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» 01/20/2011
EGYPT-VATICAN
Islamic Al Azhar University suspends dialogue with Vatican
The decision was made this morning during a special meeting of researchers over "the recent unacceptable interference (of the Pope, ed), who sought protection for Coptic Christians." The Vatican spokesman: "The position of the Pontifical Council for interreligious dialogue remains an attitude of openness and willingness to dialogue. "

Vatican City (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Islamic Research Academy from the State University Al-Azhar decided, during a special meeting held this morning in Cairo, to suspend dialogue with the Vatican. Academy member, Abdel Muti al-Bayoumi, told Aki agency, "this decision was made in response to the position taken by Pope Benedict XVI on Islam." In this regard, al-Bayoumi recalled the Pope’s controversial Regensburg address of 2006. The Al-Azhar academic added that the decision also takes into account, " the recent unacceptable interference (the Pope, ed), who sought protection for Coptic Christians," after the massacre in Alexandria. The Islamic theologian has therefore asked Pope Benedict XVI to "resume relations with Islam following the lead of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II." "I hope he takes the same position - he said - because he was very interested in our activities and the Joint Committee between al-Azhar and the Vatican at the time was very active." Egyptian religious did not particularly like " interference in the affairs of Egypt and the fact that Islam was described in the wrong way. We are still waiting for an apology over these two questions."

Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, interviewed by AsiaNews, said: "The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, is gathering the necessary information to assess the situation, since it had not received any prior communication on the part of ' Al Azhar University in reference to the problem. " Father Lombardi also explained that "The position of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Holy See, even now remains the same as always, and that is an attitude of openness and readiness for dialogue."

The Al Azhar decision comes just days after the Egyptian government’s criticism of the Vatican. This was sparked by Benedict XVI mentioning the tragedy of the attack to the church of Alexandria in his speech to the diplomatic corps (see 10/01/2011 Pope: Religious freedom attacked by terrorism and marginalisation). Egypt recalled its ambassador, demanding that the Vatican not intervene in the country’s internal affairs (12/01/2011 Cairo protests against the Vatican. Another Christian killed and five wounded).

Benedict XVI was also criticised by the Imam of Al Azhar University January 1 last. According to Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the pope in his New Year’s homily only appealed for the defence of Christians, failing to concern himself with the Muslims in Iraq. (See footnote (1) on 03/01/2011 Europe and Islam in the wake of attacks against Copts in Alexandria).

Even Arab leaders, who met yesterday in Sharm el-Sheikh, while condemning the "terrorist" attacks on Christians in Egypt and Iraq, warned against "foreign interference on the issue of minority rights".


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See also
04/13/2011 EGYPT - VATICAN
Egypt, Al-Azhar reaffirms opposition to dialogue with Vatican
01/25/2011 VATICAN-ISLAM - EGYPT
Al Azhar also expected in Assisi
by Bernardo Cervellera
01/03/2011 ISLAM - VATICAN - EGYPT
Europe and Islam in the wake of attacks against Copts in Alexandria
by Samir Khalil Samir
01/21/2011 ISLAM - VATICAN
Al-Azhar against the Vatican: politics and pettiness
by Bernardo Cervellera
09/19/2006 ISLAM – VATICAN
More calls for dialogue in a Muslim world angered by Pope

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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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