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Muslim leaders write to Pope asking interfaith understanding

 
 
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 02:48 am
They claim world peace and the future of mankind depends on a much better understanding between Christians/Jews and Muslims.


But is it a useless gesture? Or highly significant, even inspirational? Or maybe rank hypocrisy?

What do you think? I've given a few options in the poll
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 3,964 • Replies: 82
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smorgs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 03:03 am
'Spose it can do no harm...

It's got to start somewhere.

x
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Doowop
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 03:08 am
Maybe the muslim leaders should reach out to their fundamentalists first, and get a little "interfaith understanding" into them, before turning to the leaders of other religions.
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tinygiraffe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 03:45 am
reach out to fundamentalists? oh that works REALLY WELL for liberal christians trying to "reach out" to knuckle-draggers like pat robertson, who howl and jump up and down at the big red button like it's the monolith in 2001: a space odyssey.

getting real for a moment, the future probably does depend on this sort of thing, but the pope? they should have tried it with the last one, not one who's got his head so far up his tradition that he thinks the best thing that could happen to our future would be going back to latin. good luck to them. there are christians they can actually talk to, but benedict? ha!
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 04:00 am
Forgot to add that my spy in the Vatican has passed on to me a copy of the letter. It might help to read it before voting.

Dear Pope and assorted Christian and Jewish leaders,

You have to understand just how important religion is to us Muslims. Everywhere we go we see examples of Christians and Jews disrespecting our faith. For centuries you have invaded Muslim lands and waged war against us. In the last century you imposed corrupt leaders upon us and exploited our land's natural resources. But we are by nature a tolerant people. We have always accepted other people of the Book in our lands. However when our lands are desecrated by the feet of the infidel, when the holy city of Al Quds is occupied by Zionist imperialists, we can no longer tolerate the intolerable. This is why many of our people wish harm to you and to see the great powers of western decadence brought low. There is only one God, and hence only one monotheism, Islam. Thus those who believe in polytheism or trinitarianism are by definition wrong. We appeal to you to understand this and to respect the one true religion of Islam.

Yours sincerely 138 Muslim Leaders.

ps Apologies for remaining anonymous but if the fanatics find out we've been writing to you they will want to kill us as well as you.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

and my ultra efficient spy has passed on a draft of the reply

Dear 138 Muslim Leaders

Thanks for the letter. Sadly it shows just where our differences lie. We dont take things half as seriously as you do. Perhaps some individual Christians and Jews take matters of theology very much to heart, but we have moved beyond that. We really haven't a clue about the nature of divinity, and neither for that matter have you. Or rather we have and you have but its no better than anyone else's. Of course religion used to be very important, but it was only really an instrument of social control. Kings and religion went together. Now we've separated church and state we can see that religion is a private matter, and as such individuals can believe pretty much anything they want within the secular law. Thats a lesson Islam has yet to learn.

Regarding the desecration of Muslim holy lands, we agree it has been a bit over the top sometimes. But you must understand how important oil is to us and the western economies. It supports our high standard of living and enables people like us to live very well indeed whilst doing absolutely nothing constructive whatsoever. Oil is the life blood of industial economy. Moreover it was Western investment and our technology which has been so successful in exploiting it. Whilst we have paid vast sums in royalties to Muslim rulers, you cant blame Jews or Christians if they chose to waste the money on the armaments we supply. Moreover if it was left to a few bedouins trading camels and eating sheeps eyeballs, the oil would still be underground and we would all be a lot poorer. As for the Jews, they have a particular attachment to Jerusalem. And they've not been treated well in the recent past so we think its perfectly fine they should have their own small country there...it was hardly a thriving part of the world when it stagnated under Muslim rule.

So to sum up we say relax, chill out a bit. Maybe have a beer or two at Eid time. Above all bear in mind that if we have been over the top in invading Muslim land its nothing to do with giving offence to Islam. Its got nothing whatsoever to do with religion. If a some Muslims have got killed in the process, remember its nothing personal simply that they got in the way of our exploitation of oil and gas.

your sincerely The Pope and assorted Jewish and Christian Leaders.

ps. If you tell us where bin Laden and al Qaida hang out these days, we can take them out before they get to you. Have a good one. Cool
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smorgs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 04:03 am
Excellent post, stevie.

x
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 04:12 am
thanks smorgshious hope you're feeling better today
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smorgs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 04:15 am
I'm off sick. But offers of Vicks/chest rubbing have started to come in, so that's cheered me up.

x
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 04:20 am
smorgs wrote:
I'm off sick. But offers of Vicks/chest rubbing have started to come in, so that's cheered me up.

x
oh well keep your pecker up old gal. Have a cream cake. Did you vote btw. I said it was totally irrelevant.
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smorgs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 04:26 am
Yep, sure did!

Never voted before, so I thought I would try it out.

Why put it there then? Tut, honestly, men are contrary buggers, at times.

x
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 06:52 am
The original idea behind this (presenetd today by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Georgetown University) isn't that bad at all, I think.

(The letter isn't just addressed to the Pope but to 25 other Christian leaders as well ... and the text seems to be slightly diffrent to the one quoted here.)

The Guardian:

Quote:
[...]
Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, have been sent copies of the document, which focuses on the shared beliefs of the religions, such as the worship of one god, and the requirement to live in peace with one's neighbours.

The letter says: "Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world's population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians."

The 29-page document argues that the basis for this understanding can be found in the religions' common principles: "Love of the One God, and love of the neighbour."

Supporting their argument with quotations from both the Bible and the Koran, the signatories say that Mohammed was told the same truths that had already been revealed to previous Christian and Jewish prophets, including Jesus.

But the scholars also stress that there is more at stake than "polite ecumenical dialogue" between religious leaders.

"With the terrible weaponry of the modern world; with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world's inhabitants. Thus our common future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake," the letter says.

The letter says that the Koran entreats Muslims to treat Christians and Jews with particular friendship - but it also warns against aggression from Christians.

"We say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them-so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes," it says.

[...]
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 06:53 am
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

On the Occasion of the Eid al-Fitr al-Mubarak 1428 A.H. / October 13th 2007 C.E., and on
the One Year Anniversary of the Open Letter of 38 Muslim Scholars to H.H. Pope Benedict XVI,

An Open Letter and Call from Muslim Religious Leaders to:


His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,
His All-Holiness Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople, New Rome,
His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa,
His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem,
His Beatitude Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia,
His Beatitude Pavle, Patriarch of Belgrade and Serbia,
His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania,
His Beatitude Maxim, Patriarch of Bulgaria,
His Beatitude Ilia II, Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia,
His Beatitude Chrisostomos, Archbishop of Cyprus,
His Beatitude Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece,
His Beatitude Sawa, Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland,
His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Duerres and All Albania,
His Beatitude Christoforos, Metropolitan of the Czech and Slovak Republics,
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the
Apostolic Throne of St. Mark,
His Beatitude Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians,
His Beatitude Ignatius Zakka I, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Supreme Head of the
Universal Syrian Orthodox Church,
His Holiness Mar Thoma Didymos I, Catholicos of the East on the Apostolic Throne of St.
Thomas and the Malankara Metropolitan,
His Holiness Abune Paulos, Fifth Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Echege of the See of
St. Tekle Haymanot, Archbishop of Axium,
His Beatitude Mar Dinkha IV, Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of
the East,
The Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury,
Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and
President of the Lutheran World Federation,
Rev. George H. Freeman, General Secretary, World Methodist Council,
Rev. David Coffey, President of the Baptist World Alliance,
Rev. Setri Nyomi, General Secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches,
Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, General Secretary, World Council of Churches,
And Leaders of Christian Churches, everywhereÂ….
Complete (29 pages) document
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Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 07:44 am
I do not know anything about the motives of the muslim leaders. But if understanding is the true aim I think they're doing something great. Alas, I have such a low opinion of christianity (considering that the vatican keep historical records hidden to preserve their own power) that I do not think it will amend much.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 09:49 am
well done Walter for digging out the original letter. If I knew it was published on the web I wouldnt have bothered paying my informant in the Vatican.. Sad

My point is simply that this is not a religious war. Nor is an attempt at inter faith dialogue of any relevance. This is a war about territory resources power and control...just like most other wars.
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stlstrike3
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 01:23 pm
I do like seeing this kind of effort. But it's inherently problematic.

Religion has been under a sufficient-enough microscope for the individual faiths to realize they can't get away with burning down villages, killing the men/boys and raping the women anymore. "Because the Bible says so" just isn't a good enough reason to do that kind of thing anymore (but is vastly more sufficient to condemn homosexuality). They have to put on a facade of civility now in order to not turn everyone off before they're brainwashed.

That having been said, I think a lot of INNATE HUMAN DECENCY (which is derived from evolutionary sources) is at odds with the dogma of various faiths. So religious leaders realize they HAVE to do SOMETHING to antidote the barbarism of the bible/hadith/koran.

The problem is, unless the Pope says, "Everyone, tear our pages 18-218 from your bibles.... we can't burn alive those who don't believe in jesus anymore", they don't have a leg to stand on when a fundamentalist says, "But Page 183 of the bible says I can stone my wife's face in if shes considers another religion."

I don't understand when religious leaders in the middle will realize that the moment they start cherrypicking from their holybooks, they discredit the whole enterprise as divine.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Oct, 2007 01:36 pm
Quote:
cherry picking their holy bollocks


Laughing


oops sorry typo
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Oct, 2007 10:30 am
Every morning at about 7.45 there is a pseudo-religious slot on BBC radio 4 called Thought for the Day. It drives me insane. I wasnt quick enough to turn it off this morning. It was a Sikh explaining how God doesn't bother about which religion you belong to.

We get equally banal sentiments from the moderate Muslims Jews Hindus and Christians, but only those strictly on message. No criticising other faiths. No straying into overtly political areas.

Yes I think, and they have been giving the same message of brotherly love and mutual understanding for thousands of years

not
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tinygiraffe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Oct, 2007 10:45 am
Quote:
The problem is, unless the Pope says, "Everyone, tear our pages 18-218 from your bibles.... we can't burn alive those who don't believe in jesus anymore", they don't have a leg to stand on when a fundamentalist says, "But Page 183 of the bible says I can stone my wife's face in if shes considers another religion."


there is another way.

Quote:
I don't understand when religious leaders in the middle will realize that the moment they start cherrypicking from their holybooks, they discredit the whole enterprise as divine.


it discredits fundamentalism, but resolving dogma with a progressive agenda is as simple as going back to the roots of any faith. it's not abandon, it's understanding. for those religions or sects which have become more progressive and abandoned bloodier roots, no return is necessary.

all that is needed is a realization of metaphor, and the exchange of "one true faith" as an exclusive phrase for use as an umbrella term. islam was meant to become an umbrella religion for jews and christians, which was a good idea except that it demanded everyone convert to it. better to let jews be jews and christians be christians, but have them working together, no matter how much they would have to scrutinize their faith. they have no trouble "adapting" religion to justify more blood, it can justify peace just as easily if the will is there.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Oct, 2007 10:57 am
tinygiraffe wrote:
.... islam was meant to become an umbrella religion for jews and christians...
fascinating. Where do you get this stuff from?
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tinygiraffe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Oct, 2007 11:43 am
i read that at least ten years ago, i'll see if i can find new mention of it.

in the meantime, here are a couple of quotes from the wikipedia article on islam that sound familar, if they deviate (a little) from what i just implied:

the second paragraph of the islam article wrote:
They do not regard Muhammad as the founder of a new religion, but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. Islamic tradition holds that Judaism and Christianity distorted the messages of these prophets over time either in interpretation, in text, or both.


Quote:
Islamic texts depict Judaism and Christianity as prophetic successor traditions to the teachings of Abraham. The Qur'an calls Jews and Christians "People of the Book" (ahl al-kitāb), and distinguishes them from polytheists.


then there is this:

Quote:
Islamic law divides non-Muslims into several categories, depending on their relation with the Islamic state. Christians and Jews who live under Islamic rule are known as dhimmis. Dhimmis must pay tribute (jizya) to the Islamic state, and as such are considered "protected peoples." Historically, dhimmis enjoyed a measure of communal autonomy under their own religious leaders, but were subject to legal, social and religious restrictions as well as humiliating regulations meant to highlight the inferiority of non-Muslim subjects.


while i don't expect you to read that in its entirety, its posted here as a contradiction of what i said- that is, the part where i said they are "expected" to convert.

the above would suggest they're not even expected to. you can remain jew or christian, and still be part of islam as a dhimmi, but you're considered lesser. so the term "expectation" is still partially legitimate in my opinion.

i don't think this is "good enough," and i'm not proponent of islam. i'm a proponent of religious and interfaith understanding, and it has to start somewhere. religious fanatics do the effort no favors, except to expose the problems we have in front of us. i see fanaticism as a symptom of human imperfection, and the dangers of taking religion to seriously, but not of religion itself.

people could take anything too seriously, even logic, but right now god is the thing that appeals to most people that need something amorphous to justify evil. religion doesn't kill people, bloodthirsty nutjobs do. but yeah, religion helps- wherever there is enough room for misunderstanding.
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