FAX – 17/9/2006
The clarity of Magdi Allam should be encouraged in every way: it expresses what many think but few say out loud, which is why it is under fire by those who feel guilty: it is the Muslims who deny the historical fact and who ignore the spiritual content of the Koran. History continues to repeat itself. In my opinion only a firm stance of one’s own cultural conviction and identity will make us respect by our opponents., without hesitation and without excuses. On the contrary, I am convinced that many intellectuals in Arab countries have accepted the historical truths declared by Pope Ratzinger, but they cannot do so openly: not everyone has the desire to live under escort.
In conclusion: it should be remembered that the Pope is the head of a State with diplomatic relations with almost all the states of the world, his diplomatic structure should demand from their respective governments the public denials of the preachers of hatred who have stirred the hearts of defenseless people and mired a head of state by threatening him with death.
Question: (a) what was the attitude of our European politicians? B) What interest would the prestigious New York Times have had in lighting the fire?
The truth of history
Brave article that highlights the ignorance of many characters that make statements that ignite people simply on the hearsay or without deepening their thoughts based on the headlines. At least that some in bad faith want to shield themselves from any pretext to stand as the holder of the truth. It would be interesting to know the reactions of the Arab media to the rejection of the religious motivation for violence. I hope that Magdi Allam’s fears will not come true.
I propose to give prominence in the Corriere to these reactions by Muslim intellectuals who make audience:
“And I am frightened to note that even the so-called moderate Muslims have renounced their wisdom and have aligned themselves with the “holy war” of which they will be the main victims”.
Sunday 1 October, 2006
I have received the article you sent me from Chief al Azhar which I read while in Egypt. While in Egypt I read regularly al Ahram and the daily comments from Muslim intellectuals about the speech of Pope Benedict XVI’s.
A day later this week I was struck by Mohamed Salmawy comment of, I did not keep the papers that he found writers of high profile who wrote their attacks on the Pope based on “entendu dire” or on extracts from other journals. None of them read the original text fully! I found that very childish and a superficial way to educate the readers, knowing how students and others are influenced by religious leaders.
Galal, I am not familiar with theology, esegesi or philosophy, neither is English my mother tongue, but I am able though to summarize my understanding of the Pope speech as follows:
The context of the speech is high academicals; free to express his opinion although not acceptable to many people but still free to express his belief without fear of retaliation. Although he subsequently explained in simpler words his thinking, he received increased attacks from “offended” Islam: threats, demonstrations, burning in effigy, governments demanding retractions, the recall of ambassadors, churches burned, a religious sister killed, Arab Christians denigrated, examples are numerous, etc.
This freedom of expression is repeatedly retaliated by the arab world under the cover of “religious offense” and mobs moved by national institutions, leaders etc. only too glad to find a pretext to accuse somebody else for their own weaknesses.
I did not find in al Ahram or publicity made to the explanations given by the pope to the ambassadors from the arab league, except that al ahram cited the council of ulemas as still requiring an excuse.
In reality, a major part of Benedict XVI’s lecture was addressed to the Christian world, which in his view are so have lost the “fear of God.” But here as well the pope’s words found their confirmation in the facts. Hand in hand with the swell of verbal and physical violence on the part of Muslims, on the other side, the pope was the target of criticism from Christian area.
Freedom of creed and religious practice and adherence: this does not exist in the Arabic world, except in Lebanon. All citizens have not the same rights and duties under one country law: non Muslims have a different legal treatment, I add, same between women and men.
During my attendance in Cairo at the world Conference on population in 1994, the Vatican had closer views on bioethics and family values with Moslem representatives rather with the Occident countries. Links between Christian and Moslem leaders started to be tight and no offence is intended. It is unfortunate that no Muslim leader speak high against violence perpetrated on the basis of religion when such is being perpetrated.
Killing in the name of Allah is another point raised by the pope . The dialogue with Islam that he wants to create is not made of fearful silences and ceremonial embraces. It is not made of mortifications which, in the Muslim camp, are interpreted as acts of submission. He proposes to the Muslims that they separate violence from faith, as prescribed by the Qur’an itself.
He proposes to the Muslims that they separate violence from faith, as prescribed by the Qur’an itself; John Paul II, who prayed humbly in Assisi together Muslim mullahs, and when visiting the Umayyad mosque in Damascus listened in silence to the invectives his hosts hurled against the perfidious Jews. No fatwa was issued for the slitting of Karol Wojtyla’s throat. It was a mere coincidence that Ali Agca, who shot him, was a Muslim – and that all terrorists as I call them are Moslem. Although they do not represent Islam of course, but disclaimers by religious leaders are not being publicized, that I know.
Reason and religious belief: this covers a large part of the conference but I am not in a position to discuss as outside my intellectual capacity
I submit a comment I read that “Benedict XVI is hopeful. He would not have been so daring if he did not believe in the real possibility that an interpretation of the Qur’an that marries faith with reason and freedom can be reopened within Islamic thought. (reading Qoran in today’s context) But the voices in the Muslim world that are accepting his offer of dialogue are too weak and too few, and almost not to be found. And the pope is too much alone in a wayward Europe. And then there is the violence that hangs over Christians in Islamic countries, and also outside of them – when, to silence the pope, members of his flock are killed, and all the better if they are innocent, like a religious sister, a woman.”
I am grateful to your mail as it obliged me to reflect and to think over a major problem of this century. But people like us who know rather well both sides of the Mediterranean Sea can help to eliminate the misunderstandings. I am convinced that the core of the spirit of the Pope, other than the philosophy, could be summarized into a friendly voice to Moslem leaders to exchange opinion with full reciprocal respect about: freedom to express his opinion, Freedom of creed and religious practice and adherence, bioethics and family values, Killing in the name of Allah no offence is being intended.
Please feel free to circulate this message to whom you think useful and also to the writers mentioned in this message.
As a conclusion I report what M.Salmawy has written:
L’essentiel n’est pas de savoir si un fou ou non a commis les attentats d’Alexandrie. Le fou est une personne qui laisse libre cours à ses pulsions déraisonnables. Mais malheureusement, les motifs malades qui ont conduit le criminel à commettre son acte ne sont pas propres à lui. Ils sont répandus chez les membres de notre société, enracinés par l’enseignement religieux vétuste, enseigné de longues années et cristallisé par la suite par nos médias ignorants. Tout ceci a été confirmé par l’actuel message religieux vétuste de notre institution religieuse. Agirons-nous différemment cette fois-ci, ou nous contenterons-nous, une fois de plus, d’arrêter le criminel et de dire qu’il est déséquilibré, pour finalement classer l’affaire ? Comme toujours
Free web translation from the original in Italian
The published articles intend to provide the tools for a social inclusion of the migratory flow, shed light on human rights and the condition of life of Christians in the Islamic world from which the author come from. Knowledge of the other, of cultural and religious differences are primary ingredients to create peace in the hearts of men everywhere, a prerequisite for a peaceful coexistence and convinced citizenship in the territory.