Skip to comments.Pell speech hurts efforts to boost ties, says Muslim
Posted on 11/17/2004 7:05:05 PM PST by naturalman1975
Catholic Archbishop of Sydney George Pell was undermining the Pope's efforts to build bridges with Islam, a leading Muslim said yesterday.
Keysar Trad, of the Lebanese Muslim Association, said a speech by Cardinal Pell last month in America linking communism and Islam had offended many Muslims.
The cardinal said Islam might become the communism of the 21st century, attracting those who were alienated and embittered, as well as justice seekers.
A Catholic inter-faith expert said yesterday that the speech left fences to mend, while the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, which will discuss action at its meeting this weekend, said Cardinal Pell should have been more careful.
Mr Trad wants "a friendly meeting" with Cardinal Pell.
The cardinal is in Rome, but yesterday his office sought to clarify the remarks, saying the talk had been about secular democracy's failings, and democracy's need for strong religious life in the wider culture.
"The talk does not suggest that Islam and democracy are incompatible," a spokeswoman said. The comparison with communism was limited to the appeal both made in the West to people's sense of justice.
Mr Trad, who is also spokesman for Grand Mufti Taj al-Din al-Hilali, said the speech was contrary to what the Pope was trying to do: "The Pope and his predecessor have been trying to build bridges with the Muslim community." He said the speech showed Muslims had wrongly taken for granted Cardinal Pell's level of awareness about Islam.
"If he does know, and makes comments like that, it would be cause for concern after all the bridges we've built."
Islamic Council of Victoria president Yasser Soliman said he was not offended by Cardinal Pell's points, which deserved discussion. "(But) what does concern me, and I would like to clarify, is his posing of Islam as something dark or sinister, comparing it to communism, which is godless."
Mr Soliman said it would be better for Cardinal Pell to talk to Muslims rather than about them.
"We don't feel we are a threat, but if that perception exists we should deal with it and try to resolve any issues," he said.
He was discussing the speech with Catholics dedicated to inter-faith dialogue, some of whom were unhappy with Cardinal Pell's reported comments. "Our dialogue is very heart-warming, and there is a lot of goodwill," he said.
Father Trevor Trotter, of the Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations, thought Cardinal Pell had been misinterpreted, but that some fence-mending was needed.
Amjed Mahboob, chief executive of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said Cardinal Pell's comparison with communism was dangerous as it sent the wrong message. "There was no need to have brought in Islam..." he said.
"build bridges with islam" so that the muslims can hang our collective bodies from that bridge? NO THANK YOU.
Offended? Too bad!
Stop slaughtering Christians, infidel!
Glad to see a Christian leader who has a clue, btw.
Great, this bishop is Catholic!
Makes me very happy!
No, no, no!!
We're building bridges to drive Abrams tanks over!
Get a clue!!!
The pope kissing the Koran was one of the most disappointing things I have ever seen in my church. He stood up to communism, and then, this?
Maybe Cardinal Pell for the next pope?
The only bridge we can offer between Islam and Christianity is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
In fact, the terrorist movement has arisen from a combination of Wahhabi Islam and totalitarian ideology deriving from Europe, partly Nazi and partly Communist.
It's no coincidence that Russia found Muslim nationalists to be useful tools during the Cold War, and that leftists everywhere have formed a sympathetic coalition with Muslim terrorists since 9/11.
Let us mend our fences. The Israelis are building one at the moment that can inspire us, I am sure.
The Pope is an old, old man and he is isolated from reality by people who mean well I am sure. Do not judge him too harshly because he won't change and your judgment will only harm you. Leave him to the One Whom he serves.
Islam Faces a New EraToday's Muslim world is also being betrayed by a similar intellectual passivity regarding the Internet, the dynamo of the next Renaissance. While the French fight an uphill battle to prevent English from laying siege to the French-speaking world via the Net, none of the major Muslim languages plays a major role in this huge knowledge machine. Equally conspicuous is the absence of Muslim countries from one of history's greatest scientific endeavors, the Human Genome Project. Islam is not intrinsically opposed to ideals of justice, equality, and human dignity. It is folly to assume that technological sophistication or economic prosperity need weaken, or run counter to, religious belief. Meanwhile, at some distance from the ivory tower lies the grim reality of much of the Muslim world: poverty; mass illiteracy; want of basic hygiene and primary health facilities; lack of fundamental liberties of religion and speech; little protection from state persecution.
by Munawar A. Anees
1999, Civilization Magazine
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