Bin Laden, Leave the Pope, Catholics and Muslims Alone!!!

Posted on March 20, 2008


CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — Osama bin Laden accused Pope Benedict XVI of helping in a ”new Crusade” against Islam and warned of a ”severe” reaction to European publications of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that insulted many Muslims.

Bin Laden’s new audiotape message raised concerns al-Qaida was plotting new attacks in Europe. Some experts said bin Laden, believed to be in hiding in the rugged Afghan-Pakistan border area, may be unable to organize an attack himself and instead is trying to fan anger and inspire his supporters to violence.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said bin Laden’s accusation that the pope has played a role in a worldwide campaign against Islam is ”baseless.” Lombardi said the pope on several occasions has criticized the cartoons, first published in several European newspapers in 2006 and republished by Danish papers in February.

The pope angered many in the Muslim world in 2006, when he cited a medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as ”evil and inhuman,” particularly ”his command to spread by the sword the faith.”

The pope later said he was ”deeply sorry” and stressed the remarks did not reflect his own opinions. He has since led a public campaign for dialogue with Muslims. [more]

Please click here to read the whole article from the New York Times.

Commentary from Rafik Beekun:

I imagine that current news must not get to Osama in whatever cave he is hiding out in. This Pope, after an initial faux pas for which he has repeatedly apologized, has been working very hard at improving Catholic Muslim ties. Not content with destroying the good name of Islam and misleading some towards extremism, Osama Bin Laden is now trying to stir the flames of inter-religious suspicion and hate, and to inflame the zealot minority that follows him blindly. Osama, read below how Catholics and Muslims are working hard at building good relations with one another, and stop your nonsense! You have sullied the name of Islam and Muslims enough. By the way, it is also time to pay for your crimes against humanity.

New Forum to Try to Improve Catholic-Muslim Ties

New York Times
Published: March 6, 2008

ROME — The Vatican on Wednesday announced a new Catholic-Muslim Forum to try to improve relations between the religions. The announcement came after a delegation of Muslim scholars met with members of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on Tuesday.

In a joint statement issued by the Holy See, the parties said that the forum’s first meeting, a seminar called “Love of God, Love of Neighbor,” would take place in Rome in November. The seminar, which will involve leaders and scholars from both religions, will deal with both theological matters and social themes. Pope Benedict XVI is expected to address the participants.

The delegation, which last year took part in writing an open letter calling for cooperation between Christianity and Islam, held a news conference on Wednesday to discuss the new forum.

“We need a sign of hope,” said Prof. Aref Ali Nayed, director of the Jordan Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in Amman, adding that world peace cannot be achieved without respect, dialogue and peace between the religions. [more]

Please click here to read the whole article in the New York Times.

Muslim Scholars’ Letter to Pope and Christian Leaders

Other articles of interest:

1. A Message of Peace from Muslim Scholars to the Pope.

2. Please click here to download the whole 29-page letter entitled “A Common Word Between Us and You.”

3. Against Terrorism and Religious Extremism: Muslim Position and Responsibilities. An extremely helpful and clearly written handout by the Islamic Society of North America addressed to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

4. Brochure Anti-Terrorisme et Anti-extrémisme en langue française. Une brochure extrêmement utile et clairement écrite par la Société Islamique de l’Amérique du Nord (ISNA) adressée aux Musulmans et aux non-Musulmans francophones du monde entier.

5. Full text of fatwa by Islamic Commission of Spain against Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaida (in English, French and the original Spanish).

6. Complete text of the British Muslim Clerics’ Fatwa against terrorism.

7. Complete text of fatwa of U.S. Muslim Scholars against religious extremism.