Friday, February 8, 2008

Vatican-Muslim meeting

Preparations under way for Vatican-Muslim meeting
February 7th, 2008, filed by Tom Heneghan

Mike Ghouse : To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker; one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for the purpose of co-existence of God's creation to be in peace and Harmony. Indeed that is the chief purpose of religion, any religion. Dialogue is the first step towards peace. No matter how many times failures may dawn upon us, dialogue is the right thing to do. Through a dialogue, each party becomes a genunine owner partner to the peace , and when you are an owner, it becomes your duty to safegaurd the committments. May God bless them and all such endeavors for world peace - simply translated: you and I can live without fear for the rest of our lives.

Preparations are under way for a planned visit to the Vatican by representatives of the “Common Word” Muslim appeal for a theological dialogue between Christianity and Islam. This group of Muslim scholars and leaders got to be known as the “138″ because that was the number of initial signatories, but the total has grown to 221, so that label is a bit confusing now. Anyway, veteran vaticanista Sandro Magister informs us that five Muslim representatives were at the Vatican early this week to start preparing for the visit expected to take place in the next month or so. One interesting aspect is simply the geographical mix of people involved — they come from Turkey, Britain, Jordan, Libya and Italy.

Discussion of this initiative continues apace.

The conservative U.S. Catholic author George Weigel argues that the”Common Word” authors “seemed to be trying to change the subject” in their statements about the planned dialogue because they did not address what Pope Benedict cited as discussion points when he addressed the Roman Curia in December 2006. In that speech, Benedict said Muslims and Christians had to “counter a dictatorship of positivist reason that excludes God from the life of the community and from public organizations” and “welcome the true conquests of the Enlightenment, human rights and especially the freedom of faith and its practice, and recognise these also as being essential elements for the authenticity of religion.”

In his weekly column, the National Catholic Reporter’s Vatican expert, John Allen, has a long interview with Father Thomas Michel S.J., one of the Catholic Church’s leading experts on Islam. Allen notes two interesting points Michel makes:

· Michel said: “It’s about time that somebody moved the conversation off geopolitical conflicts and onto faith questions.” Although some Vatican officials have argued that inter-religious dialogue ought to be seen as part of a broader dialogue among cultures, Michel said he doesn’t share that view. “Religion is already too often relegated to the status of folklore, of being a mere artifact of culture,” he said. “Muslims are making us all aware that if we’re not talking directly about God and religion, we’re not accomplishing anything.”

· I asked Michel to comment on one issue certain to surface in any Muslim-Christian conversation: “reciprocity,” or the insistence that if Muslim immigrants in the West receive the benefit of religious freedom and protection of law, Christian minorities in the world’s 56 Muslim-majority states ought to get the same deal. “We have to be careful,” Michel said. “Reciprocity is not a gospel value, but something that comes out of diplomatic and trade negotiations.” It was entirely appropriate, Michel said, to insist that Muslims treated minorities fairly. On the other hand, he said, respect for human dignity could not become a bargaining chip.

Sohail Nakhooda, editor-in-chief of Islamica magazine, kept the focus on what Muslims and Christians have in common. He made two interesting points about that in an interview for the Venice-based journal Oasis :

· “The document definitely caught people by surprise, particularly the naysayers in both religions who prefer to keep complete theological distance to legitimise their polemics … the document generated dialogue within and between communities. Its aim is not to whittle away differences in doctrine or, say, soteriology, but it is more about a recognition that we need to retrieve and learn to appreciate shared history and shared theological principles.

· “What is innovative and seminal about ‘A Common Word’ is that it starts from unity and moves to difference, rather than from difference to unity. It began with unity, that is, with what both communities shared deeply. That unity, or sharedness, was to be the basis for difference. This is an altogether different way of approaching the problem of intercultural relations and of plurality; it preserves their religious and cultural identities; it enables each to come together on solid theological grounds whose basis are in their own scriptures and which both share. They may disagree, and naturally they will, but when dialogue is based on the dual principles of love of God and of neighbour, it will ensure that they always leave as friends and that their disagreement does not escalate into all-out conflict.”

It’s interesting to see some people such as Weigel pointing to a large gap between Christianity and Islam and others like Nakhooda stressing what links them. Which approach do you think is more realistic or has more chance of fostering understanding?

1 comment:

  1. Its great.My sincere suggestions should be open and seen by all,2.All our Muslim scholars are hugely respected but Zakir Naik is the one who should and must be invited and be present there.He is a full-fledge expert and scholar of Comparative religions and well-spoken too.I believe years ago he had asked for the talk with the Pope but he didn't get back to him.I think now is the best time,3.It should be broadcasted live on the leading news channels if the Pope has nothing to fear of.



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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.