Feisal Abdul Rauf
From Australia’s Catholic News, with thanks to Jean-Luc:
Cardinal George Pell of Sydney will welcome Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to St Mary’s Cathedral tomorrow for a lunchtime Interfaith Prayer Service.
Imam Feisal is visiting Sydney at the invitation of Premier Bob Carr, who will also be in attendance at the Service.
Stressing that Imam Feisal is welcome at St Mary’s, Cardinal Pell said: “One of the ambitions of Pope John Paul II is to encourage dialogue between mainstream and moderate Muslims, particularly with Catholics, but also with all Christians and all people of good will.”
“He has an interesting set of views and we look forward to hearing more from him,” said Cardinal Pell. “The stakes are very high. In our own small way we are talking about war or peace. Our Catholic and Christian faith compels us to work for peace.”
That’s swell, but is Feisal Abdul Rauf really a good dialogue partner for Cardinal Pell? Abdul Rauf has said: “The Islamic method of waging war is not to kill innocent civilians. But it was Christians in World War II who bombed civilians in Dresden and Hiroshima, neither of which were military targets.”
This is outrageously specious, but it depends on the ignorance of the listeners. The bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima were not justified by the bombers on the basis of Christian theology. The bombings by terrorists — 9/11, 3/11, etc. — are justified on the basis of Islamic theology. By claiming that they are equivalent, Abdul Rauf obscures the Islamic roots of modern-day terrorism, thus hindering the prospects for the reform within Islam that is so desperately needed if jihad terrorism is ever going to cease.
He has also said, according to the Sun Herald, that “there could be little progress until the US acknowledged backing dictators and the US President gave an ‘America Culpa’ speech to the Muslim world.” Of course. The historical depredations of jihad, they were all the fault of the West. The fall of Constantinople? Probably because of Byzantium’s support for Israel.