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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 01/25/2011, 00.00

    VATICAN-ISLAM - EGYPT

    Al Azhar also expected in Assisi

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Suspension of dialogue with the Vatican concerns Egyptian Church. For days, Patriarch Naguib, spokesman for the bishops and Catholic communities has submitted to the Egyptian government and the imam of Al Azhar, the Arabic translation of the Pope's speech that led to the apparent freeze. Accusations against Al Jazeera, of intentionally misrepresenting the papal message. In both east and west growing need for real religious freedom against terrorism and secularism.

    Rome (AsiaNews) - The decision of Al Azhar to "freeze" dialogue with the Vatican continues to surprise and pain Egyptian Christians. The spokesman of the Coptic Catholic Church, Fr. Rafic Greich has expressed regret over the Islamic University’s decision and his hopes that dialogue will resume. Vatican figures above all hope that Al Azhar will not miss the meeting with representatives of world religions in Assisi in October, wanted by Benedict XVI to remember the 25 years since the first meeting - at the time of John Paul II - and revive the "spirit of Assisi".

    Unfortunately, Al Azhar and the Egyptian government continue to criticize the pope's words who – they maintain - asked the Western governments to defend Christians on New Year’s day. In addition, they accuse the pope of only being concerned for Christians and of not taking to heart "the violence faced by Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan".

    In fact, the pontiff's words were: “the threatening tensions of the moment and, especially, before the discrimination, abuse and religious intolerance that today are striking Christians in particular (cf. ibid., n. 1), I once again address a pressing invitation not to give in to discouragement and resignation. I urge everyone to pray so that the efforts made by various parties to promote and build peace in the world may be successful. For this difficult task words do not suffice; what is needed is the practical and constant effort of the leaders of Nations, and it is necessary above all that every person be motivated by the authentic spirit of peace, to be implored ever anew in prayer and to be lived in daily relations in every environment”.

    The satellite channel al-Jazeera, and many Western media short circuited in their titles, summarizing the words of Benedict XVI in a "The Pope calls on Western governments to defend the Christians in the Middle East." In short, a new kind of crusade.

    It must be said that throughout the past few weeks and several times, Card. Antonios Naguib, head of the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Egypt, publically explianed the true meaning of the pope’s words. A Catholic delegation, headed by Greek Melkite Patriarch Gregorios III, has visited Mahmoud Hamdi Zaqzouq, Minister of Waqfs (Islamic Religious Affairs), to hand him the Arabic translation of Benedict XVI’s address and clarify the ambiguity caused by al Jazeera that "attempts to sow confusion and stir relations between Egypt and in particular Al Azhar and the Catholic Church."

    According to Fr. Greich, Al Jazeera deliberately turned the papal declaration into a "request for Western governments to protect Christians," while the pope only asked local governments to protect all citizens from terrorism.

    A week ago, another Catholic delegation - including the auxiliary bishops of Alexandria, Mgr. Youhanna Golte and Mgr Boutros Fahim, along with Fr Greich - visited the Imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad Al Tayyib to present him the actual statements of the pope and shed more light on Al Jazeera’s manipulation thereof. At the end of the encounter Al Tayyib and the delegation agreed that Al Azhar would publish a statement on their meeting.

    "Instead of the press statement - said Father Greich - we were shocked by the announcement of the freezing of dialogue between Al Azhar and the Vatican”.

    The growing feeling among experts is that the freezing of the dialogue between the Vatican and Al Azhar is a smokescreen to conceal Egypt’s responsibility for the Alexandria attack. From the very start the Egyptian government denounced "foreign hands" behind the massacre of Christians, stressing that "Christians and Muslims in Egypt are one nation."

    This declaration of innocence is not totally true. In fact, the Christians in Egypt face discrimination on many levels  (construction of churches, repairs, employment in public positions, etc. ..). Moreover, the government has one nothing to stop the growth of fundamentalism and fanaticism, which are the bedrock of terrorism.

    From this point of view, in the aftermath of the attack in Alexandria, the Catholic Church has made a series of requests of the government (new laws on religious buildings; restructuring of the school curricula to erase discrimination, fair trials and the imposition of sentences for those who encourage fanaticism ,..)[1].

    Instead, the government continues to favour the track of foreign terrorists, and is slow to address the problems of discrimination within its own borders.

    To a certain extent, Egypt is behaving like many Western governments. These, too, after the bombings in Baghdad and Alexandria, cried terrorism, failing to realise that the crux of the problem of Christians safety lies within governments that prefer to sacrifice the followers of Jesus, rather than risk unhinging the Muslim world. Thus they do not help religious freedom, on the contrary, the leave the door open for fanaticism.

    On the other hand, Western governments should not be invoked to launch wars and sanctions, but to strengthen cultural dialogue, to support education (an area that is becoming increasingly controlled by al Qaeda), to suggest effective reciprocity.

    Under the shadow of this shameful situation of political inanity, both Eastern and Western, the real value of the meeting in Assisi and its "spirit" becomes increasingly relevant. As in the days of John Paul II, in no way does it want to be seen as a sort of "UN of religions", a watered-down syncretism of identities. Rather, the global meeting aims to be a symbol.

    Its "spirit" wants to emphasize two elements: that religion and religions are not a problem for the world, but a resource. That they can live together and are not destined towards an inevitable clash of civilizations.

    In this sense, the Assisi proposal aims, as a positive gesture, to counter the problems which undermine global peace as identified by the Pope; terrorism and secularism. The first because it uses violence to impose one religion, the other because it marginalizes the religious energies of society, reduces freedom of religion, and humiliates the dignity of all persons to the material dimension alone.

     

    (André Azzam collaborated)

     

     

     

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    See also

    13/04/2011 EGYPT - VATICAN
    Egypt, Al-Azhar reaffirms opposition to dialogue with Vatican
    In a meeting with the papal nuncio, the Grand Imam El-Tayeb reiterates the accusations against the Vatican after the Pope's appeals for the safety of Christians. AsiaNews sources underline the contradictions of the Muslim world and the dual position of the Egyptian authorities of Al-Azhar, intransigent towards the Vatican, but claiming to be the moderate face of Islam.

    03/01/2011 ISLAM - VATICAN - EGYPT
    Europe and Islam in the wake of attacks against Copts in Alexandria
    Absurd accusations against the Coptic community of keeping two women who converted to Islam captive. The psychosis of a country that prohibits changing of religion. Islamic attacks against Shenouda, the criticism of the imam of Al-Azhar against Benedict XVI. Europe must open up channels for cultural dialogue with Islamic countries, rejecting secularism and fundamentalism. Just like the pope said.

    14/01/2013 EGYPT - ISLAM
    Al-Azhar’s double game to Islamize Egypt and maintain power
    In recent years the authorities of the most important Sunni university, supported the youth of the revolution and are now with the Muslim Brotherhood. For the great scholar of Islam Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, such behavior is typical of the University, which has always supported those who govern. The new constitution based on Sharia will not transform Egypt into an Islamic state, for now. It takes advantage of the ignorance of a population that only trusts imams, all formed by al-Azhar. The document is primarily a ideological move by Islamists to appear like "real Muslims" before the Islamic world. Sharia, Islam, religion reassure the population. The future game of the Muslim Brotherhood and of Islam itself will evolve in the coming months on specific topics: jobs, the economy and development.

    03/11/2008 VATICAN - ISLAM
    Christians and Muslims: resuming dialogue, thanks to the pope
    For two days, from November 4-6, Islamic and Catholic experts are meeting at the Vatican, after years of chilly relations due to the growth of fundamentalism. Everything has now resumed, thanks to the address of Benedict XVI in Regensburg, where he affirmed that religion embraces reason and excludes violence. The most urgent theme: religious freedom, so that every community may be guaranteed the right to proclaim and spread its faith.

    03/01/2011 EGYPT – ISLAM
    Alexandria, tensions between Copts and Government
    Demonstrations in Cairo and Alexandria to demand greater protection, and an end to discrimination. The authors of the massacre could be Egyptian fundamentalists. The Vatican rejects accusations of "interference" by the imam of Al-Azhar against the words of the Pope at the Angelus, January 2.



    Editor's choices

    CHINA - VATICAN
    Vatican silence over Shanghai’s Mgr Ma Daqin causing confusion and controversy

    Bernardo Cervellera

    For some, Mgr Ma’s blog post praising the Patriotic Association and acknowledging his mistakes is nothing but “dirt”. For others, he chose humiliation for the “sake of his diocese”. Many wonder why the Holy See has remained silent about the article’s content and the bishop’s persecution. Some suspect the Vatican views the episode in positive terms. Yet, the Ma Daqin affair raises a major question. Has Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics (which describes the Patriotic Association as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine”) been abolished? If it has, who did it? A journey of compromises without truth is full of risks.


    CHINA – VATICAN
    Mgr Ma Daqin: the text of his “confession”

    Mons. Taddeo Ma Daqin

    Four years after quitting the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the bishop of Shanghai “admits” his faults on his blog, praising the organisation that controls the Church. We publish his article, almost in its entirety. Translation by AsiaNews.


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