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» 09/18/2006
LEBANON
Moderate voices in Lebanon urge people to read what the Pope actually said
The Shia mufti of Tyre urges people to what Benedict XVI said with calm and serenity. Patriarch Sfeir sees political motivations behind the reactions in some Muslim quarters.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – "Let us first read what the Pope actually said," urged Ali el-Amin, Shia mufti of Tyre. Such a view of the controversy that surrounds Benedict XVI's Regensburg speech reflects the prevailing attitude in multi-faith Lebanon. Even Hezbollah has limited itself so far to express surprise for remarks that "are contrary to the reality of the Muslim religion", whereas the deputy chairman of the Higher Shia Islamic Council has called for dialogue and the rejection of violence.

In Christian quarters, reactions in the Muslim world are seen as politically motivated. For Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir the Pope's remarks have been misunderstood. "The motivations behind the criticism are political," he said. Benedict XVI "did not directly talk about Islam. "Christians and Muslims have an interest of working together, especially in Lebanon".

In his Sunday's homily, Cardinal Sfeir reiterated remarks made a Vatican spokesman according to which the Pope did not express his opinion on Islam, which was not an issue in his address. Instead, the Holy Father respects Islam and rejects religious motivations of violence.

The Patriarch also mentioned that in the conciliar document Nostra Aetate, the Church held Muslims in "esteem" for they "adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, Who has spoken to men."

From the same document, he said: "Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom."

"It was an affront to the Pope for some Muslim religious dignitaries and political leaders to ask him to apologise," said Mgr Béchara Rai, bishop of Jbeilm.

In an interview with the Voix du Liban, the bishop emphasised the need to read the Pope's statements before making false interpretations.

"Under normal circumstances, when you have a problem, you go back to the text," he said. "That is what I did. I read the lecture the Pope gave to a German Theology Faculty on the relationship between faith and reason. It's deplorable that so many people reacted without having read the text. This no longer belongs to the realm of reason, but to that emotion."

Bishop Rai added that he hoped Muslim religious leaders "would read the conference [paper] and express their opinion about the issues raised by the Pope."

Sheikh Abdel Amir Kabalan, deputy chairman of the Higher Shia Islamic Council, also urged people to engage in dialogue and reject violence. He expressed "respect for everyone, those who retracted, those who deplored and those who apologised for the accusation made against them."

In a final appeal to reject violence, Mufti Ali el-Amin called on people to read what the Pope said with "calm and serenity", and avoid "impulsive and irrational reactions as well as street language."


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See also
02/05/2007 LEBANON
Christian and Muslim religious leaders appeal for dialogue, reject violence
06/12/2006 LEBANON
Lebanon is deeply divided and those responsible worry only about own interests, says Card Sfeir
09/14/2006 LEBANON
Hezbollah, proxy in someone else's fight, says Sfeir
by Youssef Hourany
08/29/2008 LEBANON
Finger pointed at Hizbollah over army helicopter attack
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09/17/2006 ISLAM – VATICAN
Amid criticism and violence the first balanced views about the Pope's speech appear
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Pope: Faith and reason to escape violence and suicide of Enlightenment
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The Pope's speech: lending Islam a helping hand to avoid a downward spiral
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Controversy about Pope and Islam useless, open to manipulation
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Pope worried only about the "religious motivation of violence"
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Pope's remarks misused by Islamo-nationalists, vicar apostolic says
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Benedict XVI's words spark calls for apologies and requests for clarification in theIslamic world
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Card.Toppo: "Face Islamic protests with truth, courage and prayer"
ISLAM - VATICAN
Two churches struck in Nablus as Muslim countries criticize pope
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Pope is sorry, reaffirms esteem for Islam and rejection of violence
TURKEY – VATICAN
Pope's trip at risk as Turkey becomes less secular
VATICAN – ISLAM
Pope "truly sorry" for Muslim reactions but did not offend
ISLAM – VATICAN
Amid criticism and violence the first balanced views about the Pope's speech appear
IRAN - VATICAN
Not all Teheran behind ayatollahs in anti-pope criticism
INDIA
A great sign of peace from the Pope, say Indian Muslim leaders
PAKISTAN
Pope only wants inter-faith harmony, Pakistani bishops say
TURKEY – VATICAN
Turkish bishops confirm trip of Benedict XVI will go ahead
Vatican - islam
The Pope and eastern and western terrorism
ISLAM – VATICAN
Pope's explanations not good enough for radical Islam
ISLAM – ISRAEL
What the Christian Pope thinks about Islam matters to the Muslim world
PALESTINE - VATICAN
Armed guards in Bethlehem churches, but Christians are on pope's side
ISLAM – VATICAN
More calls for dialogue in a Muslim world angered by Pope
SYRIA – VATICAN
Syria's Grand Mufti says Pope's explanation "more than enough"
PAKISTAN – VATICAN
In Pakistan Christians and Muslims study Pope's speech together
PHILIPPINES – ISLAM
Sincere faith and dialogue are the only ways to peace between Christians and Muslims
VATICAN-ISLAM
Pope: I was misunderstood about Islam, may my words become an opportunity for dialogue
LEBANON – VATICAN
Rise above controversy about pope, say Lebanese bishops on day for peace
IRAN - VATICAN
Ahmadinejad proclaims respect for pope but Iran has strange anti-Catholic coalition
VATICAN – ISLAM
Pope to meet ambassadors from Muslim countries
VATICAN
Pope: Sr Leonella Sgorbati, an authentic Christian witness
BANGLADESH – VATICAN
Bangladeshi bishops defend a misunderstood Pope
IRAQ - VATICAN
Radical Muslims against pope: two churches attacked in Mosul and Baghdad
ISLAM-VATICAN
Pope with ambassadors: much praise and some "buts" from Muslim world
PHILIPPINES
Manila: Muslim MP urges understanding, not criticism, of pope
VATICAN – ISLAM
Pope: dialogue between Muslims and Christians "a vital necessity"

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