Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Magister: The Regensburg Effect

Sandro Magister comments on the open letter to Pope Benedict from 38 Muslim scholars in his his newsletter.
Instead of saying they are offended and demanding apologies, they express their respect for him and dialogue with him on faith and reason. They disagree on many points. But they also criticize those Muslims who want to impose, with violence, “utopian dreams in which the end justifies the means”
And not only that. They condemn with very strong words the assassination that took place in Somalia, in Muslim Mogadishu, of sister Leonella Sgorbati, thereby linking this to the protests that were at their peak at the time:

“We must state that the murder on September 17th of an innocent Catholic nun in Somalia – and any other similar acts of wanton individual violence – 'in reaction to' the lecture at the University of Regensburg, is completely un-Islamic, and we totally condemn such acts.”

The authors of the letter appreciate Benedict XVI’s desire for dialogue and take very seriously his theses. “Applaud” pope's “efforts to oppose the dominance of positivism and materialism in human life,” while contest him on other points, adding their reasons for their opposition.

In this sense, the letter signed by the 38 – together with the preceding essay by Aref Ali Nayed, previewed by www.chiesa on October 4 – goes towards what the pope meant to accomplish with his audacious lecture in Regensburg: to encourage, within the Muslim world as well, public reflection that would separate faith from violence and link it to reason instead. Because, in the pope’s view, it is precisely the “reasonableness” of the faith that is the natural terrain of encounter between Christianity and the various other religions and cultures.

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