By Cindy Wooden for the Catholic News Service:
ROME — Christians must distance themselves from anyone or anything that insults Islam’s prophet Mohammed and should come to a greater appreciation of his role in bringing millions of people to recognize the one God, said a German Jesuit scholar.
But Christians cannot share Muslims’ recognition of Mohammed as the last and greatest prophet, said Father Christian Troll, a professor of Islam and of Muslim-Christian relations at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany.
For Muslims, he said, Mohammed was the prophet who revealed God’s uncreated word, the Quran.
For Christians, Jesus was not a prophet, but the word of God made flesh, he said.
While Christians cannot share Muslims’ faith in Mohammed as the last and greatest prophet, “Christians must decisively distance themselves from every insult against Mohammed and, in addition, must try to recognize and appreciate his exceptional historic personality, his role as founder of Islam and the extraordinary place he occupies in the faith, piety and religious thought of Muslims,” Father Troll said.
True respect for Muslims and for their faith, he said, requires Christians to “investigate that which in the life and teaching of Mohammed is acceptable or even exemplary and admirable for Christians, but also those aspects of his life and teaching that, from the point of view of Christian faith, would seem problematic and unacceptable.”
One expects that Fr Troll and the Vatican are trying to be diplomatic. That’s fine, but what comes across is an uncritical attitude of appeasement – as is by now commonplace. There is no reason to insult Islam or Muslims, but, from a Christian point of view, it would seem appropriate to keep in mind the countless martyrs who met their end at the hands of Muslims, the centuries of jihad that turned Christian North Africa, the Holy Land, and Turkey into Islamic tyrannies, and the Islamic mandate to conquer Christian civilization. Perhaps this is what Fr Troll means by the “problematic and unacceptable” aspects of Islam?