53. jora says:

    Islam is a peacful religion as long as my bowel movements are peaceful

  54. Jason says:

    Yup, that’s the “peaceful” religion of Islam for you. The world will not be safe until the shit that is Islam is wiped from the world’s ass. We are not doing near enough in this war…we need to nuke the ENTIRE middle east, killing every living organism. Then, we must go after any country who objects.

  55. jojo m. says:

    all christians should respond to this by saying:

    here beat by other cheek, but no matter what you do to me, i forgive you.

    LOVE YOUR ENEMIES.

  56. Carl says:

    Any actions such as killing a defensless nun just solidifies what the pope was trying to say.
    Muslims are nothing but crybabies and cowards.
    How can any of you(LIZ) try and justify such action???? Not all muslims are evil just the ones who kill in the name of god(allah)!

  57. Samy Moustafa says:

    It is quite apparent that many of you are very angry and need to get a cold shower before writing a comment.

    I found this today check it out:

    http://world.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/35742

    Perhaps you will be able to judge for your selves or may be learn what is Islam, I would like to assure all of you that terrorism is foreign to Islam as a way of life and all those who are committing it are well paid; the question is by whom…?????

    It is quite apparent too that all of you who are defending the pope’s actions are more knowledgeable than him, if he was correct he would not have tried to apologize or explain him self to representatives of the Moslem world….!!!!!

  58. Carl says:

    I can assure you samy a cold shower would have been futile, maybe you need to wake up before you post a comment.
    Murder of an innocent nun by a Muslim is what has us all upset, duh grow a brain.
    If Muslim terrorist didn’t do the atrocious things they do we wouldn’t be discussing this ..period!

  59. bob says:

    By whom??? I’ll tell you, some crazy ass Muslim kook thats who

  60. Christian_Crusader says:

    I am not condoning the killing of Muslims just those who wish to see their view of the world I don’t agree with laid to waste. due to the fact when it gets to the point where the other side isn’t willing to compromise and talk the only way to change that is to remove them end of story. it is just the fact of diversity. there will always be conflict.
    unless the only people left are those who agree with you. Just look at what Israel is going through beset on all sides by people who in some way believe they have claim to the Israeli lands. The only it is still Israeli land is because they kill all who are willing to put a gun to their people and pull the trigger. Simple fact of life if you disagree with someone the bottom line is if your dead it doesn’t matter if he was wrong or right because there is no longer any1 telling him he is wrong.