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» 05/11/2009
INDIA – HOLY LAND
Pope’s trip to the Holy Land helps peace and dialogue, says Indian Muslim scholar
by Nirmala Carvalho
For Asghar Ali Engineer the Pope’s trip will increase “brotherhood among the nations.” Confessional divisions are not caused by religion, but by its “political use.” He extends his best wishes to the Christians of the Middle East.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the Holy Land promotes “mutual understanding and dialogue” among believers of the three monotheistic religions, and “will increase universal brotherhood among nations,” said Asghar Ali Engineer in an interview with AsiaNews.

An Indian Muslim and Islamic scholar, he hopes that the papal visit will lead to a “better relationship with the Islamic world” and “favour the peace process in the Middle East” because confessional divisions “are not based on religion” but on the “political use of religion.”

The “Pope stressed the core teachings of all religions, which is to promote and cultivate the good, in the context of faith,” said Engineer, who heads the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, quoting from statements Benedict XVI made in Jordan.

For this reason, “all religions much cooperate with each other in sharing goodness and fighting the evil and violence that sadly prevails in society,” he added.

The Muslim scholar holds the Pope in high esteem for his theological training, research and “keen interest in understanding [other] cultures and faiths.”

Similarly, he praised the Pontiff’s “sincere efforts’ in favouring a “dialogue between Islam and Christianity”, glad that the controversy surrounding the Pope’s 2006 speech at Regensburg was set right, pointing out as well that it led to the Letter signed by 138 Muslim scholars to “the Pope and other Christian leaders.”

As for the papal visit to the Holy Land, it “will have positive effects on the global community,” Engineer explained, “because it will favour dialogue with other religions and promote universal brotherhood.”

“Ethical and moral values are the same in all religions,” he said. “What are different are the rituals”. Hence the Pope is right to say that “religion is not necessarily the cause of divisions in the world.”  

Misunderstandings and diffidence come from “the political use of religion.”

“My earnest wish is that for the Christians living in the Arab world (Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, etc) this visit may lead to a better understanding. Also I hope that this visit of HH the Pope may lead to a better relationship in the Islamic world and lead to a better understanding in the strife–torn areas of the Middle East,” he said.

Muslims represent 12 per cent of India’s one billion people. In some areas like Assam and especially Jammu and Kashmir, they constitute more than 30 per cent of the population.


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See also
01/18/2008 VATICAN - HOLY LAND
Pope: May dialogue triumph in the Holy Land, and may there be true religious freedom everywhere
05/15/2013 INDIA
Asghar Ali Engineer, a voice for dialogue between Christianity and Islam, is dead
by Nirmala Carvalho
12/18/2008 VATICAN - ISRAEL
Holy See-Israel delegation speeds up work ahead of pope's visit to Holy Land
by Arieh Cohen
05/20/2009 VATICAN-HOLY LAND
Peace is possible in the Holy Land, with the help of faith, says Pope
04/03/2005 HOLY LAND – TRIPS IN ASIA (AN OVERVIEW)
A pilgrim to the Holy Land for Christ's Jubilee in 2000
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Pope shows courage against being used, Palestinian leader says
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Pope prays Christ will give “his courage” to the Christians of the Holy Land
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Pope wears shoes in mosque visit, as he was told to
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Pope: believers reject the “corruption” of violence and “cultivate” reason
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Pope: I come to the Middle East to bring hope of peace
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Church has contributed and wants to contribute to peace in the Middle East, says Pope
VATICAN
I will be a pilgrim of peace in the Holy Land, says Pope
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Pope: in the Holy Land to speak of reconciliation in the midst of political and religious tensions
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Bethlehem: refugees await Pope to show him the Wall
VATICAN
Pope: Pray for vocations and my journey to the Holy Land
ISRAEL – VATICAN
Holy See-Israel: progress but no agreement before Pope’s visit
JORDAN - VATICAN
Amman prepares to receive a pope for the third time

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by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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