Pope receives French Muslim leaders at the Vatican

 

 

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) met with Pope Francis on November 3. The meeting was organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, which brings together 200 leaders from different religions.

The delegation was accompanied by Michel Dubost, the Bishop of Evry and president of the Council for Interreligious Relations of the Bishops’ Conference of France, and Vincent Feroldi, director of National Services for Islam Relations (SNRM).

It’s not the first time French Muslim leaders have met with the current Pope. A delegation was received by the Vatican in January 2015, which coincided with the the Paris attacks. The most recent meeting follows the terror attack in July, when a priest, Jacque Hamel, was murdered in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

The meeting came with “highly symbolic significance, to send a message of harmony and fraternity,” said the CFCM president.

 

Haïm Korsia: “We all have to protect the Republic”

July 23, 2014

Jewish chaplain and the new Chief Rabbi of France, Haïm Korsia is known for his commitment to interreligious dialogue and to the values of the French republic. He was elected June 22, 2014 and is now faced with a series of attacks against the country’s Jewish community that have occurred during pro-Palestinian demonstrations. In the wake of rioting in Sarcelles Korsia participated in an interfaith prayer session with Drancy’s imam Hassen Chalghoumi in the town’s synagogue. Korsia answered questions in a recent interview with Le Point.

When asked his reaction to the speeches given at the presidential palace and at the prayer session in Sarcelles, he answered that is was a “necessary time for the national community, that needed to express the idea of solidarity between all its peoples, to say that there are things that are unacceptable.”

Korsia affirmed that it was not only up to Muslim leaders to speak out against violent acts. In the words of imam Chalghoumi, those perpetrators “are not in true support of any cause, they are not Muslims, they demonstrate only a rejection of the system and a hate for Jews. It is necessary to recognize this in order to fight: it will not work to be alarmist, but to make a fair observation in order to institute working methods, education, and courage so that there may be a peaceful ‘living together,’ which is France’s true mission.” The rabbi stated, “There is no war of religions, but of Frenchmen who attacked other Frenchmen.”

The rabbi trusts Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve’s statement that there will no future demonstrations. He expressed his surprise at elected officials who attended banned demonstrations, saying, “It is incomprehensible that certain people scoff at the Republic that they are supposed to embody.”

He stressed the importance of interreligious dialogue and of schools to introduce children to classmates with different religions than their own. “Someone else’s religion doesn’t have to be a mystery, a radical otherness, but another form of humanity that is just as deserving of respect,” he said. Korsia believes that this type of dialogue is possible in public schools. “One must go back to basics, at what is at the heart of the republican intention: we are all citizens, and there is a single community that counts: the national community,” he affirmed.

When referring to the “great national cause” he acknowledged the specific fight against anti-Semitism. However he said “it’s necessary to see things as they are: when we engage in methods to fight anti-Semitism, we give the impression that there are two weights, two measures…In reality one must fight against any rejection. The fight against global racism is good, but with a specificity towards anti-Semitism, which must become a great national cause.”

According to the recent findings, 5,000 French Jews have relocated to Israel in 2014 compared with 1,907 in 2012. Korsia stated that this number may be related to the anxiety many Jews feel in France, but is not the only reason for their relocation.

When asked if he believes that the majority of France feels a “softness” towards the anti-Semitic violence that occurred he answered, “not a softness, but an indifference, a resignation.” He stated that it’s necessary to work towards instituting “freedom and brotherhood while at the same time working toward national reconciliation.”

Church Dialogue on Islam

January 12, 2014

 

While world events play out around the globe, it can be hard to fully grasp the role that religion plays. One local church is helping people better understand the world around them, but not exclusively through Christianity. “Welcome to Christ Episcopal Church if you’re visiting. This is our Tour of Islam,” said Adult Formation Leader at Christ Episcopal Church Charles Crawley. Islam is one of the world’s largest religions, accounting for about 20 % of the earth’s population. But, “people are just trying to understand what it is, because we just don’t have a good basic understanding,” said Crawley.

Kirkwood Professor of Religion Dr. Peter Jauhiainen says people often narrowly define the religion. “That provides a distorted understanding of what it’s all about,” said Dr. Jauhiainen. So Christ Episcopal Church organized its Tour of Islam. The idea is to help people of all faiths have a better understanding of world events and other religions. “We, it seems to me, operate on rumors, on information from people who don’t have a complete understanding,” said Doug Anderson.

Those misconceptions can easily affect how we understand the world around us, both past and present. “The other thing I remember from ’73 is the Arab Oil Embargo. Most of us are old enough to remember 25-cent gas,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
Organizers say knowing more about our surroundings often leads to knowing more about other people, but simple tolerance isn’t enough. “Tolerance is lower on the diversity scale if you want to speak that way. But to move to acceptance, approval and affirmation of people that are different than us,” said Crawley. “I’m more concerned about understanding broad ideas and movements and changing attitudes, that’s more important,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
CBS Iowa: http://www.cbs2iowa.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/church-dialogue-islam-24459.shtml

Pope Francis Writes to Muslims, I feel like your brother

August 2, 2013

“As you all know, when the Cardinals elected me as the Bishop of Rome and Universal Pastor of the Catholic Church, I chose the name of Francis, a very famous saint, deeply loved by God and every human being, to the point of being called the ‘universal brother.’” The Pope wrote in a message “to Muslims around the world” on the occasion of “the conclusion of the month of Ramadan, chiefly devoted to fasting, prayer and almsgiving.” In the text, the Pope follows a tradition that, on this occasion, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sends a goodwill message, accompanied by a theme offered for joint consideration. “This year, the first of my Pontificate, I decided to send this message to you, dear friends, as an expression of esteem and friendship for all Muslims, especially those who are religious leaders.”

Tauran: Interreligious dialogue: “we are not competing rather; we are pilgrims of the truth”

“Believers know that ‘man does not live by bread alone’, they are aware that they have to make a specific contribution in their daily lives and that they must do so together, not as competitors, but as pilgrims of the truth.” Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue explained, speaking last night in London at the third meeting of the bishops and delegates from the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe regarding relations with Muslims. The meeting was sponsored by the CCEE, which will end tomorrow.

Speaking at the opening session, the cardinal recalled the importance of continuing a dialogue between Christians and Muslims, he also supported the visit of Benedict XVI to Lebanon, with a meeting with Muslim religious leaders and the creation Inter-faith Centre in Vienna “which may be a new channel to denounce the violation of religious freedom and at the same time encourage and share positive experiences.”

The Archbishop of Bordeaux, Jean-Pierre Ricard, also in attendance, said “the international landscape was extensively modified as a result of the` Arab Spring ‘ in Egypt and Tunisia, the war in Libya and separatist movements in Syria have repercussions throughout the Middle East.”

German interior minister speaks in Cairo on Muslim integration

In a speech at Cairo University in Egypt, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble sought understanding for Germany’s integration policies. The speech came just ahead of the next German Islam conference in Berlin. In his Cairo speech, Schaeuble pointed out that there was legal equality for Muslims in Germany. The country’s three million Muslims have “the same rights, because our state guarantees freedom of religion and is not limited to a singular world view.” The interior minister explained it was crucial that Muslims living in Germany learnt the language and added that the successful integration of Islam into western societies will only work if Muslims accept democratic constitutions “without condition.” “Whether we like it or not, there are many people who think that Islam and democracy don’t mix. These are often people who have prejudices against Islam,” Schaeuble told the audience of Egyptian politicians and intellectuals. “But we must also not ignore the fact that there are some Muslims who also hold this opinion,” Schaeuble continued. He warned that this minority was seeing to it “that their opinion is heard worldwide.” To combat anti-democratic tendencies, Schaeuble also said that Muslim children living in Germany should receive Islamic courses in German. He supported the plan that Islamic clerics in the country should also be trained at German universities. Currently most of the clerics at Muslim mosques in Germany have received their religious training outside of Germany. This, Schaeuble stressed, could only be a temporary solution.
Ahead of his speech, the German interior minister met with several representatives of the Egyptian government, as well as Muslim and Christian clerics.