Opinion: "Pope's Remarks Reveal Need for Dialogue"

September 17, 2006

Source: Muslim Wake Up!


On September 17, 2006 Muslim Wake Up! ran an opinion piece by Pamela Taylor, Co-Chair of the Progressive Muslim Union of North America and Director of the Islamic Writers Alliance. "When Pope Benedict XVI quoted, without clear disagreement, Byzantine Emperor Manuel II challenging a Muslim scholar by declaring that Prophet Muhammad brought nothing new except that it was evil and inhuman, it grieved my American Muslim heart that people today, even the leader of a great world religion who is supposedly very learned, can be so mistaken about the teachings of our Prophet. Worse than the Pope’s commentary was the fact that much of this misunderstanding can be laid at the feet of radical elements within the Muslim community. Most alarming, though, is the fact that the Pope, who has great sway over the opinions of the world’s 1 billion Catholics, seems ready to close the door on dialogue and discussion at a time when they are most needed... Rather than fanning the flames of conflict with a nasty jab at Prophet Muhammad, I wish the Pope had instead engaged in a serious dialogue with Muslims, as have the Midwest Council of Catholic Bishops and Focolare, which is a very successful international Catholic interfaith movement. While it is good that the Vatican’s spokespeople have said the Pope regrets that his remarks caused affront, it would be better if the Pope disavowed Manuel’s description of the Prophet, and called for further discussion with Muslims, both in order to understand one another better and to share ideas and strategies about how to tackle the problem of violence in the name of religion and the use of religious rhetoric for political ends."