» 02/11/2013, 00.00
TUNISIA - ISLAM
Tunisia in chaos: Why is Islam taboo?
Extremism is a threat to moderate Muslims and the West, but it is shrouded by a mysterious taboo. In Tunisia, birth place of the Arab Spring, the assassination of Chokry Belaid, the non-Islamic opposition leader, has led a revolt of the population fearful of a religious dictatorship. No country with a Muslim majority government is democratic and respectful of human rights and religious freedom. The Regensburg address of Benedict XVI only path for a true dialogue between Islam and the West.
- On 6 February, the
murder of Chokry Belaid, a lawyer who protested the government's human
rights violations, led to a revolt of the Tunisian people, who fear an Islamic
dictatorship and would like a democratic and secular government. The picture of
the "Arab Spring" in Sunni countries is becoming increasingly
incomprehensible, there seems to be a return to the autumn and winter of
democracy in Islamic countries.
today is this: no country with a Muslim majority (and there are more than
thirty) has a tolerably democratic government, many of these are in a state of
civil war: Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, Nigeria, Yemen,
Sudan, Somalia, in no country with a Muslim majority is there full religious
freedom for Christians and other religions in some countries where the faithful
of the Koran are sizeable minority, there are separatist guerrillas and
terrorism: Philippines, Thailand, India, China, Burma, Indonesia.
We all know the
latest news, the events of that day-to-day confirm this situation. What is
surprising is the fact that the West does not question, does not ask itself
where the Islamic world's instability originates and how it propagates, the
uprisings, guerrilla warfare, terrorism that breaks out in all or almost all
Islamic countries and what can be done to get to the root of this violent
extremism, this loose cannon that threatens world peace. When before World War
II, Nazism was already an expanding power, the free world discussed it at the
popular level, studied the ideology and visited Germany, trying to make deals,
it summoned international conferences for world peace. After World War II, when
International Communism began to expand, from the 40s to 1989, the danger of
contagion was perceptible, measures were discussed to prevent the spread of
this ideology-religion, studying the roots of Marxism-Leninism and what to do
to counter its spread in the free world. Communism was a threat, it was
discussed a lot.
The same does not
happen with Islamic extremism, condemned by all but which remains like a mysterious
object. I do not mean aversion for Islam and even less Muslims. I am convinced
that Islam is a great religion that has had the valuable historic merit of
bringing many people from polytheism to the monotheism of Abraham, the father
of all believers and from tribalism to unity in faith: it gave divided people
and enemies a Book , a Law and a community that united and joined them. Today,
however, Islamic extremism has taken over the vast majority of the followers of
Islam and represents a new threat to humanity and our West demonized as the
"great American Satan", claimed as the sworn enemy. In short, Islam
is not spoken of. Wars, revolts, terrorism, dictatorships, are all denounced
but the root cause of all this is shrouded in silence in the Western press and
in meetings and cultural debates. It is a taboo subject. At the most they mask
the problem by writing, for example, that the Salafists persecution of
Christians in Egypt, Sudan and Nigeria, "is not religiously motivated, but
by economic interests," a half-truth that nobody believes.
What can we do?
Many things, but I think that in Italy there are about two million Muslim
workers and students, generally good people who only seek a job, a home, the
warmth of relationships, security, social peace, well-being. The theme of the
roots of Islamic extremism must be publicized, discussed, debated, brought to
popular attention, to involve ordinary people and Muslim guests in an
atmosphere of respect and effective brotherhood. In the "lectio
magistralis" in Regensburg (September 12, 2006) Pope Benedict XVI had
made it clear that Islam has to deal with human reason, according to which
"violence in God's name does not exist." No less than 200 imams and
Muslim academics responded to the Pope saying they agreed and starting a
dialogue on this crucial issue for Islam today.
journey to the Holy Land as a "pilgrim
of peace" (8-15 May 2009), Benedict XVI returned to the theme when he
gave a clear indication of how the followers of the three monotheistic
religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims could live in harmony. On the plane
taking him to Jordan he said that the key of getting along is "talking to
reason and supporting positions that are truly reasonable." And then, in
meetings with Muslims in Jordan he insisted on this: religion is reasonably against
violence. This view of religion, he added, "rejects all forms of violence
and totalitarianism: not only on principles of faith, but also of right
reason." The reason leads to "serve the common good, to respect the
dignity of man, which gives rise to universal human rights."
But afterwards it was no longer spoken of or discussed, not even in Western
democracies where there are millions of Muslims and there is freedom of thought
and of press. In a democratic and free nation like our own, there should be no
taboo subjects, because they never produce any good.
Fr Gheddo: challenge of Islam is above all cultural, religious
They admire scientific and technological development in the West but believe it to be devoid of a soul. Even in moderate countries, madrassahs teach about the struggle against the West and give pride of place to pictures of “martyrs of Islam”. This challenge cannot be met through solely juridical, military, political and diplomatic means.
12/09/2014 ISLAM - CAMEROON
Poverty, fanaticism and a desire for revenge drive Boko Haram in Cameroon
Islamic terrorism is gaining ground not only in Nigeria. Young Cameroonians are leaving their families for a holy war. Westerners, but also local politicians are their target. Peaceful coexistence between faiths and ethnic groups is at risk.
02/09/2013 ITALY - VATICAN
Cardinal Martini a saint, but not soon
A year after the death of the former archbishop of Milan, it is striking that no one has called on him the "odor of sanctity” required to initiate a cause of beatification . It is not easy to understand why, but it may be helpful to reflect on a life lived as a true Christian . The more time passes , the more Card. Martini will be understood and appreciated for his authentically missionary attitude, his dialogue with non-believers and his reaching out to those "distant" from Christ and the Church.
Father Gheddo's parents on their way to beatification
For years witnesses have talked about the couple's "hunger for holiness" because of how they led their family life and how they took care of the poor. They were day-to-day heroes.
06/05/2015 TUNISIA - ISLAM
Huge security measures as hundreds of Jews make Djerba pilgrimage.
Representatives from France, Italy and Britain are expected to visit the Ghriba synagogue, the oldest in Africa. Tunisia refutes Netanyahu’s claim of a "concrete terrorist threat". The country wants to reboot tourism, brought to a halt by the Arab Spring uprisings and attacks by terrorists.
Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card
In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.
Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists
Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.
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