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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 05/04/2007
VATICAN - IRAN
Benedict XVI and Khatami: the good trail is Regensburg
by Bernardo Cervellera

Today's meeting at the Vatican between Mohammad Khatami and Benedict XVI was held under the banner of the "dialogue between civilizations." Iran's former president has for years been working for such dialogue which involves the clear expression of identity, profound respect for the religious element, and a critique of mathematical and materialistic reason. From this point of view, today's encounter is very much in line with the speech that the Pope made at Regensburg University last September.
 
Pope Benedict XVI's masterly lecture tended in fact to highlight a widening of reason that, by going beyond anti-religion Enlightenment thinking ("irrational"), allows for rich and fraternal dialogue with extra-European and non-Western cultures. At the same time, the Pope showed that violence is "irrational" and is therefore worthy neither of God, nor of man, nor of any religion, Islam included.
 
The fuss which resulted from the Regensburg speech was fuelled by liberalist Westerners and islamist Easterners and belittled the profoundness of Benedict XVI's proposal so as to make it appear a simple dispute between Islam and Christianity, with the latter "obviously" unable to understand Islam and accusing the Pope of having fomented a "war of religions."
 
At that time, Khatami was among the few Muslims leaders – the first – to distance himself from the protest rallies and attacks of the Islamic world, asking everyone "to read the Pope's entire speech, before criticizing it." But, because of the tensions created by malevolent interpretations of the Regensburg address, his visit to the Vatican, initially planned for last November, did not take place.   Today's meeting heals a wound and sends the message that "dialogue between civilizations" is stronger than the "clash of civilizations."
 
But it is only a partial healing. Where in fact healing is slow is in the liberalist Western world where, to avoid questioning its blind closure to the problem of Godless reason, it continues to rail against the Catholic Church and the Pope, and justifies the many forms of violence committed in the name of Islam, fomenting a new war of religion with Islam.
In their ideological blindness, a good part of the so-called "progressive" intellectuals says that the causes of terrorism are American imperialism, colonialism, the state of Israel, globalization. But in this way they do not realize that Islamist terrorism strikes well beyond the West: Buddhists in Thailand, Hindus in India, Muslims themselves, both Sunni and Shia. Even violence against Palestinians does not only come with an Israeli stamp, but also derives from a power struggle between Hamas and Fatah.
Thanks to this blindness in Europe – and in Italy – we are witnessing a veritable alliance between progressivism and violent Islamism. In the name of anti-Americanism and multiculturalism, people are calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, from Afghanistan, and are justifying the violence of males against Islamic women and polygamy. Again yesterday, the Pope was ridiculed in the European Parliament, while great caution was exercised when it was a question of the anti-Mohammad caricatures. And while a benevolent attitude is being preached with regard to a violent Islam, an intransigent and intolerant attitude is spreading against the Catholic Church, "guilty" of displaying crosses and nativity scenes and of expressing its view on life and family in the ("liberal"?) society.
 
The encounter between Benedict XVI and Khatami shows that dialogue is possible if parties do not hide their identity and work for the good of men and women. To do this, it is necessary that, from East to West, we condemn violence, always and regardless, while guaranteeing religious freedom.  

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See also
10/14/2005 VATICAN - ISLAM
Vatican tells Islam: "Let us continue on the path of dialogue"
09/18/2006 IRAN - VATICAN
Not all Teheran behind ayatollahs in anti-pope criticism
by Darius Mirzai
09/17/2006 ISLAM – VATICAN
Amid criticism and violence the first balanced views about the Pope's speech appear
05/04/2007 VATICAN - IRAN
A dialogue between cultures in the meeting between the Pope and Khatami
12/17/2008 VATICAN - ISLAM
Catholics and Muslims should increase mutual trust and educate young people to peace

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

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