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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
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[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

No He Didn't...Oh Yes He Did: Francis to Islam "Salam aleikum"

No He Didn't...Oh Yes He Did: Francis to Islam "Salam aleikum"
One World Religion Watch: “By saying - Salam aleikum -Francis has touched our hearts”
Professor Mohammad Sammak, the only Muslim to have participated in two Synods, is convinced the meeting in Cairo has marked a fundamental starting point. He emphasizes the importance of the Pope’s Arabic greetings

The only Muslim to attend two Synods, the one on Lebanon wanted by Pope John Paul II and that on the Middle East wanted by Pope Benedict XVI, Lebanese Professor Mohammad Sammak, Secretary General of the Spiritual Islam Summit, who was also present at the Peace Summit of Cairo, sees the meeting set in the Egyptian capital as the culmination of the work previously done by Christians and Muslims.

“That’s right, this meeting in Cairo was made possible thanks to work that has been previously done. From the Synod of 2010 on the Middle East two very clear urges emerged: the first on citizenship rights, that must be equal for all, and the second on religious freedom (HERESY), or more simply on freedom. In the past few years the Al-Azhar University has produced two papers of absolute value on the indispensability of religious freedom and equal citizenship, the latter being the result of a meeting in Cairo at the end of February 2017. Reason why this peace meeting has taken place without the need for discussion or clarification on these two fundamental aspects. I would then like to point out two very fundamental aspects. This peace encounter, along with the very important presence of Pope Francis, has also seen the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, other Christian world leaders, authoritative rabbis, prominent figures of Hinduism, Buddhism, and so on. And all this happened in Cairo, today’s Cairo. Let’s imagine the importance of such an event. As extremely important was that Pope Francis insisted on saying, “Salam aleikum,” which means, “peace be with you”, to all of us present at his speech. These words entail a religious duty for us: to wish for peace to the other ... And the Pope has said this to us all in our language. This really has touched the hearts and minds of, I really think I can say of all the participants.”

Pope Francis also used an expression in his speech at the presidential palace that I believe dates back to the post-colonial Arab era: “al-din lillah wal watan liljami” – religion belongs to God and the nation to all”. Has this reference also touched people’s hearts?
“Yes, this slogan, which I think goes back to the years before Egypt’s independence and has been used in every Arab country, has struck, because it refers to the misunderstandings that can be generated and the desire to overcome them. It is a constant reference to the risks of falling into opposites and the will to overcome them. That is why quoting this Arab saying was certainly important.”

Pope Francis used very strict words against populism. What are your impressions on this explicit reference?
“These were important words, which I think have been well understood by those, who like me, come from a Middle Eastern country, because even though referring to a particularly widespread phenomenon happening in European countries, it is a well-known and widespread phenomenon even here. Because populists are the ones who try to unite by excluding the other. So that of Pope Francis was a clear speech, understood and evaluated, I believe, by the whole audience.”

After meetings like the one in Cairo, someone always perceives it as just being a photo-opportunity while others hope it was “the final turning point”. What impression did you have?
“I want to be very transparent with you. The turning point we need is still ahead of us, the problems we face are enormous. But it is exactly for these reasons that, I think the meeting marks a starting point, a good starting point, which encourages us to move forward with similar determination.”

One last point. There has been some controversy over al-Azhar’s being on some sort of double binary: on one way, he shows some kind of opening in the official documents, on the other, closure when it comes to al-Azhar’s curricula...
“I have to say by direct experience that lately al-Azhar’s university has invested heavily in the renewal of its curricula and in opening up. And after the double tremendous massacre of the Coptic faithful in Egypt, the great imam al-Tayyeb said about these criminals: “Who of those terrorists or their mentors has graduated from us?” I think it’s right to acknowledge him with what has been done”.

Fr Hesse: Vatican II and Muslims  

"For when they shall say, peace and security; then shall sudden destruction come upon them, as the pains upon her that is with child, and they shall not escape."
[1 Thessalonians 5:3]

Fr. Kramer "Apostate Antipope Francis & One World Religion"