Excerpt from the book The Messenger, an intriguing work of fiction, by Daniel Silva.


“You seem to believe that the problem of terrorism and radical Islam can be swept away if they were more like us — that if poverty, illiteracy, and tyranny weren’t so prevalent in the Muslim world, there would be no young men willing to sacrifice their lives in order to maim and kill others.

But they’ve seen the way we live, and they want nothing of it. They’ve seen our democracy, and they reject it. They view democracy as a religion that runs counter to the central tenets of Islam, and therefore they will resist it with a sacred rage. How do we deliver justice and prosperity to these men of Islam who believe only in death?” “It certainly cannot be imposed on them by the barrel of a man’s gun.”

“I agree, Holiness. Only when Islam reforms itself will there be social justice and true prosperity within the Arab world. But in the meantime we cannot sit idly by and do nothing while the jihadists plot our destruction. That, Holiness, is immoral, too.”

The Pope rose from his desk and pushed open the large window overlooking St. Peter’s Square. Night had fallen. Rome stirred beneath his feet.

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