Genova: Tomorrow there will be a meeting about diplomacy in the Palazzo Ducale ‘Islam and Diplomacy’

June 7, 2013

 

Genova June 7, 2013, tomorrow at 3:45 in the Sala del Maggior Consiglio at the Palazzo Ducale in Piazza Matteotti there will be the meeting “Islam and Diplomacy.” The meeting will focus on the role of Muslim diplomacy and international relations which contributes to the promotion of peace and the dialog between diverse populations.

In Palermo, Orlando “is open” to Islam “with the construction of a Mosque and a Cultural Center”

5/12/2013

 

“In Palermo it is important support the mosaic of Arab and Islamic presence” said the mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, at the conference “Culture and Islamic Civilization in Italy” organized by the Muslim World League at the Mosque of Rome. The mayor also reiterated the willingness of Palermo to support the construction of a mosque and an Islamic cultural center.

During the conference, Muhammad Saleh Al Ghamdi, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Italy and chairman of the board of directors of the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy, said that “Italy is a beautiful country, a friendly country with which we have excellent relations. In October we will celebrate the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and Saudi Arabia, ‘confirming’ the depth of the ties not only between political Arab and Islamic countries and Italy but also a relationship characterized by mutual dialogue and mutual understanding.”

Speaking of Sicily, the Saudi ambassador also said that “the seeds of love towards Palermo and Sicily sprout in my heart.” The event was also attended by, among others, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman in Italy, Fareed Alkhotani, the World Muslim League and Izzedin Elzir, President of the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy.

At the end of the speeches, Mayor Orlando received the gift of a copy of the Koran, “which” he said “will be housed in the future Islamic Cultural Center of Palermo.”

A final document is produced in London after three meetings of Bishops and Delegates regarding relations with Muslims in Europe

A testimony of faith is necessary for a dialogue with all. In Europe today, both to the east and the west, south and in the north the dialogue between Christians and Muslims is inescapable, creating a need for a deeper understanding. Only proper dialogue allows one to approach the Muslim believer free of prejudice. In a secular and plural society, the challenge of education for a diverse audience must also be integrated with a deep understanding of faith and identity. At the same time, a plural society exists only on the condition of mutual respect, and the desire to know each other through an ongoing dialogue. These are some of the reflections made by the bishops and delegates about relations with Muslims during the Episcopal Conferences in London for three days.

The two main themes addressed in the conference were “dialogue and proclamation” and “the question of identity construction of young Christians and Muslims.” The meeting was led by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard the archbishop of Bordeaux. The conference attracted the participation of bishops and delegates from 20 different organizations including catholic delegates, episcopal organization leaders and cultural organizations.

What Muslims want in a new pope

(RNS) Together, Islam and Catholicism represent about 40 percent of the world’s population, so the estimated 1.6 billion Muslims in the world have more than a passing interest in the new pope who will shepherd the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

Too often, relations between the two groups have been shaped by conflict — the Christian Crusades of 1,000 years ago are still a raw wound for many Muslims, and more recently, Muslim extremist attacks on Christian communities across Africa and the Middle East have left the Vatican deeply concerned.

“What the pope says or doesn’t say can have enormous consequences on such relations,” said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of the Cordoba Initiative, an organization dedicated to improving Muslim-Western relations, and the founder of the controversial so-called Ground Zero mosque in New York.

The selection of the 266th pope comes at a critical juncture in Muslim-Catholic relations, which have been marred by persecution of Christians in the Muslim world, Islamophobia in Western countries, Western military action in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, and rioting between Muslims and Christians across Africa.

While many Muslims said they saw an improvement in Muslim-Catholic relations under Pope John Paul II, they say Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy was more problematic.

Most worrisome, Muslims say, was in 2006 when Benedict spoke at the University of Regensburg in Germany and quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor who said Islam’s Prophet Muhammad had only brought “evil and inhuman” things to the world, and that Islam was “spread by the sword.” Those remarks touched off a series of deadly riots in several Muslim countries.

Muslims were also concerned by the Vatican’s opposition to Turkey joining the European Union, and in replacing Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald, a British-born Islam expert who was seen as friendly with Muslims, as head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in 2006.

Ebrahim Moosa, an Islamic studies professor at Duke University, said the Regensburg fiasco showed the need for improved ties. “The Vatican is invested in good relations with the Muslim world, and under a new pope there is no reason to believe that it would be any different,” he said.

While many Muslims acknowledge the interfaith efforts Benedict made, many also hope a successor will be more like John Paul II.

“There could be a lot of opportunity. A young pope could be more in tune with the globalized world and all the interfaith activity that takes place,” said Qamar-ul Huda, an expert on religious conflict and reconciliation at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington. “They live in pluralistic societies, and have to have good relations with Muslims so their communities get along on a day-to-day basis.”

Pope Francis has a model for Muslim engagement in St. Francis of Assisi

(RNS) Just as many Catholics have connected Pope Francis’ humility and austere lifestyle with that of St. Francis of Assisi, those seeking clues on the new pontiff’s approach to Christian-Muslim relations see another example in the iconic namesake.

In a little known episode in 1219, St. Francis left the camp of the crusaders besieging the walled Egyptian city of Damietta and crossed enemy lines to meet with Malik al-Kamil, the young sultan of Egypt.

“I can’t believe that the choice of his namesake is only about deference to poor people, as important and admirable as that is,” said the Rev. William Hugo, a Capuchin Franciscan brother and priest in St. Joseph, Wis. “The story of Francis seeking out Al-Kamil would surely raise up in Pope Francis the desire to reach out and be in relationship with those suffering a separation or (who are) excluded.”

“We’re seeing the church interpret Francis in modern times as a bridge,” said Paul Moses, author of “The Saint and the Sultan,” a 2009 book which explores St. Francis’ pivotal engagement with Islam. “To Muslims ears, the choice of Francis for a name should sound good.”

Andrea Stanton, a religious studies professor at the University of Denver, said peace was Francis’ motive.

How a U.S. Citizen Came to Be in America’s Cross Hairs

WASHINGTON — One morning in late September 2011, a group of American drones took off from an airstrip the C.I.A. had built in the remote southern expanse of Saudi Arabia. The drones crossed the border into Yemen, and were soon hovering over a group of trucks clustered in a desert patch of Jawf Province, a region of the impoverished country once renowned for breeding Arabian horses. Then, on Oct. 14, a missile apparently intended for an Egyptian Qaeda operative, Ibrahim al-Banna, hit a modest outdoor eating place in Shabwa. The intelligence was bad: Mr. Banna was not there, and among about a dozen men killed was the young Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who had no connection to terrorism and would never have been deliberately targeted.

It was a tragic error and, for the Obama administration, a public relations disaster, further muddying the moral clarity of the previous strike on his father and fueling skepticism about American assertions of drones’ surgical precision. The damage was only compounded when anonymous officials at first gave the younger Mr. Awlaki’s age as 21, prompting his grieving family to make public his birth certificate.

He had been born in Denver, said the certificate from the Colorado health department. In the United States, at the time his government’s missile killed him, the teenager would have just reached driving age.

And while the Constitution generally requires judicial process before the government may kill an American, the Supreme Court has held that in some contexts — like when the police, in order to protect innocent bystanders, ram a car to stop a high-speed chase — no prior permission from a judge is necessary; the lawyers concluded that the wartime threat posed by Mr. Awlaki qualified as such a context, and so his constitutional rights did not bar the government from killing him without a trial.

 

Five Star Movement Wins in Recent Elections, what does this mean for Muslim relations in Italy?

The new Five Star party headed by Beppo Grillo swept Italian politics during the most recent elections, winning more candidates in the Chamber of Deputies than any other party. Grillo, a former comedian, organized a movement that will likely bring the Italian government to its knees unless the traditional parties of the Left and Right can form a coalition, which is doubtful. Grillo has not made any direct comments about the Islam faith since the recent elections, however, back in June 2012, the International Business Times reported that Grillo believes, “Islam is not a fundamentalist religion and talks over the state of Israel have become taboo.”

U.S. Muslim Group Offers ‘Best Wishes’ to Resigning Pope, Seeks Positive Relations with New Pontiff

In a statement reacting to Pope Benedict’s decision to step down at the end of this month, Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:

“We offer the American Muslim community’s best wishes to Pope Benedict XVI as he leaves his position as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

“In recent years — and despite some passing controversies — relations between Muslims and Catholics have strengthened, particularly on issues related to social justice and family values.

“We look forward to continued and growing positive interfaith relations under the new pontiff as Muslims in the United States and worldwide join with people of all faiths and cultures who seek to make a better world.”

Canada closes embassy in Iran

News Agencies – September 7, 2012

 

The Canadian Harper government has closed the Canadian Embassy in Iran and ordered all Iranian diplomats in Canada to leave the country. The move effectively severs ties with the Islamic Republic after years of increasingly tense relations marked by accusations, warnings and sanctions.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in Russia for an APEC summit, has repeatedly described Iran as the greatest threat to global security, a statement echoed by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird as he announced the embassy closure.

Baird revealed all Canadian diplomats had left Iran, while Iranian diplomats in Ottawa have been instructed to leave within five days. While the Harper government often co-ordinates its actions on Iran, such as the levelling of sanctions with the U.S. and other allies against Iran, Baird said Canada is the only country suspending diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic at this time, calling it a “made-in-Canada decision.”