"The Koran is an inspiration for intolerance, murder and terror.... it is a facist book and should be banned like Mein Kampf."
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."The first, as you have no doubt recognised, is from a film released by Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who this week was barred from entering Britain for spreading "hate".
The second, perhaps more suprisingly, is a quote from Pope Benedict XVI, addressing a university where he used to teach theology in 2006. Equally unsuprisingly, these words provoked anger in the Muslim world.
Both statements - at their base level - say the say thing: That Islam is a religion which is incompatible with peace, with Western beliefs and ideology and spreads evil. That is not a sentiment I share.
But I do have a question for the Home Office.
If Wilders is to be banned from Britain (and that is something I have huge issues with) surely, in the interests of fairness and balance, the Pope should be too?
Like I say, inviting controversy I know. But there's something in the Pope's "I was quoting a 14th Century text, of course I didn't mean it" defence that doesn't wash with me.