Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb refuses to attend Pope Benedict’s Assisi inter-religious meeting

Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, the leading Egyptian Muslim cleric, who recently suspended dialogue with the Vatican has now announced that he will not Pope Benedict’s inter-religious meeting at Assisi called to publicly reject violence in the name of religion.

Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb said:

‘”These meetings, ultimately, are not bringing any good to Muslims, and they don’t do good to the East but only to the West. And in all the conferences in which we took part in the past, we said clearly that the West is not serious in its way of approaching the nature of Islamic civilization and the civilization of the Middle East and of Easterners. We hold ourselves to our relationship with the Vatican, but we also have the right not to be in agreement with the Vatican and we hope that Benedict XVI, as a religious who appeals for peace, will address a word to Muslims apologizing for the Crusades and acknowledging the richness that the Islamic civilization has contributed to European civilization.’

Protect the Pope comment: Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb is now refusing to stand with Pope Benedict XVI at Assisi in October in a common witness against violence in the name of religion. This leading scholar of the Muslim world seems to be doing everything he can to exacerbate the tensions between Muslims and Christians in the wake of the suicide bomb attack that killed 23 Coptic Christians on Christmas day.

To bring up the complicated issue of the Crusades during this tense period when Jihadists are threatening to kill Christians in Egypt and the Middle East is an utterly irresponsible. Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb is bringing shame on the reputation and integrity of moderate Islam.

8 comments to Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb refuses to attend Pope Benedict’s Assisi inter-religious meeting

  • I agree.

    And the question I posed yesterday was will he now also suspended dialogue with the EU, following their Resoultion condemning violence against Christians in Iraq and Egypt.

  • louella

    The Pope must never apologise for the Crusades….as they were a response to Islamic expansionism and military aggression in the East! The first Crusade was called for by a Pope actually. Please….no more cow towing and grovelling. It’s embarrasing for our leader to do so.

    And this Sheikh is speaking as if the West were still Christian. Sadly it is anything but. Just take a look at our laws and lifestyles! Christianity is no more than a minority religion now in the once great Christian West. That’s why the West is collapsing….and so are its birthrates.

  • SpeSalvi23

    At the start of the new millennium JP II aplogized for whatever the Church has done wrong – the Crusades were covered. In some ways I think he over-apologized.

    Contribution of islamic civilization in Europe??
    Honor killings? Discrimination of girls? Religious fanaticism? Jihad? Refusal of integration? Open hostility to Christians? Openly voiced plans of taking over Europe (most recently by M. Gaddafi when he was in Rome – of all places!!)?

    But!! Reversing the blame and slipping into the vicitm role is not a bad move.
    Playing the poor victim is always a good scheme, or should I call it scam.

    Especially since EU governments are too chicken / too politically correct to strongly, consistently speak out against any muslim states or scholars – going beyond the recent reproach.
    I don’t see anybody openly backing the Pope on this.

    Not a bad move… but also very easy to see through and rather childish.

    Anyway!! How can the current Pope, who seems very keen on dialogue and preaches peace wherever he goes, apologize for events which took place in distant history??
    He was not involved!

    It’s the same as if I’d be going around apologizing for atrocities committed by Germans way before I was born?
    How would that be a meaningful apology??
    Showing honest empathy for losses and suffering is a different story… but I don’t see how someone could apologize for something he didn’t do.

    It would be a good idea for Islamic states to actually show some serious committment to implementing the basic human rights in their civilization. Maybe then the West would have a different approach to them.

  • peterNW1

    Some historical events that preceded the First Crusade …

    AD 632 – Muhammad’s death.

    AD 635 – Christian Damascas fell to invading Muslims.

    AD 636 – Christian Antioch fell to invading Muslims.

    AD 638 – Christian Jerusalem, and later Alexandria, fell to invading Muslims.

    AD 650 – Muslim armies reached Cilicia and Caesarea of Cappodocia. In the same period Muslim foces carried out raids on Cyprus, Rhodes, Crete and Sicily, carrying off thousands of Christian slaves.

    AD 668 – Muslim armies laid siege to Constantinople. They were repulsed.

    AD 711 – Muslim armies invaded Spain. By AD 715 they had conquered most of Spain.

    AD 717 – Muslim armies again laid siege to Constantinople. Again repulsed.

    AD 732 – Muslim armies invaded France. Charles Martel stopped them at Tours.

    AD 792 – The Muslim ruler of Spain, Hisham, called for a new invasion of France. An international Islamic crusade was assembled, and was repulsed by the French.

    AD 827 – Muslim warriors invaded Italy and Sicily, terrorised monks, and raped nuns. Sicily was held by Muslims until AD 1091.

    AD 846 – Muslim armies reached Rome, where they forced the Pope to pay them tribute.

    AD 848 – France was again invaded by Muslims. And again repulsed.

    AD 1059 – Pope Urban II launched the FIRST Crusade.

    • You can just about make a case that the first crusade was a defensive war.
      But the trouble is the crusades were a series of sporadic conflicts that lasted over 200 years and, as with the 30 years war, by the end of it everyone had more or less forgotten what it is was all supposed to be for in the first place.
      It’s a lesson of history that seems to have been lost since the two world wars on people like Tony Blair that it’s much easier to start a war than to finish one.

      Didn’t John Paul II apologize for the Crusades already anyway?
      I thought this was one of the positive things that he did do …. So…
      It isn’t like the Catholic Church shows no remorse for its side in the conflict.

  • Sheikh Ahmed is not serious. How can the Catholic Church apologize for trying to defend itself or trying to recover its occupied lands? Well, it seems for same Muslim leaders facts no longer matter.

  • Francisco

    I’ve often thought the Arabs to be childish and, if I take this demand that the Pope apologise for the Crusades and acknowledge the benefits of Islamic civilisation to the West seriously, it is part of an adolescent-like whining for acceptance. A sort of “we know we’re right, so tell us that we’re right now,” after they have been publicly embarrassed for their attacks on the Copts. Someone ought perhaps to respectfully acknowledge the richness that the Byzantine civilisation gave to the Islamic civilisation: all those pointed arches and the Islamic architecture, etc.

    May they not take part in a global prayer for peace, if they don’t want to. It shows them up perfectly when, before the whole world, they both attack the Copts (as they have for centuries) and then complain when pointed at and, to top it all, refuse to acknowledge their abuse of the Copts. What will they do, apologise for it all?

  • christian

    The Pope have no problem apologizing for the Crusades, the spanish Iquisition, cancer and global warming if he has to. But what this have to do with refusing to resolve a very obvious problem like religious persecution for example?

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