Muslim scholars suspend dialogue with Vatican in protest against Pope’s plea for protection of Christians

Al-Azhar’s Center of Dialogue, established in July 2010 to represent Muslims in dialogue with the Holy See has indefinitely suspended its participation in protest against Pope Benedict’s defence of Coptic Christians at Christmas after the suicide bomb attack on a Coptic Church that killed 21 Christians.

Abramonline reports:

‘The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, and members of the Islamic Research Academy have decided to suspend all dialogue with the Vatican due to Pope Benedict XVI’s negative comments on the condition of Egyptian Christians.

The decision was announced today following an emergency meeting during which the academy’s members voted unanimously on the suspension for an indefinite period.

Mohamed Tahtawi, the Azhar’s official spokesperson, refused to comment on the decision to Ahram Online, saying it was self-explanatory.

The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, has condemned Pope Benedict’s defence of Coptic Christians in Egypt against being murdered as “unacceptable interference in Egypt’s affairs.” He went on to complain during heightened international anxiety about threatened attack by Al Qaeda on Coptic Christians throughout the world:

‘ “I disagree with the pope’s view, and I ask why did the pope not call for the protection of Muslims when they were subjected to killings in Iraq?”

Fr Lombardi, the Holy See’s press secretary responded to Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb’s criticism of the Holy Father for expressing concern about the plight of Christians in Egypt:

Fr. Federico Lombardi said that the Pope’s position “is very clear, and always has been: a radical condemnation of violence, closeness to the community that has been so horribly stricken, and concern for the religious freedom of Christian minorities.”

Fr. Lombardi reiterated that Pope Benedict’s concern for the religious freedom of Christians “has always been within the context of his concern for the religious freedom of all people, not only Christians.”

“Time and again, the Pope has condemned violence against all people – not only that which is perpetrated against Christians,” he said, recalling the pontiff’s recent meeting with the new Ambassador to the Holy See from Iraq, “in which the Holy Father spoke of the innocent victims of violence, both Muslim and Christian.”

Protect the Pope comment: The decision by Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, and members of the Islamic Research Academy reflects badly on them and on the wider Muslim community they seek to represent. It appears to be an act of nationalist pique against Pope Benedict for having the temerity to speak out against the persecution and murder of Coptic Christians by radical Jihadists in Egypt. This is not an internal affair of the Egyptian state but a growing crisis that concerns the whole international community.

7 comments to Muslim scholars suspend dialogue with Vatican in protest against Pope’s plea for protection of Christians

  • Tim H

    I hope that the Vatican doesn’t lead them to give up their important efforts.

    • Deacon Nick

      What do you mean by this? Are you blaming the Vatican for the Muslim’s decision to suspend talks?

      • Tim H

        Sorry my comment is appalingly illiterate. What I meant was that I hope that the Vatican is not dishearten by this setback and that they will continue (or even redouble) their efforts. This is important because people’s lives are a stake. Everyone involved needs to try their very hardest because although dialogue is difficult and fustrating it is the only possible was to a solution.

  • SpeSalvi23

    I’m sorry, but if the spiritual leader of Chatholics, who finds himself representing other Chritian denominations as well, speaks up to bemoan terrorosm and murder of innocent women and children inside Churches, during Mass and shortly after, he is perfectly entiteled to do so!

    If he asks for religious freedom and for abolishing a law which seems a bit barbaric, if he asks for mercy for ‘his’ flock, he is entiteled to do so.
    And if no other world leader has the guts to do so, I feel sorry for the state of fear we already find ourselves in when it comes to confronting isalm.

    I only hope the Vatican stands firm in this and doesn’t issue some wishy-washy appeasment statement!

  • louella

    I am glad the Pope is taking a stand! How can any reasonable person protest the Pope’s concern about the terrible treatment of Christians in Islamic nations?! To do so is totally unreasonable and immature. And then to pretend that Pope has no concern for anybody else is grossly misleading. Do unto others as you would be done by…..the Pope holds ALL to this standard!

  • Karla

    Muslims need to see what we have things in common, and we need to unite as a people who believe and follow in the God of Abraham.

  • Dermont Clark

    Sad as I am to see the breakdown (hopefully only temporary) between the Muslim clerics and the Holy Father,we should be joyful that in other areas the two faiths are in co-operation. At Ephesus the “House of the Virgin” shrine to our Blessed Mother is a joint Islam/Christian site, where the two faiths celebrate the Feast of the Assumption together. In the UK the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, which has strong links with the Roman Catholic Church has a Muslim Division with leading figures in the British Muslim community in the Pro-Life movement. Both faiths, along with the Jewish community, trace their religious origins back to Abraham (our Father in Faith)so there is much more that should keep us together than separate us. The only beneficiary of this suspension of dialogue is Satan, the murderer and liar who seeks to enslave mankind.

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