Our Message to the Pope

Our Message to the Pope

Yesterday, I joined with 150 others Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains to meet with Pope Benedict XVI at the John Paul II Cultural Center at Catholic University. There was speculation in advance of the meeting as to the Pope’s sincerity. Would it be an opportunity for true interfaith dialog or just a photo opportunity? One major Muslim group even turned down the invitation to attend.

Although only three Muslim representatives got to speak directly to the Pope (aside from a young woman who presented him with the gift of a Qur’an), I am pleased to report that due to gracious hospitality of the organizers all the Muslims who wished to make a statement were given the opportunity to speak after the Pope had left. In my own case, I made an appeal for him to adopt a scholarly attitude towards interfaith dialog. My statements to the assembly have been sent in an e-mail that the organizers have assured me will be forwarded up the chain of the Church hierarchy:

“We are grateful for the opportunity to share with you our enthusiasm for your mission of restoring reason to the world of religious affairs. The Holy Qur’an says that it is a message ‘for those who think,’ and Jesus (peace be upon him), though he spoke in parables, did so only to enhance followers’ understanding of the truth, which he promised would set them free. Accordingly, we propose that the dialog between Catholics and Muslims should start with the ideas of scholars like Averroes (Ibn Rushd) and his student Thomas Aquinas rather than with the demagoguery of political figures like Emperors or Sultans.”

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute

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