Dr. Mattson Interview on CNN about the Pope's Visit to Turkey

November 29, 2006

Source: Islamic Society of North America Press Release


HARRIS: The pope in Turkey today with a message of reconciliation, but can he calm Christian-Muslim tensions after a speech that drew criticism from all corners of the Islamic world? Dr. Ingrid Mattson is the president of the Islamic Society of North American and she joins us from Washington.

Dr. Mattson, thanks for your time.


HARRIS: Hey, let's take you back and then let's move forward if we can. The pope quoted in September a Byzantine emperor, an obscure, 14th century, underline obscure, 14th century Byzantine emperor, talking about Islam, that Islam was violent and irrational. What was your reaction to the comments in September?

MATTSON: Well, certainly disappointment after all the progress the catholic church has made recently in interfaith relations and in engaging in dialogue with Muslims, that this speech really put us back -- set us back. Also what was disappointing is that really the first rule of interfaith dialogue is to try to seek as accurate information as possible about the other faiths and to let them characterize their faith. Doesn't mean that you can't question how their beliefs might impact you or express your anxieties about what their practices -- how they may affect your group, but to -- for the pope, who's not an Islamic theologian, to protect an image of Islamic theology as if that is the reality was problematic for me.