March 20, 2013
Pope Francis wanted to give a strong signal to representatives of other faiths, “the Catholic Church is aware of the importance of the promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions” said the Pope.
Francis greeted and thanked all those who belong to other religious traditions, “first and foremost Muslims, who worship the one God, those who are merciful and call upon him in prayer. I really appreciate your presence and your new willingness to grow mutual respect and cooperation for the common good. ”
The Islamic world gave a positive response, with the International Union of Muslim scholars who said they were ready to resume dialogue with the Vatican after the election of the new pope. The organization led by Yusuf Al Qaradawi had previously cut off all communication with Pope Ratzinger because of his position on Islam was considered hostile.
Former Islamist Ed Husain felt the denial of a visa by the United Kingdom to Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi, the well-known Islamic scholar based in Doha, was absolutely justified. Speaking to The Peninsula at the Four Seasons Hotel yesterday, Husain said: “He is a man who speaks two languages. There should be no exceptions in condemning the deaths of innocent people. When it comes to Jews, he thinks it is favourable to kill. It was right to refuse him a visa to the UK because his views have an audience there.” Husain, along with Maajid Nawaz, has just launched the Quilliam Foundation. It is named after Sheikh William Henry Abdullah Quilliam, an English solicitor and convert to Islam who founded the UK’s first mosque in Liverpool in the 19th century. The aim of the Foundation is to present Islam’s moderate viewpoint as opposed to the venom spewed out by radical elements. “On Muslim-related issues, it is jihadists and Islamists who dominate the airwaves (in the UK). We will give these a counter-balance,” said Husain. This could be done by use of the scriptures, which presents the true meanings and beliefs.
Islamic cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is due to address a conference on Sunday supported by the Metropolitan Police. Controversy has surrounded his visit to the UK amid claims by Jewish community leaders he threatens race relations. But the cleric has been allowed to speak after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would not act over his defence of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel as “martyrs”. He is expected to speak at the Wembley Conference Centre in London.