AVOID ALL MUSLIM COUNTRIES AND AREAS!

You have rebuked the (Muslim) nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever. Psalm 9:5

Muslim Afghanistan

Muslim Africa

Muslim Albania

Muslim Algeria

Muslim Azerbaijan

Muslim Bahrain

Muslim Bangladesh

Muslim Bosnia

Muslim Brunei

Muslim Burkina Faso

Muslim North Cameroon

Muslim Central African Republic

Muslim Chad

Muslim Chechnya

Muslim West China

Muslim Comoros

Muslim Cyprus

Muslim Dagestan

Muslim Djibouti

Muslim Dubai

Muslim Egypt

Muslim Eritrea

Muslim Ethiopia

Muslim Europe

Muslim Gambia

Muslim Gaza

Muslim Ghana

Muslim Guinea

Muslim Guinea-Bissau

Muslim Ingushetia

Muslim Indonesia

Muslim Iran

Muslim Iraq

Muslim North Ivory Coast

Muslim Jordan

Muslim Kashmir

Muslim Kazakhstan

Muslim Kenya

Muslim Kosovo

Muslim Kuwait

Muslim Kyrgyzstan

Muslim Lebanon

Muslim Liberia

Muslim Libya

Muslim Maldives

Muslim Mali

Muslim Mauritania

Muslim Malaysia

Muslim Morocco

Muslim Niger

Muslim North Nigeria

Muslim Oman

Muslim Pakistan

Muslim Palestine

Muslim South Philippines

Muslim South Russia

Muslim Saudi Arabia

Muslim Senegal

Muslim Sierra Leone

Muslim Somalia

Muslim Sudan

Muslim Syria

Muslim Tajikistan

Muslim South Thailand

Muslim Tunisia

Muslim Turkey

Muslim Turkmenistan

Muslim Uganda

Muslim United Arab Emirates

Muslim Uzbekistan

Muslim Yemen

Muslim Zanzibar

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

The Savage Lands of Islam
24 APRIL 2012 05:40
DANIEL GREENFIELD

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has ruled that ten-year old girls can be married off, because in his words, "Good upbringing makes a girl ready to perform all marital duties at that age." The Mufti, who also recently called for destroying churches in the Arabian Peninsula, is descended from Mohammed Wahhab who gave birth to Wahhabism and his descendants have controlled the Saudi religious establishment, which has given them control of Islam around the world. For all his power and influence, the Mufti is blind and hasn't seen a thing in the last 52 years, an apt metaphor for his entire religion.

Saudi Arabia, the heartland of Islam, still tries and executes witches. What sort of religion can come out of a place that marries off ten-year old girls and murders old women on charges of witchcraft? Exactly the sort of religion you would expect to fly planes into skyscrapers, murder teenage girls for using Facebook and base their entire society on a ladder with Muslim men at the top, Muslim women a few rungs below and everyone else somewhere at the bottom.

The Saudis are not some aberration, they are Islam in its purest and truest form. This is where Islam originated, these are the people whose brutality and cunning spread it across the world, whose clans killed each other, then killed or enslaved minority groups, and then embarked on a wave of conquest that destroyed countless cultures and left behind seeds of hate that linger to this day.

Unlike Egypt or Syria, they were never colonized by European powers and the impact of Ottoman influence was limited. Oil has brought in massive amounts of money, but it has changed very little. There are limousines instead of camels, the slaves have foreign passports, though they are often still slaves, there is still a brisk trade in imported luxury goods, harems for princes and clans staggering under the weight of their indolent progeny.

Religiously, Wahhabism has done its best to recreate the "pure" Islam of its origins. Economically, oil has allowed the Gulf Arabs to prosper without reform or change. And if Mohammed were to ride out of the desert tomorrow, he would have little trouble fitting in, as soon as he developed a taste for porches. Anyone who wants to see the world as it was in Mohammed's day can visit Saudi Arabia and see inbred clans, slave labor, veiled women and thugs enforcing the will of Allah on every corner.

But you don't even need to visit Saudi Arabia because diluted forms of it can be found everywhere from Cairo to London and from Islamabad to Los Angeles. A hundred and fifty years after the United States freed its slaves, Muslim immigrants have brought back slavery, importing young girls to live as their slaves. Ninety years after American women won the right to vote, the ghosts of Islam tread the streets in sheets that hide their personhood and mark them as property.

The religious wars of the desert have not stayed there as the immigration Hegira has brought them here and everywhere. And that is the source of the Clash of Civilizations. Immigration has brought Muslims into closer contact with different cultures and religions who don't defer to them or give Islam the privileged status that its adherents are used to enjoying.

To know the truth of this all you have to do is measure the respective tolerance levels of America  against the average Muslim country. There is no comparison with even the more secular Muslim countries, not in law and not in public attitudes. The sole benefit of the Arab Spring has been to expose the fraud of the moderate Muslim country. Egypt's transition to theocracy reminds us that a moderate Muslim state is a completely unrepresentative dictatorship. The alternative is majority Muslim rule.

The endgame of the Arab Spring and the immigration Hegira is to reduce the entire world to the level of Saudi Arabia. And that means eliminating outside influences in a long march to purification.  Islamists know that they cannot enjoy complete cultural dominance over their own people until their rivals in the West are obliterated. To turn Egypt and Malaysia into Saudi Arabia, and to purify Saudi Arabia, the infidels must be brought down, their religions subjugated and their nations replaced with proper Islamic states.

Islamic leaders are under no illusion that religion is a spiritual matter, they know that it is a numbers game. Wage enough wars, terrorize enough nations, marry enough barely post-pubescent girls and use them to crank out an endless supply of babies, intimidate or trick enough infidels into joining up and you win. That was how Islam took over so much territory and spread around the world, that is how it is doing it again now.

Islam is not a spiritual religion, even its paradise is a materialistic place, a fantasy harem where the physical pleasures of life can be enjoyed without restraint. That gives it an advantage over Judaism and Christianity, just as it gives the Saudis and the Pakistanis an advantage over the Americans and Israelis. There is no angst in Islam, no spiritual seeking and no room for doubt. The marching orders are always clear and individual deeds and thoughts matter less than a willingness to always obey.

Islam came out of the desert and it has never left the desert, instead it has brought the desert with it along with its codes, its deep hatreds, its constant deprivation, its deceptiveness and its nomadic expansionism. Where Islam goes, the desert rises, its tents, its red knives and its insecurities. It was backward even at the time of its birth and it has only become more so, but its single-mindedness is an advantage in an age of effete leftectuals and eurocrats dreaming of a transnational world.

While the leftectuals dream of windmills, the Saudis hire foreigners to pump their oil and then sell it to them, the money goes to fund the Hegira, its mosques in every city from Dublin to Moscow to Buenos Aires and Toronto, the fatwas, the bombs, the websites where the masked faithful hold up AK-47's, the Islamic science courses and sessions on learning to love the Hijab and then the Burqa.

The Saudis just want what everyone wants, for everyone to acknowledge their greatness and live like them. They can hardly be blamed for that when the West spends almost as much money promoting democracy and its own way of life to people who still execute witches and blasphemers. They may be savages, but they fell ass backward into enough black gold to fuel a global religious war, and they're using it cleverly and cunningly to transform our societies and wage war against us even while attending dinners at the White House. It's smoother work than our diplomats are capable of.

You can hardly blame the desert bandits for being what they are, but you can blame the apostles of reason for preaching about a golden age of tolerance and enlightenment from every purloined pulpit and then turning away the heartland to a religion that is nakedly brutal and intolerant at home.

An honest look at Saudi Arabia, at its cruelty, its slaves, its intolerance of other religions and even of women, should be enough to tell even the dimmest Eton or Harvard grad exactly what the West is in for. No matter how many specialists in Muslim tolerance show up at universities, there is the Grand Mufti explaining that Mohammed commanded the eradication of Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula, and therefore there can be no churches allowed there.

Even few apologists for Islam will defend Saudi Arabia for the simple reason that it is indefensible. The media will run the occasional story about the House of Saud's commitment to reform, much as Charles Manson keeps committing to becoming a better person, but even they don't really believe it. Yet even though Saudi Arabia is the heartland of Sunni Islam, and its fortunes shape and control mosques and teachings around the world, they insist on treating Islam and Saudi Arabia as two separate things.

It is brutally telling that the two centers of Islam, Saudi Arabia for the Sunnis and Iran for the Shiites, are genuinely horrifying places. Neither can remotely be associated with tolerance or human rights. It is simple common sense that the spread of Islam will make Western countries more like Saudi Arabia and Iran, rather than less like them.

If Saudi Arabia is not an example that we wish to emulate, then why must we bodily incorporate the religion of Mecca and Medina into London and Los Angeles? What other possible outcome do we imagine that there will be but fewer rights and more violence, dead women, abused children, bomb plots and polygamy?

There are two Islams. The real Islam of the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and an imaginary Islam that exists only in the mosques of air and card table korans of academics apologists and political pundits who have decided that Islam cannot be bad, because no religion can be bad, not even one which kills and kills, it must just be misunderstood.

But then why not tell the Grand Mufti that he has misunderstood his own religion, the religion that he and his ancestors have dedicated themselves to purifying and reforming back to its roots? Telling him that would be a dangerous thing on his own turf, but it would also be foolish. The Grand Mufti's controversial statements contain nothing that Mohammed had not said and can the founder of a religion misunderstand his own teachings?

Islam is savage, intolerant, cruel and expansionistic, not due to a misunderstanding, but because it is what it is and no amount of wishing will make it otherwise. We have opened the door to the desert and a hot wind blows through into the northern climes. Either we can shut the door or get used to living in the Saudi desert.


Another Useless U.N. Conference

By Alyssa A. Lappen
FrontPageMagazine.com

December 21, 2005

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005, I attended an emergency conference at the United Nations' New York Headquarters to discuss "Protection of Religious Sites and Prevention of the Use of Violence to Incite Terrorism/Violence."  It was called by the Ethics Initiatives Consortium (EIC) and the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP).

EIC co-chairs Prof. Amir al Islam and Shoshana Bekerman wrote in their invitation that they hoped “to prevent future tragedies such as the desecration of the Gush Katif synagogues.” Unfortunately, the conference suggested that the United Nations will do nothing to stop murder or desecration of holy sites in the name of religion—for it seems that no one is willing to confront Muslim denial that fanatics use Islam to incite religious hatred and destruction--much less stop the fanatics.

After reading a statement by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of the American Center for Democracy, I listened with dismay to the other presenters—and the responses.

Dr. Ehrenfeld listed many contemporary and historical crimes committed by Muslim states against non-Muslims and their holy sites. She noted: “According to the Dictionary of Islam: conquered by jihad, subjugated people are given three choices: 1) convert, 2) pay a head tax, or 3) die.” She quoted the thirteenth century jurist, Ibn Taymiya, often cited by Osama bin Laden, who wrote that spoils of war “received the name of fay since Allah had taken them away from the infidels in order to restore (afa'a, radda) them to the Muslims.... [The] infidels forfeit their persons and their belongings which they do not use in Allah's service to the faithful believers who serve Allah and unto whom Allah restitutes what is theirs....” [1]

She added that only when infidels surrendered—and only if a clause specifically allowed—could they preserve religious buildings, but modifications and improvements were prohibited. Furthermore, 11th Century jurist Abu Al-Hasan Al Mawardi wrote that non-Muslim dhimmis “are not allowed to erect new synagogues or churches in the territory of Islam and any built are to be demolished without compensation.” [2]

Dr. Ehrenfeld's statement provoked a rebuke from Amir al-Islam (also WCRP Secretary General and a history professor at Medgar Evers College). All religious traditions have committed “atrocities,” he said, hoping to blunt Dr. Ehrenfeld's focus on documented Islamic tradition. He cited the crusades and the Spanish inquisition, for example, and added suggested that we not recall the past but look forward to future reconciliation.

Of course, Christians seldom incite mass murder in the name of religion, and then mostly when provoked. On the other hand, those speaking in Islam's name, quoting the Qur'an, continue to regularly incite mass murder and mayhem. Qatar-based imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi (and his colleagues), for example, often call for “martyr” operations against Israeli civilians, including women and children. Similarly, Palestinian Authority imams routinely incite bloodshed and genocide of Jews. And Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi also seek massive suicide attacks and war against the infidels.

Yet Talal A. Turfe, co-chairman of the National Conference for Community and Justice, argued: “Under Islamic Shari'ah (Divine Law), non-Muslims shall enjoy special rights and protection. Islam makes it clear that Muslims are not allowed under any circumstances to burn holy books of non-Muslims or to abuse them.”

This is not true, historically, or in our own time. In 1101, for example, the great Muslim philosopher Al-Ghazali wrote concerning “protection” of non-Muslims in the Wagjiz:

one must go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year...one may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them...If a person of the Ahl al-Kitab [People of The Book – Jews and Christians, typically] is enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked…One may cut down their trees...One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide...they may steal as much food as they need...

the dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle…Jews, Christians, and Majians must pay the jizya [poll tax on non-Muslims]…on offering up the jizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protruberant bone beneath his ear [i.e., the mandible]… They are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells…their houses may not be higher than the Muslim’s, no matter how low that is. The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddle[-work] is of wood. He may not walk on the good part of the road. They [the dhimmis] have to wear [an identifying] patch [on their clothing], even women, and even in the [public] baths…[dhimmis] must hold their tongue…. [3] (Emphasis added.)

Incredibly, Turfe also claimed that “while the rights of non-Muslim minorities to practice their faith are respected and protected in the Muslim world without question, the same does not hold true today for Muslims in the West.”

In fact, Saudi Arabia alone has spent some $90 billion worldwide since the 1970s to construct mosques and Islamic centers including thousands in the west. By contrast, Saudi Arabia has no open churches, and officials promise never to allow them. The regime even arrests Christians for holding private services at home. Elsewhere in the Gulf, churches are extremely rare. Qatar recently allowed the construction of one church—without a bell, or an exterior cross. Moreover, Muslim attacks regularly destroy churches and massacre Christians in Pakistan, Indonesia, Kosovo, Sudan, Nigeria and elsewhere in the predominantly Muslim parts of the world.

“Terrorism is not a religious but a social phenomenon,” Turfe continued. “[D]epraved groups that have surfaced in the Islamic world misinterpreted Islam.... Their acts of terrorism are the consequence of a social structure rather than religion.... The source of terrorism is ignorance and the solution is knowledge and education.” Turfe also castigated reporters and non-Muslim clerics who “support the invalid Qur'anic interpretations of ... Muslim extremists” and indicate that they are “fundamental in Islam.”

Turfe recommends that the West cease military confrontation with terrorists. Combating terrorists merely intensifies their resolve, he said. According to Turfe, governments have not yet identified “the [political, religious, geographical and economic] issues that lead to terrorism.... The basic cause is the buildup of social stress in the society.” Violence, he said, is generated by “people who are in a state of physical and mental unrest...because they want peace that brings about justice.”

Rabbi Chaim Klein, chairman of the Israel-based International Religious Forum for Peace, spoke very briefly, asking why government and religious leaders cannot stop religious fatwas calling for death and destruction. Similarly, Rabbi Shar Yishuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Haifa and Chairman of the Jewish Delegation to the Vatican in February 2003, noted that holy places become holy as soon as anyone has prayed there. Thus, he objected to the Muslim destruction of the synagogues in Gaza (which Turfe falsely claimed was perpetrated by the Israeli government) and asked why Muslims deny Jews the right to pray on their holiest site, the Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

Not one of at least eight Muslims present even attempted to answer either of the Rabbis' questions.

Aunali Khalfan, a Shi'ite Muslim who runs the www.koranusa.org website and the Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an Islamic bookstore in Elmhurst, N.Y., spoke still more briefly than the Rabbis. Islam is misunderstood, he said. It is the source of the prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus. If other faiths understood this, he said, peace would follow.

Conference participants included representatives of the Holy See and the Philippines mission to the U.N. They agreed to forward a draft declaration to the General Assembly, recommending that it be passed and enforced by governments worldwide. Article one states, “That the use of tenets and principles of religion and the use of places of worship to incite violence against civilians and the environment cannot be justified under any circumstances and constitute violates not only of religious edicts which uphold the sanctity of life, but also of human rights and humanitarian law and depending on the resulting acts constitute “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.” Further articles would require the Secretary General to ensure the declaration's broad dissemination, its implementation and annual follow-up reports.

The U.N. has already passed a host of Declarations to protect human rights, promote dialogue among civilizations, create peace and non-violence for the children of the world, and protect religious sites, among other things. But as Shoshana Bekerman noted, none of these measures “have any teeth.” The Dec. 13 discussion mapped no viable strategy to give the new proposal any teeth, either. 

Like all other U.N. efforts in this sphere, this one seems likely to fail, if for no other reason than the muddled thinking of many of its proponents.

For one thing, most of the Muslim participants hedged and made excuses for hatred or incitement committed in Islam's name. Al-Islam, for example, expressed horror for the 2001 Taliban destruction of the Buddhist Bamiyan treasures, but added that from an Islamic viewpoint, he understood Taliban thinking: they saw the statues as “idols,” which Islam orders destroyed. And while Al-Islam personally disagrees with Yusuf al-Qaradawi's incitements to suicide, he noted that Qaradawi is a “great scholar of Islam,” who recommends suicide killing only when Muslims are “oppressed.” Middle East Muslims have suffered great oppression, al-Islam explained. 

One Shi'ite participant disparaged incitement of hatred in Islam's name. But far from expressing sympathy for the victims, he claimed that incitements and terror hurt Muslims more than anyone else--by reflecting badly on their faith.

Turfe proposed that the conference adopt a project to protect holy sites in Jerusalem. No one, not even the Israeli rabbis, protested. Muslims often incite violence by claiming that Jews plan to destroy Al Aqsa. In reality the only Jerusalem religious site in danger from human destruction is the Temple Mount, which Muslims have excavated, thereby destroying priceless Jewish artifacts and undermining the Mount's foundation itself. In 2003, the Temple Mount wall collapsed in places.

Finally, Turfe suggested that participants call on the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to assist in passing the proposed draft resolution in the General Assembly. Al-Islam heartily approved. The idea is, quite simply, laughable.

Iran has since 1981 led a struggle to modify the U.N.'s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), in the belief that it is a secular interpretation of the Judeo-Christian tradition, which Muslims cannot accept above "the divine law of the country." The OIC has long backed Iran's effort, according to David Littman, the representative of an NGO to the U.N.'s Geneva Office. In 1990, the 19th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers of the OIC adopted the "Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam" (CDHRI); It states in article 24 that it is "subject to the Islamic sharia." Article 25 confirms that sharia "is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of this Declaration."

In other words, nations adopting the CDHRI consider Sharia predominant over all other universal instruments, including the International Bill of Human Rights. Indeed, in February 1992, the Senegalese Muslim secretary-general of the International Commission of Jurists, Adama Dieng, warned that the CDHRI “gravely” threatensthe inter-cultural consensus on which the international human rights instruments are based.” He added, “It introduces, in the name of the defense of human rights an intolerable discrimination against both non-Muslims and women,” and lowers certain essential “legal standards in effect in a number of Muslim countries.” Finally, he said, “It confirms, under cover of the 'Islamic Shari'a (Law)', the legitimacy of practices, such as corporal punishment, which attack the integrity and dignity of the human being.”

Nevertheless, probably under OIC pressure, the U.N. in 1997 included the Cairo Declaration in A Compilation of International Instruments, vol. II (1997), pp. 478-84. Then in March 1998 Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharazi  called for a "revision of the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights." And in August 1998 the CDHRI was cited in the preamble to a Sub-Commission on Human Rights resolution adopted on the situation of women in Afghanistan.

 

In November 1998, with OIC help, U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights Mary Robinson hosted a Geneva seminar on Islamic perspectives on the UDHR. (OIC countries contributed nearly $500,000.) OIC secretary-general Azeddine Laraki stated that 20 elite Muslim experts were invited to “recall” Islam's contribution to human rights, by “ensuring dignity in their life and non-submission to anyone but God, and at asserting their freedom and their right to justice and equality on the basis of the two sources of Islamic Shari'a: Qur'an and Sunna and on Fiqh jurisprudence....” [4]

 

But as we've seen, Shari'a is most unkind to non-Muslims. And the Organization of the Islamic Conference is no friend of religious tolerance.

 

NOTES

[1]Ibn Taymiya, as quoted in Bat Ye'or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: from Jihad to Dhimmitude (1996), p. 297.

[2]Abu Al-Hasan Al Maward, as quoted in Bat Ye'or, Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide (2002), 83-84.

[3] Al-Ghazali (d. 1111). Kitab al-Wagiz fi fiqh madhab al-imam al-Safi’i, Beirut, 1979, pp. 186, 190-91; 199-200; 202-203. [English translation by Dr. Michael Schub, courtesy of Dr. Andrew G. Bostom.]

[4] David G. Littman, “Human Rights and Human Wrongs,” National Review Online, January 19, 2003 and “Islamism Grows Stronger at the United Nations,” Middle East Quarterly, Sept. 1999.

 

Vatican Unease Over Islamic Countries

Clear Talk About Problems Facing Christians

2006-05-27

VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Persecution of Christians in Islamic countries makes the news almost daily, and the Vatican is concerned. On May 17 Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for relations with states in the Vatican's Secretariat of State, spoke to participants in the plenary session of Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers. The May 15-17 meeting focused on the theme of migration and Islamic countries.

After dealing with issues related to migration, Archbishop Lajolo, the equivalent of the Holy See's foreign minister, turned to Islam. The faith factor, he noted, is becoming more and more important in the debate over migration.

He first addressed the issue of migration from Islamic countries. The Holy See, he noted, has often defended the need for migrants to be able to freely follow their religious beliefs. This freedom includes the possibility to practice their religion, or even to change their faith. For their part, migrants should respect the laws and values of the society in which they now live, including the local religious values.

Turning to the conduct of Islamic countries themselves, Archbishop Lajolo warned that we are not faced with a homogeneous situation, but with a religion composed of many different facets. There is, nevertheless, a recent tendency for these governments to promote radical Islamic norms and lifestyles in other nations. He named, in particular, pressures from groups in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

In Asia, until recently, Muslims and non-Muslims lived largely in peace. In the last few years, however, extremist groups have grown and religious minorities are the target of violence. The archbishop also expressed concern over Islamic expansion in Africa, and, to a lesser extent, in Europe.

The problems posed by the radicalization of Islam range from Christians being unjustly subjected to trials by Islamic tribunals, to a lack of freedom in constructing places of worship and obstacles for the practice of faith.

The Vatican representative criticized Islamic countries for ignoring the concept of reciprocity, common in relations among states, when it comes to matters of faith. Islamic countries, he noted, demand religious rights for their citizens who migrate to other countries, but ignore this principle for non-Muslim immigrants present in their own lands.

Strategy detailed

What should the Church do in the face of these difficulties? Archbishop Lajolo outlined recommendations:

-- Faced with Islam the Church is called to live its own identity to the full, without backing down and by taking clear and courageous positions to affirm Christian identity. Radical Islamists, the prelate warned, take advantage of every sign they interpret as weakness.

-- We should also be open to dialogue, whether with individual nations or within the United Nations or other organizations.

-- An underlying problem in dealing with Islamic nations is the lack of separation between religion and the state. Part of the dialogue with Islamic religious and political authorities should be aimed at helping to develop a separation between these two spheres.

-- A particularly sensitive point is that of respect for minorities and for human rights, especially religious rights. The Holy See will continue to speak out at international meetings for the human rights of migrants. For its part the international community should ensure that humanitarian organizations do not unduly pressure recipients of aid to change religion.

-- The Holy See will continue to declare its firm opposition to all attempts to exploit religion by using it to justify terrorism and violence.

-- The protection of Christians in Islamic countries is particularly difficult in the area ranging from Turkey to the Middle East. Solutions must be found for the many Christians who flee their country of residence in search of safety.

-- Muslims who live in predominantly Christian countries should be integrated into the nation.

-- The Catholic media can play an important role in educating Christians, including those living in Islamic countries.

-- The Roman Curia together with bishops' conferences and local churches need to work closely together in these matters, including looking at the way to spread the Gospel in the Islamic world. This is our duty and our right, concluded Archbishop Lajolo.

British view

Muslim-Catholic relations were also examined recently by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. In a speech May 16 at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, the archbishop of Westminster said: "Our mutual understanding is crucial for world peace and human progress, not least in this era when globalization and mass migration have placed Christians and Muslims ever closer to each others, as neighbors in the same European towns and cities."

Dialogue between the two religions must combine both an awareness of what they have in common -- and what profoundly distinguishes them. "Catholics, in order to be good dialogue-partners, must first be firmly rooted in their understanding and love of Catholicism," the cardinal stated, "and I suspect that this is true for Muslims too."

But the main obstacle to this dialogue "is the failure, in a number of Muslim countries, to uphold the principle of religious freedom," he added. "It is essential that Muslims can freely worship in Oxford or London, just as it is essential that Christians can freely worship in Riyadh or Kabul."

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor also called upon Muslims living in Britain to speak out when Christians are denied their rights in Islamic countries. "Where religious rights of minorities are disrespected in the name of Islam, the face of Islam is tarnished elsewhere in the world," he argued.

The cardinal furthermore distinguished between a "twisted religion" that is used to justify hatred and violence, and true religion. True religion, he explained, points us to healing, honor and purity.

Another prominent cardinal also recently expressed some concerns over Islam. Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, spoke on the theme of "Islam and Western Democracies" at a meeting of the organization Legatus in Naples, Florida.

His speech was given on Feb. 2, but only recently posted on the Web site of the Sydney Archdiocese. On the positive side, Cardinal Pell noted the points in common between Christians and Muslims, and he noted the great diversity in how Muslim beliefs are interpreted and lived.

Reciprocity

On the negative side, he observed that the Koran contains many invocations to violence. Moreover, Muslims believe that the Koran comes directly from God, unmediated. This makes it difficult for the Koran to be subjected to the same sort of critical analysis and reflection that has taken place among Christians over the Bible, according to Cardinal Pell. What is needed, the archbishop of Sydney stressed, is dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

The Pope spoke May 15 to the participants gathered in Rome for the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers. Regarding Islam, Benedict XVI observed that in these times Christians are called upon to practice dialogue, but without losing their identity.

This process, the Pontiff clarified, requires reciprocity. The Christian community, for its part, must live the commandment of love taught by Christ, embracing with charity all immigrants. In turn, it is hoped that Christians living in Islamic countries will also be received well, and with respect for their religious identity. Reciprocity, it seems, is increasingly on the Vatican's mind when it comes to relations with the Islamic world.


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