As an American Muslim activist, it may shock you to find out that I’m absolutely enthralled with the appointment of the new pope.
That’s Maha ElGenaidi, founder of ING, the Islamic Networks Group, writing at the Huffington Post. Commenting on the sometimes rocky relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and Muslims, she recalls the unfortunate Regensberg lecture, in which Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI quoted a Byzantine Emperor saying that Muhammad had brought only “what is evil and inhuman” to the world. Benedict insisted that this was not his opinion, but much good will was lost in the furor.
Maha notes that one of the voices of dissent at that time came from then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, who declared, “Pope Benedict’s statement don’t reflect my own opinions. These statements will serve to destroy in 20 seconds the careful construction of a relationship with Islam that Pope John Paul II built over the last twenty years”.
Relations with local Catholic leaders have been cordial, but more recently, ING hosted a meeting with San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath and local Muslim leaders. Plans are in the works to bring together the Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim communities for interfaith service days, offering an opportunity for people of the diverse faith traditions to volunteer together in service, share a meal, and get to know one another more deeply.
Read the full article here.