Is dialogue with Islam futile?

Is dialogue with Islam futile?

Fr. Raymond de Souza, writing in Canada’s National Post, says that Muslim rioters may be showing that dialogue with
Islam is futile.

Benedict was quoting a 14th-century Christian emperor, under siege from the Ottomans, defending the position that spreading religion by violence is contrary to the nature of God. The Emperor, quite reasonably given his circumstances, suggested to his Persian interlocutor such a view did not prevail in Islamic thought.

In response to this historical excursus in an academic lecture by one of the world’s most erudite theologians, we are witnessing a wave of madness and malice, no doubt an embarrassment to millions of Muslims.

... It does a disservice to children to call the wild-eyed statements and deranged behaviour of the past days childish.

It is not only the obscenity of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist terrorist band suppressed in several Muslim states, demanding an apology from anyone, let alone the Holy Father.

It is not only the grandstanding Pakistani politicians passing resolutions condemning a papal speech few read, and even fewer understood. It is not only the extraneous charges about the Holocaust and Hitler by the agitated and excited.

What really rankles Fr. de Souza is that this sort of action against the pope is nothing new and that for every act of goodwill and mention of esteem by Catholics, there are a dozen acts of disdain and rudeness from Muslim leaders.

When Pope John Paul II made his epic pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Palestinian Muslim representatives jostled him on the Temple Mount, shouted at him, and, in one episode of maximum rudeness, abandoned him on stage during an interfaith meeting. Bashir Assad, the Syrian President, treated him to an anti-Semitic rant when the late pope visited Syria. Catholic goodwill toward global Islam is severely attenuated by such continued maltreatment of our universal pastors.

When the other side sees you only as an infidel and holds you to a standard he doesn’t abide by himself, can there ever be a real dialogue?

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1 comment
  • Fr. deSouza is really a gifted writer. I bet today’s letters page in the Post has a bunch of OUTRAGED! nice, middle-class Muslims, probably from Alberta or Ontario, saying that Fr. deSouza doesn’t know what he’s talking about, that Catholicism has always been against Islam, in fact did you know what those Crusaders did? . . . these things just write themselves, really.

    . . . Okay, well, I went and checked. There’s an angry letter from a Quebecker (by the name, may be an ex-Catholic – lots of those in Quebec), Pope should have apologized for historical sins. Then there’s a letter, The Pope’s call for dialogue, which notes that the “headline seems to suggest that Pope Benedict was the perpetrator and the Muslim world the victim”. He ends:

    Pope Benedict has already expressed regret that his remarks may have offended Muslims. His religious convictions would not allow him to do otherwise. Now, can we expect the other side to graciously accept that and perhaps start a dialogue? Sadly, I do not think this is likely to happen.

    Well, maybe the Muslims will show up tomorrow.