To those who are smart enough to realize that, far from vilifying such a prominent Western leader as the Pope, who has repeatedly shown good will towards Islam, it’s better to praise his dialogue-first approach. Since, as is becoming increasingly clear, the alternative is worse. “Islam: Muslim thinkers praise Pope’s ‘advanced’ views on dialogue,” from Adnkronos, July 31:
Rome, 31 July (AKI) – Pope Benedict XVI has played a key role in helping Muslims and Christians start to find common ground on issues ranging from poverty to pollution, according to a top Muslim intellectual.
“After years of attempted dialogue, Islam and Christianity have begun to find consensus on subjects of shared interest,” the president of Italy’s Association of Muslim Intellectuals Ahmad Vincenzo said in an interview with the Catholic daily Liberal.
“These topics range from the family to pollution, poverty, and the distribution of natural resources,” he said.
Vincenzo praised Benedict’s statements on religious dialogue.
“We have noted that the pontiff holds more advanced views on this subject than most of society and we would like public broadcasters to devote more air time to inter-religious dialogue,” he noted.
Right — which is why, after he quoted from an arcane Byzantine text, prominent Muslim leaders condemned him, and the masses burned his effigy.
“This would help counter prejudiced notions that Islam is a violent religion to be discriminated against.”
Inter-faith dialogue could become the shared language of the world’s two biggest faiths and a tool to influence governments and decision-makers, ” added Vincenzo, who teaches Islamic law at the University of Naples Federico II.
Which is precisely why Muslims are increasingly pushing for more “inter-dialogue”: to influence the government and decision-makers, or, in other words, to get the government and decision makers off their backs.
The Pope last year received King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in a groundbreaking meeting and will host a landmark ‘Catholic-Muslim Forum’ in early November, aimed at improving ties between the two faiths.
Yes, now let the good king reciprocate the Vatican’s hospitality by inviting the Pope to Saudi Arabia — which would be far more “groundbreaking,” not to mention entirely in Muslim hands.
Catholic-Muslim relations soured after a 2006 speech in Germany in which Benedict XVI quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor’s criticism of Islam, linking it to violence.
Following Muslim fury over the speech and worldwide protests, last October, 138 top Muslim scholars from 43 countries launched an appeal to the Pope for greater theological dialogue. Their letter warned that global security was at risk if Muslims and Christians could not make peace.