Sudan ‘apostasy’ woman Meriam Ibrahim arrives in US

August 1, 2014

A Sudanese woman who fled to Italy after being spared a death sentence for renouncing Islam has arrived in the US. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag arrived in New Hampshire on Thursday evening with her American husband and her children. Welcoming her on a brief stopover in Philadelphia, the city’s mayor, Michael Nutter, described her as a “world freedom fighter”.

He compared her to Rosa Parks, who became a symbol of the civil rights movement in the US when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Alabama.

When in Rome, she met the Pope, who “thanked her for her witness to faith”, according to a Vatican spokesman.

Vatican representative meets with Islam scholar in Cairo

December 4, 2013

 

Vatican City – The Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Msgr. Miguel Angel Ayuso, met Tuesday in Cairo with a senior scholar specializing in the Sunni Islam faith, said a Vatican spokesman. Ayuso met for 45 minutes with Abbas Shouman, the second-highest official with Al Azhar University, a world-renowned center of religious research of Sunni Islam, emphasizing the strong relationship between the pontifical council and the Islamic university, said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. The meeting was positive and encouraging, said Lombardi. “The result is a willingness to resume…dialogue and collaboration,” he added. The Vatican has worked to mend fences with the university that suspended relations after the former Pope Benedict said in late 2011 that Christians were the world’s most persecuted religious group. Benedict’s comments came after a year of incidents including a bombing in Alexandria, Egypt in early 2011 where 23 Copts were killed.

 

Gazzette del Sud: http://www.gazzettadelsud.it/news/71338/Vatican-representative-meets-with-Islam-scholar-in-Cairo.html

Vatican: “The vote in Ticino is not against Islam”

The President of the Pontifical Council defends the decision of Ticino. “It’s about internal security, I do not see the problem”

 

“It is a decision that the people of Ticino made without regard to religious significance and therefore is not against Islam. This decision was based on an internal security threat.” It is with these words that Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò responded yesterday in the Vatican, to the questions posed by the Corriere del Ticino about the Ticino vote.

 

The President of the Pontifical Council does not consider the burqa a matter of primary importance. “It’s a small thing. But if a Swiss law bans the burqa in public places, what’s the problem? Clearly, if a police officer met a woman in the street veiled from head to toe, he could not recognize a threat and could take off the burqa.”

 

The undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants, Gabriele Bentoglio, wanted to respond to questions from the CDT, including the issue of the burqa in the current trend towards the search for identity in times like these. “As long as you do not attach a negative identity to a community that does not have one strong identity.,” said Bentoglio, emphasizing how the Catholic Church requests the creation of an identity-pro, or open to others, and not an identity-against position.

It is Appropriate for Muslims to participate in Holy Thursday?

March 28, 2013

“It was fine to include Muslims and women” said the Father Federico Lombardi, Director of Media at the Vatican, who was asked about the Pope’s recent trip to Casal Del Marmo Jail where he washed the feet of women: a serious departure from Papal tradition. The Pope also gave mass in the prison to an interfaith congregation, which included Muslims.

 

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 to Meet Muslims While Visiting Germany

20.07.2011

The Vatican announced that Pope Benedikt XVI. is planning on meeting with Muslim and Jewish communities while visiting Germany in September this year. These meetings are especially important to the Pope: Meeting representatives of Germany’s Jewish community is meaningful against the backdrop of the killing of Jews during the Nazi regime; reaching out to Germany’s Muslim communities by meeting their representatives is important in light of the Pope’s speech from 2006, which was interpreted as linking Islam and violence.

Vatican: Accord promotes dialogue with Arab League

The Vatican has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Arab League, in a bid to strengthen political and cultural understanding. The Vatican memorandum was signed by senior Vatican official Dominique Mamberti, and Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League. “The agreement further consolidates the existing ties of collaboration between the Holy See and the League of Arab States, especially at a political and cultural level, in favor of peace, security and stability, both regionally and internationally,” said a statement. The agreement comes as Catholic bishops across Europe prepare to meet Muslim leaders to promote dialogue at a conference to be held in the French city of Bordeaux.

Thousands mourn quake victims at funeral mass, Muslims included in mourning ceremonies

Thousands of mourners took part in an emotional funeral Mass for victims of the earthquake in the central Italian region of Abruzzo that left 290 people dead and 28,000 homeless. A representative of the Italian Muslim community, Mohamed Nour Dachan, participated in the funerals. Dachan appealed that all the mourners be “united in brotherly live,” and was met with applause. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was also in attendance of the service, which was lead by the Vatican’s second highest official, Cardinal Tascisio Bertone, and was broadcast live on national television.