Tag Archives: Muslim

Muslims will change the face of Europe

The world is changing very fast in all of the arenas of life: politics, economy, family, education, church, medicine, etc. In fact, the diminishment of Christian faith and culture is gaining speed. This is result of a very true fact that Christians are weak in faith (they don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ and they don’t know what it means to be a disciple of Christ) and they liberal in their actions, e.g., many have abandoned the desire to have children. Islam on the other hand are serious on both parts: they have big families and they practice their faith.

There was an interesting article was published recently addressing the forthcoming changes in Europe forged by “faith and birthrate.” Ralph Sidway reposts an interview with the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Raï on what we can expect. Read the article here. An Italian publication Familia Cristiana carries a more specific perspective.

Islamist rebels control Monastery of St Thekla, Maaloula, Syria

While information is not consistent and the reports are “unconfirmed,” at least in their details, numerous sources, including Vatican diplomats who have been in contact with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, say that Islamist rebels have taken control of the venerable Monastery of St Thekla in Maaloula, Syria, and have kidnapped a number of nuns, including the Abbess, and possibly set about sacking the monastery, one of the most ancient ones in Christendom. AsiaNews.it has this report.
Various reports can be accessed through the blog Ad Orientem.
Father Charles Baz writes,
“Mother Alexandra, I have been following most of the Arabic news agencies all day, thinking at first it was a rumor, but sadly it is not. Mother Pelagia Sayyaf, a dear friend of our family and to many in the US, is among them. This attack on Ma’aloula seems much worse and ferocious compared to September’s. May God pacify the situation and have these nuns released.”
He also says:
“All the news sources are mentioning only Ma’aloula, Al-Nabak, and Al-Yarbood. These three towns are clustered together and collectively are distant from Saidnaya. The news agency are clear about the fact that this battle, distinct from others, is politico-religious, since Ma’aloula and the rest of the Qalamoun region gives neither the government nor the rebels any strategic edge. Sadly, it is only a religious-motivated aggression. Let us pray for the safety of the nuns and the orphans lest any harm befalls them. Some news agencies are stating that already some nuns have been killed Monday in the Yarbood vicinity. All this has to be verified still, and hopefully not true.”
Please join in prayer for the safety of the Nuns, the soldiers who were guarding the monastery, and all concerned.

Forming ‘the intelligence of the heart’

Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, spoke Monday (November 18) at the opening general assembly of the two-day Global Forum of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and intercultural Dialogue, Vienna, Austria.

The senior cardinal deacon Tauran used an insightful term that needs to developed, ‘intelligence of the heart,’ which he explains that “inspires us to respect what God is accomplishing in every human being” during the opening session of an inter-religious forum in Vienna, Austria, on Monday morning.

The difficulty raised with inter-religious dialogue with Muslims is the concept of the other person; Islam does not hold that people are made in the image and likeness of God. Catholics and Jews do and do so as fundamental to all else. And there is good reason to ask why we spend so much time and money on inter-religious dialogue when there is no identifiable goal to the work done.  It seems doubtful that serious Muslims and serious Christians have one goal: conversion to the Truth: Christians ought to convert Muslims and Muslims convert Christians. Once admitted, then we can have a fruitful dialogue. But that will never happen. Nevertheless,  what Cardinal Tauran states is serious and we ought to consider seriously what it means to live in a  religiously diverse world.

The Cardinal said:

We are living in a changing world. We are living more and more in a ‘provisional’ world. But many people rediscover that we cannot live without reference to history and especially without relation to our contemporaries, their joys and hopes, their griefs and anxieties. In such a context religions are called to propose – not to impose – reasons for living.

What is at the centre of our concern is the human person, man and woman. The human person is the object of the attention of political and religious leaders. Each one of us is a citizen and a believer. All of us belong to the same human family. It means that we share the same dignity, we are confronted by the same problems, we enjoy the same rights and we are called to accomplish the same duties.

But unfortunately, we have to recognize that too often: we judge people on their appearance or on their ‘production’, even though every human person is much more than how he or she appears or is able to produce; we reduce the human person to an object (I am thinking of all the problems raised by bio-technology), while the human person transcends his/her material dimension.

Interreligious dialogue teaches us: to be careful not to present the religion of the other in a bad light in schools, universities, the mass media and, in particular, in the religious discourse; not to demean the religious convictions of the others, especially when they are not present; to consider diversity – ethnical, cultural, vision of the world – as richness, not as a threat.

Interreligious dialogue impels us: to listen and to better know each other; to think before judging; to present the content of our faith and our reasons for living with kindness and respect.”

Therefore, interreligious dialogue can contribute to: give to God again the place which He deserves; to inspire fraternity; to give the wisdom and courage to act.

To look at the theme “The Image of the Other” is also to look within ourselves in order to purify all that makes us closed to what is new and true; to look at the other means also to accept being questioned by him about our faith and to be ready to give an account of it; to look at the other is to be available to work with all persons of good will for the common good.

One of the tasks of KAICIID could be the promotion of what I dare to call, “the intelligence of the heart,” which inspires us to respect what God is accomplishing in every human being and at the same time to respect the mystery that every human person represents. What we have to avoid absolutely is that religions engender fear, attitudes of exclusion or of superiority in people.

In concluding, I express my heartfelt wishes for the success of this meeting. It will send a very significant message if KAICIID can become a place where we can take time to look at each other, to better know each other and to share all our abilities in order to make this world more secure and enlightened, with all its inhabitants living in the spirit of respect and friendship that Pope Francis has repeatedly said, “To encounter all because we all have in common our having been created in the image and likeness of God.” (To Participants in the Plenary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, 14 October 2013)

Reaching Muslims: A one-stop guide for Christians

Reaching Muslims.jpg

A recent book on Muslim Christian relations is Reaching Muslims: A one-step guide for Christians gives a perspective, albeit from a Protestant perspective, is worth noting. Much of what is said therein would recall for interested readers the kinds of things Pope Benedict XVI has already said. The author is reasonably positive when he speaks about Muslim culture being “culturally rich and often wonderfully passionate
about life and faith.” There is a lot of useful information given here: he covers lots of ground: politics, sociology, belief, justice matters, history and demographics.

This book attempts to help the read to bridge the gap of divisions, real or fictional, between Christians and Muslims. Fear of the other keeps us from speaking the truth in love and in peace with someone who does not think or act like we do. Chatrath holds up the role of friendship in knowing the other. Friendship bears the heat of the day!

Read more ...

Father Samir Khalil Samir speaks on Egyptian reform today

Egyptian Jesuit Father Samir Khalil Samir is a Professor
at Rome’s Pontifical Oriental Institute and scholar on Islam spoke to Emer
McCarthy, an interviewer at Vatican Radio who asked by if a Western concept of political
democracy is adequate to Egypt and other Arab nations. Father Samir saidit is
“applicable but not yet practicable.”

He further said, “What we need first of
all is justice, equality, social reform because the gap between rich and poor
is far too wide and this is the real cause of the Islamic fundamentalist
movement. We need change, the Arab world must change. We need alternate parties
but in our countries there is nothing”. 

Plus, it was advanced that “If you have
authoritarian regimes they systematically destroy all the leaderships so only
people who are in agreement with the current system are in power”. In the case
of Egypt “Mubarack nominated his second in command, Omar Suleiman who is a good
diplomat a military officer. But the question is this good for the country?”.

For more on the story, read it here

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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