The Muslim-Christian dialogue - II

The Muslim-Christian dialogue - II
  • Publish date:15/01/2014
  • Section:Islam
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In reply to your demand to allow Christians in Saudi Arabia to both perform their prayers and build churches in the same manner Muslim minorities are given such religious freedom, we would like to call your attention to a great deal of fallacy in this comparison:    

1. Muslim minorities in the West are mostly indigenous. A significant part of their population acquired citizenship while the rest are permanently-residing landed immigrants. It is a fallacy, therefore, to compare work groups contracted for a limited period and subject to conditions of their contracts with the indigenous Muslims or those who have acquired citizenship in the West.

2. Muslim minorities in the West, excluding the Vatican of course, enjoy less freedom than the Christian minorities in most Muslim countries such as Egypt, Syria, Turkey and others as they (Muslim minorities in the West) still suffer from harassment in the simplest of its religious privacy and practices such as veiling and education in schools and universities. You must have learned that some universities in the West have started to confine certain scientific fields of specialisation to indigenous Christians!

3. Another fallacy appears in your saying that the Muslims in Rome, the cradle of the Catholic Denomination, were permitted to build a large mosque and cultural centre and this would require that Muslims would act in kind. Rome is the capital of Italy and is neither a capital of the Vatican nor a part of its geographical exclusivity. What is acceptable is a comparison between Italy and Egypt, for instance, where churches and Papal Councils are in Cairo and Alexandria. Comparisons can be made also with Istanbul, Damascus, Morocco, and many Muslim counties.

4. You have also asked the following question: "Are some Gulf countries as well as Yemen not but a part of the Arabian Peninsula and, therefore, a part of the geographical exclusivity of Islam? If the answer is in the affirmative, then why have Muslims of these countries accepted churches being built on their territory? Does this not mean that exclusivity is a Saudi understanding not shared by the rest of Muslims even in neighbouring Arabian Peninsula countries?"

Indeed Yemen and the Gulf countries form a part of the Arab Peninsula and, thus, are included in the geographical exclusivity of Islam. These countries have the same firm belief as the Saudis in this principle but, unlike Saudi Arabia, they at a certain time of their history were subjected to British and other imperialism and thus became unable to have their suzerainty over their own religious and political affairs. In such circumstances, imperialism, in a direct challenge to the will of their people, built these churches out of its wish to reaffirm its political presence through a reaffirmation of its religious presence.

Therefore, the people in these countries did not in reality permit the building of these churches. The real builder was in fact British imperialism, which contravened the norms, traditions and faith of these subjugated people. However, with the grace of Allah, the middle of the Peninsula, i.e. Saudi Arabia was immune from any foreign imperialism. Throughout its history, it has remained governed by its own people, who are strict adherents of Islam, thanks to Allah. Saudi Arabia, consequently, was not subject to the violations which beset the fringes of the Arab Peninsula. We would like to confirm that it has beforehand been agreed not to tackle cases of certain countries but general cases.

5. Having replied candidly to your questions, we also have our own queries (regarding, inter alia), the following issues:

1- You know that we always confirm, through crystal-clear texts from the Quran and the Sunnah, our firm belief in all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah and all their Holy Books. This firm belief is part and parcel of our conviction in the Holy Quran and our Prophet. However, we have so far neither heard nor read any declaration from your side about your belief that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) (may Allah exalt his mention) is the Prophet of Allah and Seal of Messengers, that the Holy Quran is a divine book which represents Allah's complete religion, and contains what had been revealed before, to all Messengers.

The Second Ecumenical Lodge issued, however, a statement describing Muslims as people of faith and that, on the Day of the Hereafter, they are saved. But this is a general statement which is nowhere from real recognition of Islam and Muslims. Accordingly, you are asked to clearly proclaim your belief in Muhammad as a Prophet and Messenger, that he is the Seal of all Prophets and Messengers, that the Holy Quran is a true book of Allah and that it is the ending Message containing all divine teachings to mankind.

2- You believe that the Jews harmed the Messiah, attacked him and, according to you, they even crucified him. They also harmed his mother, Virgin Mary, accused her of prostitution and of dishonour. Yet, we do not find a single Evangelist mission from you among the Jews! You even went as far as absolving them from Christ's blood and from crucifixion, which is against your own belief and religious emblem, the cross, symbol of Christ's tragedy with the Jews. Compare this attitude with the thousands of missions sent by you to Muslim societies with the view to proselyte Muslims or to keep them away from Islam! Is this how you have rewarded our belief in Jesus, and his blessed mother and our reverence to his divine message?

3- You very much highlighted news of Christian minorities in the Islamic and Arab World, and demanded more freedoms and rights for them. We, however, have not heard you uttering one single word concerning calamities from which the Christian Palestinians in occupied Palestine (in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jerusalem and others) are suffering. This takes place at a time when they are exposed to semi-genocide. Most of them have left their homes. Their churches have been destroyed. They have been deprived from practicing their rituals. Archbishop Kapuchi is now a refugee in Rome, after being expelled from Palestine. There are even others like him such as Archbishops Qarmash, Johan, and others. Is your overlooking of the tragedy of the Christians in Palestine not a kind of sympathy with the Jews on the expense of the rights of Muslims and Christians in Palestine?

4- Jews have contravened the sacredness of Abraham's Shrine which is attributed to the father of Prophets, Ibraaheem (Abraham), may Allah exalt his mention. They have killed Muslims while performing their prayers, shed blood, torn and trodden Holy Quran books but we did not hear any word of condemnation from you or at least a journalistic query of condolences to Muslims regarding the most atrocious massacre and attack on the faith and faithful in Palestine!

Does this not demonstrate your sympathy with the Jews at the expense of Muslims and their religious and national rights in Palestine?

5- How do you justify the American Congress' decision of making Jerusalem an eternal capital for Israel as a result of the large demonstration organised by the American Churches including Catholic and non-Catholic ones? About one million of these churches' followers participated in the above demonstration. Consequently, how do you want us to understand this integration between the Church's attitude and that of the Congress? Is this not a clear demonstration of hatred to Islam and Muslims as far as their most immediate affairs are concerned? The Vatican did not issue any denunciation regarding this damaging stance about the Muslims of the world, which constitutes a flagrant attack on the rights of Palestinian Christians and Muslims. Is this not a clear alignment with the increasing Jewish aggression and injustices?  

6- Had it not been that you opened up this venue of dialogue, we would not have reacted in kind. However, we are fully prepared to present the many examples of wrongs in the Christians' stance about Islam and Muslims. We are equally prepared to answer all your written questions. We have no feeling of embarrassment vis-à-vis any query, be it religious, cultural or historical. We hope that you have same level of preparedness and non-embarrassment with regards to any questions addressed to you about your religious values or your past and present attitudes about Islam and Muslims.

Muslim -Christian dialogue -I

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