Monday, September 25, 2006

Papal Address to Muslim Leaders and Diplomats

"Lessons of the Past Must Help Us to Seek Paths of Reconciliation"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 25, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, to leaders of Muslim communities in Italy and ambassadors of Muslim countries accredited to the Holy See.

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Dear Cardinal Poupard,
Your Excellencies,
Dear Muslim Friends,

I am pleased to welcome you to this gathering that I wanted to arrange in order to strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the Holy See and Muslim communities throughout the world. I thank Cardinal Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, for the words that he has just addressed to me, and I thank all of you for responding to my invitation.

The circumstances which have given rise to our gathering are well known. I have already had occasion to dwell upon them in the course of the past week. In this particular context, I should like to reiterate today all the esteem and the profound respect that I have for Muslim believers, calling to mind the words of the Second Vatican Council which for the Catholic Church are the Magna Carta of Muslim-Christian dialogue: "The Church looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humanity and to whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves wholeheartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God" (declaration "Nostra Aetate," No. 3).

Placing myself firmly within this perspective, I have had occasion, since the very beginning of my pontificate, to express my wish to continue establishing bridges of friendship with the adherents of all religions, showing particular appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians (cf. Address to the Delegates of Other Churches and Ecclesial Communities and of Other Religious Traditions, April 25, 2005).

As I underlined at Cologne last year, "Interreligious and intercultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra. It is, in fact, a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends" (Meeting with Representatives of Some Muslim Communities, Cologne, Aug. 20, 2005). In a world marked by relativism and too often excluding the transcendence and universality of reason, we are in great need of an authentic dialogue between religions and between cultures, capable of assisting us, in a spirit of fruitful cooperation, to overcome all the tensions together.
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3 Comments:

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis said...

Benedictus XVI may not be right, but today's Muslims are islamically wrong!

(first published in: http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/9-16-2006-109009.asp)

The wrong question is: "Did Benedictus XVI insult Islam and Muslims?" The correct question is: "Are today's Muslims entitled to protest, and to what extent can they be taken as the true 'custodians' of the system preached before 14 centuries by Prophet Muhammad?"

Less than a year after the deplorable 'Cartoons War', a false debate is reproduced in front of a multi-confused international community. The wrong question is: "Did Benedictus XVI insult Islam and Muslims?" The correct question is: "Are today's Muslims entitled to protest, and to what extent can they be taken as the true 'custodians' of the system preached before 14 centuries by Prophet Muhammad?"

Written by a Muslim, this protestation against the disreputable representatives of modern Muslim countries and against their pathetic attitude as regards Pope Benedictus' references to Manuel Paleologus may give to Western readership an insightful of the tyrannized societies of Islamic Terror. Few can protest, when Fear reigns and misinformation matches with detrimental lack of education and culture, behavioural barbarism, and political intolerance. Few Muslims live in (and therefore can appreciate) democratic societies in which reference to does not necessarily imply acceptance of someone,

Pathetic Muslim ignorance of Manuel Paleologus

This is the point to start with. Before speaking about the Pope's excerpts, idiots and quasi-illiterate politicians of the misery and the most immoral hypocrisy, like the Turk Salih Kapusuz, deputy leader of Premier Erdogan's party, and the Egyptian Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, should have studied for an hour or two who Manuel Paleologus was. In Turkey there are specialized Byzantinists, so the task would be easier for the former: just ask before saying idiocies.

The latter should first remember that there are no Egyptian specialists in Byzantium (except those who got in the West a title "bon pour l' Orient", and work as taxi drivers in Cairo because of the economic failure of the successive dysfunctional governments of the Mubarak presidency); Aboul Gheit should remember that more than half of the population of the country he represents are miserable analphabets, plus that for about a century Western Egyptologists faced the threats of the semi-barbaric sheikhs of Egypt who did not wish to allow excavations to be carried out and ancient temples to be unearthed. Under such a heavy burden, About Gheit should present apologies for daring to comment.

Christian Orthodox, the Eastern Roman Emperor Manuel Paleologus reigned after the Latin rule of Constantinople; in his time the Eastern Roman hatred against the Pope of Rome had reached culmination after the two schisms, in 863 and (definite) 1054, had divided Christianity into Orthodox in the East and Catholic in the West. It is interesting to remember that Patriarch Michael Kherularius confiscated immediately all Latin properties in the Eastern Roman Empire in 1054 immediately after July 16, when three Roman legates entered Aghia Sophia church during mass on Saturday afternoon and placed the papal Bull of Excommunication on the Aghia Trapeza (the altar).

Manuel II Paleologus lived 300 years after the schism and 100 years after the Eastern Roman liberation from the Crusaders, who reproached for treachery invaded Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade (1204), instead of just crossing the land to reach Jerusalem. The Roman envy for the New Rome – Constantinople was running high for centuries, even before the days of Pope Nicholas I, who anathematized Patriarch Photius in 863!

At the times of Manuel Paleologus, little could save the ailing Eastern Roman Empire from falling to the Ottoman sultanate (this happened indeed 30 years after the Emperor died); it is also useful to remember that at those days the Eastern Roman, in their majority Greek speaking, populations were politically divided into two groups: the pro-Latins, who thought the Pope would mobilize Western Europeans armies to save Constantinople, and the pro-Ottomans, who knew that the Pope's worst enemy was not Islam but Christian Orthodoxy, and that for this reason help would never come from the West. Many top Eastern Roman theologians were far closer to political Islam (the Ottoman sultanate, empire after 1453, and caliphate after 1517) than the Frankish supremacy over Vatican and Western Europe that they considered as initiation to the Antichrist's Age. Cosmas the Aetolian, after many centuries of Ottoman rule over the Greek speaking Christian Orthodox populations of the former Eastern Roman Empire, found the clamor to attack the Pope as the ultimate reason for the … long awaited Antichrist, saying (or foretelling) that we should blame the Pope for the Antichrist's rise. The Sheikhulislam (religious head of Islam at the times of the Ottoman Caliphate) was not a matter of concern for that Orthodox monk of the late 18th century.

All this is to briefly say that Benedictus XVI quoted a declared enemy of Catholic Christianity. Whether the present Pope accepts the Eastern Roman Emperor's attacks against Islam has little importance. If we refer to News Agencies, the Pope insisted on that he was quoting; he was however quoting the emperor whom previous occupants of the Holy See did their best to destroy, an emperor whose people preferred Islam to Catholic Christianity.

We should in our turn ask why Benedictus XVI did not quote the extremely rich Catholic anti-Islamic literature that antedates the Eastern Roman Emperor. Probably, his choice was based on the consideration that even those who rejected Catholic Christianity and preferred political Islam, had negative opinion of Prophet Muhammad. This does not add much, and can hardly be taken as insult, It is well known that negative opinion of the 'other' was common place among all.

Islamic reaction against the Pope bears witness to Absolute Ignorance of Islam

What matters in 2006 is whether a negative opinion can be taken as an insult. If we reached this level, then communication has ended, this is what many of my coreligionists seem to forget; every one is entitled to a negative opinion of Muhammad, the Coran, Islam in its entirety, God Himself. Muslims should always remember that the Supreme Sentence within the Coran is

- There is no Compulsion in Religion.

As Muslim, I do not believe that Benedictus XVI has to apologize because I believe he is not obliged to accept Islam. If he insulted Islam, communication with Muslims would be difficult, but we cannot afford to take a negative opinion as an insult.

Only people with severe complex of inferiority would take a negative opinion as an insult; it seems that the vast complex of inferiority of political representatives of Modern Islam has no limits; for Turks it is due to a false interpretation of History and to deviation from the political ideology initiated by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. For Egyptians and others, it is due to terrible long centuries of French and/or English Cultural, Economic, Political Colonialism against which they never had the courage to fight. The altered face of the so-called Arabic speaking peoples, their distorted cultural and historical identity, their lack of interest to assess their – absolutely non-Arabic – national identity (Coptic for Egyptians, Berberic for Libyans, Tunisians, Algerians, Moroccans and Mauritanians, and Aramaic for Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis, Jordanians, Palestinians and others), and their false Islam are the reasons of this complex of inferiority.

The first thing all critics of Benedictus XVI should bring in mind is the extent to which they represent Islam, the definite lack of knowledge of Islam, their miserable misinterpretation of a religion that has truly no followers anymore. These screaming and inane people should ask themselves to what extent they, and the execrable and totalitarian societies and countries they represent, would be have been accepted by top Muslim philosophers, if they had been back to life.

Ruling these states where Islam became a religion limited to few acts of practice and lack of basic thought, representing these societies where the hatred of the better reigns in all forms of the daily life, and daring to attack a scholar who was elected Pope are all contradictory. Trivial politicians should first correct inaccuracies and inconsistencies in their own countries before attacking others. Whatever Benedictus XVI said, what matters is how many Muslim beggars enter filthy (with dirty gallabiyas tope up and with black coloured foot – since they a re barefoot) in the mosques to pray and ask money from the people around.

When outside your mosques there are hills of trash tore up by rubbish eaters, you have nothing to defend. When in your schools your schoolboys do not study a single page of original text of Ibn Sina, Mohyieldin Ibn al Arabi, Maqrizi, Tabari, and Ibn Rushd, you have no Islam to defend.

When you do not know the most important Islamic monuments beyond the borders of your country, and when you need Western organizations (like the Rotary's) to restore your country's Islamic monuments, you should rather shut up.

The only thing Bendictus XVI has to say to his bogus-Islamic critics is that "since there is no compulsion in religion" all the Muslim countries should turn secular, and all those who are ready in these countries to reject Islam must be allowed by law to do so without facing consequences".

When you impose Islam, you destroy Islam; no one would respect a destroyed religion fallen to the hands of ignorant and illiterate sheikhs.

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger Denice Hanley, DPM, M.Div. said...

Thank you for your insightful comment.

"When you impose Islam, you destroy Islam..."

And, from the Qur'an: "There is no Compulsion in Religion".

So true. A true relationship with God can never be built on a foundation of coercion. Our ontological freedom is necessary; we are not robots. We must even have the freedom to not believe.

When one truly loves another, even if that "other" is the "Supreme Other," the measure of that love can only be gauged if that love is freely given.

And, as Pope Benedict said, "violence is incompatible with the nature of God." God would never use His disciples to violently bring others into the fold. To inflict such violence upon others in the name of God is a blasphemy against God's true nature.

God's blessings to you!

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis said...

Lord Carey, Benedictus XVI, and today’s decayed Islam

(published in: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/lord-carey-benedictus-xvi-decayed-islam.html)

When a Pope quotes an Orthodox Eastern Roman Emperor and an Anglican authority supports the Head of Catholic Christianity, serious developments are logically expected; especially because all these events take place weeks before the Pope's visit to Turkey.

THE former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton defended the Pope’s "extraordinarily effective and lucid" speech. In his own challenge to "violent" Islam, Lord Carey said that the West had been largely responsible for "redrawing the map of the Middle East", and asked why Islam today had become associated with violence. An analysis

When a Pope quotes an Orthodox Eastern Roman Emperor and an Anglican authority supports the Head of Catholic Christianity, serious developments are logically expected; especially because all these events take place weeks before the Pope's visit to Turkey. In the perspective of a definite re-unification between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, the debate about Islam runs high. It is even more so, as it coincides with the forthcoming adhesion of Turkey (the only Muslim country – candidate) to the (defunct or resurrected?) European Union!

In reality, Lord Carey supported the basic hint instilled in the words of the intellectual emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, namely that there seems to be an inner link between Islam and violence, especially highlighted in the concept of Holy War (Jihad).

Lord Carey reportedly (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2366419,00.html) said that Muslims must address "with great urgency" their religion’s association with violence. He made it clear that he believed the "clash of civilisations" endangering the world was not between Islamist extremists and the West, but with Islam as a whole.

In fact, a major misunderstanding seems to be the reason the two worlds (or rather parts of the world) do not communicate anymore, and arguments are exchanged without supporting mutual comprehension. We can enumerate some:

1. The West has been burdened with anti-Islamic religious literature going back to the days of the Prophet Muhammad. This literature emanates from different cultural backgrounds (today's West is not that of the 7th century, and today's Christianity is not that of the 7th century), but few among the Western scholars seem to understand that if you use an element (Manuel Paleologus' consideration of Islam) out of a different cultural background and you transfer it to a completely different environment (today's global world), you only contribute to confusion. Today's West must get rid of religious medieval considerations and evaluations of Islam; they would lead to nowhere.

2. Modern European Orientalist scholarship has failed to perceive correctly and to diffuse in the West and the rest of the World the Ancient Oriental Civilizations for which so great efforts and labours have been deployed from decipherments to excavations and from publications to tourism and average culture. Having failed to stand objectively and neutrally
a) toward Ancient Mesopotamian Civilizations (there was direct Democracy in Elam of the Sukkalmahhu era in the 2nd millennium BCE, more than 1300 years before the so ridiculously venerated Athenian Pericles of the Western epileptics), b) Ancient Egyptian Civilization (that was condition sine qua non for the later rise of civilization among the Greek peoples),
c) Ancient Hittite and Anatolian Civilizations (Hesiod's Theogony is an adaptation of Hittite epics, and Herodotus was an anti-Persian, Carian - not Greek Historian),
d) Canaanite and Phoenician Civilizations (Homer's Iliad is an adaptation of the Ugaritic Canaanite epic 'Kret', and Phoenicians developed first democratic practices in their Mediterranean colonies before diffusing the system among Athenians)
e) Iranian Civilizations (at the times of the erroneously described as 'Hellenistic Culture' – the correct term would be 'Orientalistic' – Mithra was diffused among Greek and Latin speaking populations throughout Europe – but not a single European knows today that there have been excavated on European soil more than 500 temples and shrines dedicated to Mithra)
f) Aramaean Civilization (Aramaic was the second international language after the Assyrian – Babylonian and thanks to Aramaic Manichaeism was the first religion to be diffused from Atlantic to Pacific), western scholars were by nature unable to develop a scholarly authoritative discipline of Islamology; they even did not have the interest for that!

What mattered to these idiotic minds who bear great part of responsibility for the rise of Islamic Extremism was to convincingly diffuse their personal approaches and ideas about Islam; quite unfortunately, these ideas were all wrong for Islamologists like Maxime Rodinson (former professor of mine at the Paris-based Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, IVeme section) wished to prove through them their preconceived philosophical and ideological schemes.

They violated therefore the discipline they were supposed to serve, they concealed part of knowledge, misinterpreted other part, and focalized on unimportant issues. At the beginning of their failure (that will fall upon the heads of today's European bogus-philosophers – ridiculous enfants gates of irrelevant and unrepresentative mass medias) is the fact that they even did not study properly Islam (less than 1% of Islamic philosophy, historiography and literature has so far been translated to modern European languages – and the same concerns numerous critical sources of knowledge written in Aramaic, Assyrian - Babylonian, Ugaritic, Hittite, Egyptian Hieroglyphic, Ancient Yemenite, Middle Persian, Gueze.

3. In addition, to false perception of the Oriental civilizations, the Western Intellectual establishment stuck disastrously to a false, erroneously conceived, today entirely obsolete (because of numerous discoveries), model of Greco-Romano-centrist of History and Humanities that, even more disastrously was extensively diffused among colonized elites. In this sense, European Colonial academic establishments fell in the trap of their arrogant egocentrism twice: engulfing themselves in the Falsehood of Greco-Romano-centrism, and engulfing others. Only recently, and thanks to anti-colonial intellectuals in America, Martin Bernal, Edouard Said and several Africanists starting shaking the foundations of the Greco-Romano-centrist lunacy. But if the local elites in Iran, Algeria, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan and Syria had not fallen victims of the European universities where they went to study, they would be able to reveal to themselves and to their peoples their respective cultural identity, different per country, and like that confirmed cultural identity would prevent the despair of the extremist nihilism.

4. Even worse, the Colonial empires pursued and obtained a most redoubtable victory over the Islamic Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire. Soon, they will regret but one should probably expect terrible bloodshed to come before. The French adventures under Napoleon in the Egyptian province of the Ottoman Empire were a viciously perceived and rancorously executed plan of Hatred against the political supremacy of the Islamic World. It would be very naïve for the murderous gangs that supported the Colonial Scheme to truly believe that they would go unpunished. They will be punished, and the tool of their punishment will be precisely their own creature: the illiterate, analphabetic, fanatic, uneducated and uncultured masses that they needed atop of shamefully detached bogus-states like Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, etc.

One has to admit that for inner reasons, due to philosophical – ideological developments that took place within Islam, the Ottoman Empire was in decay since the beginning of the 18th century. If the European interest had been innocent and benign, if the Europeans truly wished to study and diffuse knowledge pertaining to Assyria, Egypt, Phoenicia, Persia, Anatolia, Islam, etc., then the European intellectuals would have done their best to properly diffuse this knowledge among themselves, readjust their preconceived falsehood, and then spread the light among the already in Darkness Muslim masses.

They would have helped Muslims find the equivalent of Ratio, Freedom, Grace, Justice, Discipline, Responsibility, Gratitude in Islam, they would have drien them to rediscover their Great but Lost Islam. But the Colonial Scheme was the most malignant conception human minds had achieved. They wished to dismember the only power that would save them: the Ottoman Empire. What happened after the collapse of the caliphate is very significant: Turkey made a real cultural revolution and became a culturally and politically Western state (not without terrible efforts and many fights against the forces of darkness, illiterate sheikhs who had lost their spiritual and political power). It would not be proper to compare Turkey to Sweden but politically Turkey is far closer to Scandinavia than to Syria.

What happened to turkey, would have happened to the entire Ottoman Empire if left united from Algeria to Oman and from the borders of Russia to the frontiers of Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia. The entire area would not be perhaps an ideal democracy like Switzerland but it would never produce Terrorists like the September 11 humanoids.

5. The West kept working on disastrous plans during the 19th and the 20th centuries, diffusing a false theory, namely the Arab nationalism or Pan-Arabism.
Idiotic colonial diplomats thought that by plunging the local masses into a false identity they would besot them eternally and they would therefore extract the entire economic and political profit. They did plunge all these non-Arabic masses to absolutely false identity and culture concepts, but they had not studied the Depth of Despair. Baudelaire and Rimbaud, Nietzsche and William Blake had not explored enough the depths of a befallen and undeservedly mortified soul.

Perhaps today, in the light of September 11th and the Cartoons War, illuminated theologians like the Pope Professor Ratzinger and Lord Carey will understand that there is a Need in the West to explore and study a befallen and undeservedly mortified soul. Like this, they may finally conclude that the Islamic terrorism will be duly tackled only with a pertinent dismantling of the Colonial Scheme. They will find not interlocutors in the Islamic World, not among the official - academic and political - elites that are all the result of the barbaric machinations of the colonial powers. But they must search, stick to the Western Ideals of Freedom (that is equally a Great Ideal for the Real Islam), and never condition their fight to political needs of a Europe in decay. Two worlds in decay, Europe and Islam, will never communicate; one must be alive, and the good intentions will matter. By respecting the original Islam, you will civilize the decayed Muslims of today: this is the real challenge!

 

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