February 28, 2014
The pope’s idea: to be accompanied by a representative from each monotheistic religion during his visit in May to the Holy Land
Pope Francis wants to be accompanied by a leading Jewish person and one Muslim on his next trip to the Holy Land. He confirmed this during a meeting with a delegation of interfaith Argentines whom he received at his residence yesterday afternoon. However, the Pope’s hope could be difficult since his visit to the Middle East will coincide with the start of week for Jews and more importantly the day of rest.
“He really has a lot of expectations for this trip: it will be a short trip and he has announced that he will be accompanied by a Jewish person and a Muslim,” the priest Guillermo Marcó told Vatican Insider, one of the presidents of the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue in Argentina.
The idea, however, may pose practical difficulties. Of course, there are alternatives but, according to the announcement, the Pope’s trip will begin Saturday, May 24, the day when Jews reduce their activities in accordance with the precepts of their faith.
One of the rabbis closer to Pope Francis is Abraham Skorka who resides in Buenos Aires. Both have said they want to complete a journey to the Holy Land. But, in his last visit to Rome, Skorka was also very cautious about saying he would accompany the Pope, declaring “there is still nothing definitive.” The only way in which he could participate in the trip with the Pope is if he arrived earlier.
The Pope will stay in the Middle East for three days, visiting Jordan, Israel and Palestine. The Pope walks the path of Paul VI, the first pope in history to return to the land of Jesus (fifty years ago: between 4 and 6 January 1964). After Paul VI, John Paul II (20 to 26 March 2000) and Benedict XVI (8 to 15 May 2009) would also visit the Holy Land.
Vatican Insider, La Stampa: http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/nel-mondo/dettaglio-articolo/articolo/medio-oriente-middle-east-medio-oriente-32401/
During the past few days, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Druze and greek-orthodox organized moments of prayer and initiatives to commemorate Benedict XVI as they all await the election the new Successor. Some communities even asked Muslims to express their opinion of Pope Benedict XVI. Many cited the Regensburg speech, in which, according to this article, the Pope’s words were misunderstood.
From the people who helped bring you the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy come new allegations of Muslim “infiltration” linked to an organization hired to certify Campbell’s soup.
Conservative blogger Pamela Geller, who helped build opposition to a proposed Islamic center near the site of the 9/11 attacks, has begun a grassroots protest against the Campbell Soup Company over the group that it uses to label Halal certain varieties of soup for sale in Canada
Geller says she doesn’t oppose the company’s decision to label soups that conform to Islamic dietary rules, but says the company has employed a Muslim organization with terrorist ties to oversee the certification.
“I have no problem with labeling things Halal,” Geller, who founded “Stop Islamization of America”, told ABCNews.com. “The problem is that they went to [the Islamic Society of North America] for their designation, a named a co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial.”
ISNA was named an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a 2007 federal terror trial brought against the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim charity located in Texas, which was convicted of funneling more than $12 million to Palestinian terror group Hamas.
In a statement, ISNA acknowledged being named a co-conspirator in the 2007 trial, but added, “the government admitted that its labeling of ISNA many years ago was nothing more than a legal tactic. Indeed, ISNA now has a very positive working relationship with the federal government.”
Two former leaders of the Texas-based Holy Land foundation were sentenced to 65 years in jail for supporting Palestinian militants. Jurors returned guilty verdicts on 108 charges of providing material support to terrorists, money laundering, and tax fraud. “These sentences should serve as a strong warning to anyone who knowingly provides financial support to terrorists under the guise of humanitarian relief,” said David Kris, assistant US attorney general for national security. Holy Land CEO Shukri Abu Baker and chairman and co-founder Ghassan Elashi, were both sentenced to 65 years in jail. Holy Land cofounder Mohammad El-Mezain, and Abdulrahman Odeh, the charity’s New Jersey representative, both received lesser sentences of 15 years. The Justice Department vowed in October 2007 to retry the five Holy Land leaders after jurors could not agree on verdicts on nearly 200 charges, and a new jury was seated in mid-September. Holy Land was one of several Muslim organizations the Bush administration shut down in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for allegedly raising money for Islamic extremists overseas. Muslim charities that remained open suffered significant drops I contributions because of fears of prosecution.
The Muslim charity “The Holy Land Foundation” and five of its former leaders have been convicted of funding the Palestinian militant group Hamas, designated a terrorist group in the US.
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The leaders of what was once the largest Muslim charity in the United States were found guilty of acting as a front for Palestinian militants, in what was the largest terrorism financing prosecution in American history. The now-defunct Holy Land Foundation is charged with funneling $12 million to Hamas.
The Holy Land Foundation is one of several Muslim organizations shut down by the Bush administration in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The charity’s leaders received guilty verdicts, and received a total of 108 charges of providing material support to terrorists, money laundering, and tax fraud. Prosecutors did not accuse the charity of being directly involved or financing terrorist activity, but charged that humanitarian aid was used to promote Hamas, and allowed it to divert existing funds for militant activities.
Muslim charities in the United States have suffered a significant drop in contributions following 9/11, with many Muslim Americans concerned that they will be sought after for their good intentions of giving.
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New York Times
Muslims, Jews and Christians joined together for a ground-breaking multi-faith pilgrimage to Jerusalem’s Holy Land. The group of 26 formed the first ever visit to Israel and Palestine organised by a predominantly Muslim group from Britain. A total of 23 Muslims took part in the pilgrimage, and were joined by fellow members of the East London Three Faiths Forum. The trip was led by Imam Dr Mohammed Fahim of the South Woodford Community Centre, Mulberry Way, South Woodford, Rabbi David Hulbert of Bet Tikvah Synagogue, Perrymans Farm Road, Newbury Park, and Fr Francis Coveney of St Anne’s Line Roman Catholic Church, Grove Crescent, South Woodford. The six-day journey saw them take in the great religious sites of the Holy Land – including the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Western Wall. The group also visited Bethlehem to see the Church of the Nativity, spent a day in the Judaean desert, went swimming in the Dead Sea, visited Jesus’ home town of Nazareth, and even enjoyed a trip across the Sea of Galilee. Dr Fahim said he was proud to be the first British Imam to visit Israel, and was delighted to have joined with other faith groups for the emotional adventure.
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A proposal to turn the Commenda di Pre, a medieval palace in Genoa into an inter-faith prayer center for Christians, Jews, and Muslims, has run into opposition from local politicians stating that the Muslim worshippers are not welcome. Members of the anti-immigrant Northern League, said the plan was unacceptable, and regional councillor Francesco Bruzzone stated that Muslims had no business and showed a lack of respect for history by coming to the site – a hospital and hostel where pilgrims and crusaders gathered for mass before leaving for the Holy Land. The incident comes not long after a plan to build a mosque in Genoa was shut down, over the controversy of constructing a mosque with a minaret.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has told Israel in his state visit that there will be no Middle East peace without ceding sovereignty over some parts of Jerusalem. Speaking to the legislature, Sarkozy also called Israel to stop settlements in the West Bank, tempering his message by assuring Israel France would back the halting of Iran’s nuclear program. Reactions were less enthusiastic than his opening, which praised Israel’s democracy and quoted a biblical passage where God promises the Holy Land to the children of Israel. Sarkozy’s visit includes talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, a visit to Bethlehem and a meeting with the parents of an Israeli soldier (who holds French citizenship) held by Palestinian militants.
The ACLU and its Texas chapter filed a legal challenge to clear the names of two Muslim organizations that have been labeled by the government as unindicated co-conspirators. The two organizations — The Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust have been identified by the government for their association with the Holy Land Foundation – though neither organization has been the subject of a criminal investigation of charged with any crimes. “By publicly branding these groups as criminals without providing a forum for them to defend themselves or clear their names, the government has acted with blatant disregard for their constitutional rights,” said Hina Shamsi, an ACLU staff member.