Mon 28th Jul 2014 | Last updated: Mon 28th Jul 2014 at 16:55pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Latest News

Top Muslim scholars announce boycott of dialogue with Vatican

By on Thursday, 20 January 2011

Vatican officials and Muslim scholars at a three-day forum in Rome (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, HO)

Vatican officials and Muslim scholars at a three-day forum in Rome (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, HO)

Top Muslim academics in Egypt have announced they are suspending all dialogue with the Vatican to protest Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks about anti-Christian violence in Egypt.

The decision of Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, president of al-Azhar University in Cairo, and members of the Islamic Research Academy was reported by the website Ahram Online, a site devoted to covering news of interest to Muslims in the Middle East.

Shortly after the news was reported in Cairo, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters that the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue “is collecting the information needed to adequately understand the situation”.

“In any case,” he said, “the line of openness and the desire for dialogue on the part of the pontifical council remain unchanged.”

The news of the dialogue boycott came about a month before the scheduled annual meeting of the Joint Committee for Dialogue of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Permanent Committee of al-Azhar for Dialogue among the Monotheistic Religions. The committee, established in 1998, meets in late February each year.

Ahram Online reported that the decision to suspend the dialogue was made unanimously in response to the Pope’s reference “to the discrimination endured by Coptic Christians in Egypt” after a bombing at a Coptic Orthodox church left 23 people dead.

Sheik el-Tayeb already had criticised the Pope’s remarks as “unacceptable interference in Egypt’s affairs.”

In an address to diplomats, Pope Benedict recalled the December 31 bomb attack on the Coptic church in Alexandria and said the bombing was a sign of “the urgent need for the governments of the region to adopt, in spite of difficulties and dangers, effective measures for the protection of religious minorities”.

The day after the Pope’s speech, the Egyptian government recalled its ambassador to the Vatican, bringing her back to Cairo “for consultation”.

  • James H

    Egyptian arabs can kill, maim, intimidate and oppress all they like, and we are to say NOTHING?? We can have to benefit from dialogue with hypocrites and appeasers.

    ‘Show me what Mohammad brought that was new, and I will show you things evil and inhuman – such as his command to spread by the sword the faith that he taught.’

  • James H

    Sorry, that should be ‘no benefit from…;

  • Alejandro

    Good! Let’s dialogue first with our own Orthodox brothers, Muslims are too divided and need to figure themselves out before they can talk to anyone about anything. What we do need to do is keep dialogue with Western Nations so they pressure Islamic nations to allow for religious freedom. I respect them for defending their religion and they should be able to keep Islam as the state religion is that is what people want, but religious minorities, especially ones native to the region, should be respected.

  • Linus

    I never could understand what they hoped to gain by talking too these boobs. The whole enterprize is futile. God will eventually deal with them-as He will with us.

  • JMarti

    Typical…very typical for Muslims. It goes to show how Islamic governments can’t (or don’t want to) control the radicals. The fact that our Holy Father spoke out against Christian persecution brings “negative light” to the Islamic world.

  • Warren

    The Egyptians, conscious that the attacks of recent days were likely perpetrated by foreign factions, are probably just attempting to project strength in the face of mounting pressure by fundamentalist factions to rid Egypt of any non-muslims. However, the Egyptian government’s attempt to deflect criticism by accusing the Vatican of interfering with internal matters is merely a smoke screen which confirms Egypt’s own impotence, i.e., their inability to control violence and unwillingness to protect christians. The Egyptian government loses on three fronts: they fail to appease their own radical muslim factions; they allow the marginalization and murder of innocent christians; and they alienate themselves from the community of nations by cutting off dialogue with a state, i.e., the Vatican, which represents reason, dialogue and justice.

  • Karmenu of Malta

    To me the islamic stance sounds very much like saying: we can keep up a dialogue provided you do not protest when I kick you.

  • louella

    What worries me is that the Vatican has no leverage….it seems. What happens if Muslim nations decide to ignore all pleas for justice and equality for Christians…..what then?! I don’t think the Vatican has any more options….now that there is no Christendom and all is secular! And secular nations seem to be more worried about guarding and protecting Islam in the West ……than the plight of Christians in the Middle East!

    Or maybe the Vatican has a few secret strategies and more power than we think. The Pope will need all the leadership skills and shrewdness he has. May God guide him!

  • barbara

    Pope Benedict makes a statement of TRUTH and FACT regarding anti-Christian violence in Egypt and the reaction of Muslim Scholars is to boycott dialogue with the Vatican?!?! Outrageous. If this is the reaction of Scholars, men who are supposed to be EDUCATED, what hope do we have of ever achieving a meeting of minds? Their complete over-reaction is ominous.

  • sam

    The headline is misleading. It claims “TOP MUSLIM SCHOLARS…” w/o delineating that it has to do w/EGYPTIAN SCHOLARS whom we already know are upset w/Vatican re the above. This does not mean ALL MUSLIM SCHOLARS as your headline would lead to some to believe. Stop such poor journalistic reporting.

  • Geri

    I am saddened by this news because the hope for dialogue with the Muslims lay solildly with the academics and scholars This is a step backward in efforts to communicate.

  • AnthonyPatrick

    After all, the secular press never plays fast and loose with ambiguity where the Vatican, or top Catholics, are concerned, does it, Sam? Methinks you protest much too much to be taken seriously by anybody other than one whose similarly transparent agenda depends so heavily on so many capital letters. You are, inadvertently, quite right, however: it does not mean ‘All Muslim scholars’ as you would like to pretend others are in such danger of thinking. The first line of the story makes this palpably clear to all except those whose only concern is headlines. Or is that what you mean by ‘journalistic’?(Incidently, they are top Muslim scholars.)

  • Rjr1632

    I await the shocking display of patience by the Vatican. It is becoming difficult to continue to pray for these folks. God bless us all. Ray in Connecticut

  • GONZALO PALACIOS

    Regarding Barbara’s comment, I would only substitute her word “over-reaction” with “normal and Q’ram-based”. Keep praying for the folowers of the prophet. Gonzalo Palacios

  • Walt Mateja, Ph.D.

    From the Jerusalem Post… date today 01/18/2011 here is the link:

    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=203876

    IN EGYPT, an extraordinarily important fatwa has been issued by Dr. Imad Mustafa, of al-Azhar University, the world’s most important Islamic university.

    He began by stating the well-known doctrine of “defensive jihad,” that is Muslims must go to war against infidels who attack them. Of course, the word “attack” is often spread rather thinly to justify aggression.

    But now Mustafa has publicly and explicitly come up with a new concept, one that up until now was supposedly restricted to groups like al-Qaida: “Then there is another type of fighting against the non- Muslims known as offensive jihad… which is to pursue the infidels into their own land without any aggression [on their part]…

    “Two schools [of Islamic jurisprudence] have ruled that offensive jihad is permissible in order to secure Islam’s border, to extend God’s religion to people in cases where the governments do not allow it, such as the Pharaoh did with the children of Israel, and to remove every religion but Islam from the Arabian peninsula.”

    But in the current context, this means that it is permissible to wage jihad against a country if anything “necessary” to Islam according to (hard-line) clerics’ interpretations is blocked (polygamy, child marriage, special privileges at work places, building mosques anywhere, permitting the wearing of head scarves or burkas).

    In practice, according to this doctrine, then, any non-Muslim can be attacked anywhere. Thus, mainstream, powerful clerics are now calling for a seventhcentury- style jihad against non-Muslim lands even if the victims cannot be accused of attacking Muslimruled lands. Merely to “extend God’s religion” to others is a sufficient motive. Mustafa says that two of Islam’s main schools have always endorsed offensive jihad, but I doubt if he would have made that argument ten or 20 years ago.

  • Walt Mateja, Ph.D.

    Sorry but the link got cut in my previous post, let’s try again.

    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=203876

  • Victoredwinsj

    It is unfortunate that the the Muslim academics in Egypt have suspended their dialogue with the Vatican over Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks on anti-Christian violence in Egypt calling it as “unacceptable interference in Egypt’s affairs”. Pope Benedict XVI as the leader of the Catholic Church in his remarks condemned violence, expressed his closeness to suffering Christians and highlighted the concern for the religious freedom of Christian minorities. Dialogue should be founded on human dignity, mutual respect and appreciation for one another’s beliefs, concern for justice. The Egyptian scholars seem to over look the fundamental elements of dialogue in their quick reaction. Dialogue should be kept alive in critical moments. Vatican and Al-Azhar should initiate and keep alive critical dialogue that promotes Justice and religious freedom in Egypt and everywhere.

    Victor Edwin

  • Jan Koprda

    Pity for them. What else any sensible person could say when educated men, scholars, are even afraid to discuss?
    May God have mercy with them.

  • Auricularis

    Wait a minute! Wasn’t William Oddie criticising us traditionalists for objecting to ecumenical jamborees such as Assisi with these very sort of people? And now look what happens?

    Clearly the project of Paul VI has failed… miserably.

  • Auricularis

    Muslims “Scholars” are in effect apologists for Islamic terrorism and spread of Islam by the sword. If anything this should illustrate how silly the Vatican officials were, to even think they could have a reasonable discussion with these barbaric people in the first place.

  • kendallpeak

    A dialogue with Islam is a dialogue with a “religion” started by a false prophet. Why bother?

  • Concerned

    It was the catholic church that gave power to approach the Pope in World War 2-they actually worked together on the Holocaust. This is proof that they have power within the church-the Pope is powerful-yet they approach him with an “it’s none of your business” attitude. Why they feel they have enough power to do this should be everyone’s question.

  • Ratbag

    Spot on, Warren, SPOT ON!!!!!

    What on earth did these people expect? The Holy Father keep quiet whilst Christians are being slaughtered? Well, TOUGH!!!! The Pope was and is absoloutely RIGHT to speak out. Good on him for his courageous stand!

    He’s speaking out whilst other Western leaders are doing sweet-puff-all for Christians suffering and dying brutally in similar situations around the world, which we only read about in the Catholic press and through the sterling efforts of Aid To The Church In Need – not on the liberal Western media!

    It is high time the West learned which side its bread is buttered…before it’s too late.

  • Ann

    Al-Azhar’s “Center of Dialogue” has decided to “suspend all dialogue”.
    No irony there!!

  • http://catholicdefender2000.blogspot.com/ Catholic Defender

    So they are playing here as the victims. Maybe they are just kidding. Aren’t they?

  • bkovacs

    The Region: Revolutions, walk-outs and fatwas
    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=203876

  • John

    nor surprise

  • louella

    I believe the Secular West is secretly gearing up for an Islamic future……..

  • Thomas

    So what? Who needs to dialogue with buzzard hawks holding an olive branch in a bloody beak? These people have fought against Catholicism and Orthodoxy from the beginning, why should we try to have a “feel-good kumbaya session of cosmic understanding” or whatever BS they’re pushing today? It’s obvious what their agenda is: we compromise, they take. That’s it. To hell with them.

  • Rjr1632

    Were I a Muslim, I would be ashamed. Were I an Egyptian, I would be ashamed. Thanks to the ever merciful God I am neither. Raybo

  • paulsays

    Think of your argogance? The only evidence you have of Jesus not simply being a prophet is ‘faith’, you have just as little evidence as Muslims do of a supernatural God. Ironic isn’t it the spiteful hate, why the Pope is trying to build bridges.

  • David

    Never trust a muslim.

  • lowcarb

    ‘Little evidence’?

    Not so. There have been apparitions of the blessed Mother Mary down through the years, testifying to the divinity of Jesus. There is much testimony, available on the internet, of persons being visited by Jesus, receiving messages from Him. Check it out on Google video, search for 23 minutes in Hell, or Howard Storm’s interview with Mary Lou McCall, or Mary Baxter’s testimony. There is the information supplied by the Ramala teachers: a group of discarnate spiritual masters who gave a series of lectures during the 70′s and 80′s. There is the testimony of spiritual organisations such as The White Eagle Lodge. There is the information coming out of the internet site of blunt fm. How much more do you need.

  • Ratbag

    Spot on, louella.

    Boy, are these secularists gonna regret it when it happens- BIG STYLE!

    I hope these secularists don’t say that WE didn’t tell them so…

  • Ratbag

    In other words, they are a load of bullies!

    Those who can, DO. Those who can’t BULLY!

    ‘know what I’m saying?

  • Ratbag

    Here, here, sam! TOP MUSLIM SCHOLARS????

    … My – !!!!!

    They take the hump just because The Holy Father has spoken up. Oooh errr!

    Let these no-marks throw their teddies out of the pram… and let them get out of the pram to pick up the teddies themselves. We should show tough love here!

  • Johnny

    what a pity! academics should in a sense be more broad minded and intellectual!!

  • l.theuma

    It’s a pity that top Muslim scholars are behaving like unmature children. Is such behavior enviseged in the the Qu’ran? I hope it is not so for otherwise we may deem islam a threat to the world..

  • Wolfganmg Munster Schnoozle

    We live by faith alone and do not require ‘evidence’ as proof of the existence of God or his Son.

  • Anonymous

    ‘we’ I am Catholic myself thank you very much. All I am saying is I find kendallpeak’s comment remarkably arrogant, because obviously Muslims rely on faith also in order to believe in the same way as us. They can equally call Jesus as not God in the same way as kendallpeak is can call muhammad a false prophet.

  • Wordsworth says

    Unfortunately for Muslims, i would argue that the strength of their evidence is a lot less than that of Christians. For Muslims, the strength of their argument is based around dictations given to one person by a single Supernatural entity. The main theme being that God had no son. Christians however have 100′s of years of Historical writings written by numerous individuals from the Old Testament stating that God DOES have a son and he is going to break into history at a pre ordained time. The New Testament is the confirmation of the Old with the declaration that God is now with us in the person of his Son. As you will be aware we have eyewitness accounts of this event from the writings of the Apostles and the Holy Spirit as the guarentee through the ages that everything you have read is correct and fully accurate. He (the Holy Spirit) still performs wonders, healings and the miraculous today like he did at the begining of the Church. So as for us basing our faith on mere faith alone, i would argue that it is based on the firm foundations of the apostles (who declared that Jesus was the Son of God) and eyewitnessess to events predicted 100′s of years before their actual furfillment, AND we have the continued witness of the Holy Spirit in those who believe. I do not believe the muslim can base his faith on anything other than one mans account.
    And as a final point, the declaration that God has no Son was made about 600 years after the Church had been saying simply the opposite. The Messenger of the Muslims faith (the Angel Gabriel), was the same angel who had declared to Mary that she was about to give birth to the Son of the Most High. Has the Angel Gabriel truely defected from the Christian Gospel? No, this is not about Faith, its about the Devil using Half truths in order to Destroy the plan of God the Father’s only means of Salvation for a broken world. Took him 600 years though.
    Whilst we may not like to say that there is a right and a wrong and that some people are ultimately totally wrong in regards to whom they consider a prophet, sometimes, in order for people to be saved, we have to say the things that are politically correct.
    In Love brother

  • Anonymous

    With God I believe it is quite wrong to talk about evidence, because in terms of scientific proof it is very tenuous. No doubt you belive in God based on faith and not on evidence?, as most Christians do.
    Lets talk in terms of faith, and in turn not disrespect other religions based on their own faith, as this makes us hypocrits.

  • Wordsworth in reply to paul

    Paul, thanks for your comments and yes you are right i believe in God and that he exists as i am sure you do from your comments. The point i am making is that the evidence that i base my faith on, such as the creation around me that shouts out that there is a Creator, the life on our planet and the complexity of it and the Scriptures that we have; Witnessed to by the Holy Spirit is the Evidence that i base my Faith on. Faith comes from hearing and hearing the Word of God. (I am not preaching to you here only using it to re enforce my statement). Faith did not come first, it was creation and the evidence within the bible that i read that enabled me to make a connection to and with the Faith that enables me to believe what i have read (in regard to scripture) and declare my belief in the Trinity.
    To use the term Scientific proof in regards to ‘evidence’ i would argue with you that you are correct. Scientific proof is something that is repeatable and testable again and again. (although maybe be could compare the life of an individual before and after conversion to make a comparison)? We should not use terms such as that.
    Please not that I am not disrespecting the faith of the muslims, just challenging it. i just happen to think that when you compare the evidence that their faith is based on then either we or they are wrong. In the final arguement there is no middle ground that i can see.
    This is not to say that God doesnt love them nor that we shouldnt. Of course we should. All faiths should be tested on the strengths of what people base it on. Some evidence regardless how fine sounding can still turn out to be false. Jesus himself said that He is the way the truth and the life and that no one can come through the Father unless they go through him, we need to challenge their faith as the consequences of them dieing apart from Christ is eternal seperation from God. Faith that is ultimately based on a delusion is not the same as Faith that is based on Truth. We may all have a real solid faith in Santa Claus (sorry if this is a crude example) but ultimately it is misplaced. True Faith based on fact must be different from True Faith based on a Myth, if not in the passion it is held with, the final analyst of where it comes from. Kendallpeak whilst being pretty hard in the way he says it is ultimately correct if Jesus is correct. The Muslim faith is wrong. That said dialog and discussion and tolerence is definately the way ahead. I look forward to hearing your views paul. God Bless

  • Anonymous

    As most people are aware, Islam is not simply a ‘religion’, but a theological system for ordering all aspects of life for people, whether they like it or not. Naturally, the various cultures associated with it, are influenced in ways not always compatible with science, logic, or rational thought. As a man of medicine & science; I was stunned at the results of a 2010 survey in academic Egypt that revealed the fact that a significant number of medical students & physicians in general practice, believe that masturbation can impair vision or even induce blindness.

  • DBMcGinnity

    A dialogue with Islam is a dialogue with a human beings made in the image of God. That is why I would bother. Islam respects Jesus as a prophet and devotes a whole chapter of the Koran to Mary which is more than the new testament does. What the hell good is a prophet of any kind, good or bad, true of false when five eights of the world live with the misery of hunger, disease, and sexual exploitation. What about the church’s corporal works of mercy”? Dialogue of any kind is worthless when it is only a veneer of God.

  • MrTaubah

    kendal, you say ‘false prophet”. Have you got any evidence? i have got many evidences that He was a God’s Messanger. Miracles, The Coran, the Unity of God and 1500 years after 2 billion muslim people in the world.

  • http://twitter.com/PJTPOOAM Thomas Poovathinkal

    JESUS USED DIALOGUE (TAKE THE ONE FOR EXAMPLE WITH THE SAMARITAN WOMAN) TO

    CARRY ON THE WORK OF GOD’S  SELF REVELATION. SO DIALOGUE IS VALID FOR THOSE WHO

    ARE FIT AND EQUIPPED FOR IT.

    FOR ORGANISED  AND RITUALISED CHRISTIANITY IT IS ONLY A  TIME PASS OR A PRETENCE OR

    MAY BE AN EXERCISE IN CLEVERNESS.

    WHY NOT REPLACE IT WITH PROCLAMATION? BUT THEN THIS IS POSSIBLE ONLY FOR  THOSE

    WHO ARE TRUE  APOSTLES.

    Thomas Poovathinkal

  • http://twitter.com/PJTPOOAM Thomas Poovathinkal

    ALL ORGANISED RELIGIONS ARE MORE OR LESS ABSOLUTE SLAVE SYSTEMS; SOME ARE

    MORE  SO,  OTHERS LESS. THEY ARE MOSTLY POLITICAL ENTITIES ON MIND AND SOUL LEVEL.

    THE LEADERS OF THESE RELIGIONS ARE THE MINI GODS WHO CONTROL THE PEOPLE FOR

    THEIR OWN INTEREST AND  DESTROY PEACE IN THE WORLD.

     

    HOW MUCH OF HUMAN RIGHTS ARE  ACTIVELY PRACTISED THERE IN THESE ORGANISED

    RELIGIONS? HOW MUCH DO THEY VALUE SEEKING OF  TRUTH,  QUESTIONING AND

    COMPARISONS? EXPRESSION OF FREEDOM AND EQUALITY? DO THEY PRESENT ANYTHING BY

    WAY OF IDENTIFIABLE, TESTABLE AND VARIFIABLE GOD-EXPERIENCE?

    IS NOT BRAINWASING SO COMMON AMONG ALL THESE RELIGIONS?

    MORE OF GOD THE TRUE ONE AND LESS OF RELIGIONS FOR LOVERS OF TRUTH IN THE WORLD!

    IN-SPITE OF ALL THESE RELIGIONS IF THERE IS SOME LIGHT IN THE WORLD, IT IS BECAUSE  OF

    THE GOODNESS OF TRUE SEEKERS. THEY CROSS OVER REJECTING THE WORTHLESS. THIS

    CROSSING OVER, WORTHLESS AND TRUTHLESS RELIGIONS DO NOT TOLERATE.

    NOBODY NEED TO PROMOTE ANY RELIGION, LET US ALL PROMOTE GOD THE TRUE ONE. FOR

    THIS WE NEED TO SEEK SPIRITUALLY.