The Islamic Reply to Pope Benedict
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In response to the speech made by Pope Benedict XVI at Regensburg in September (Meditation 531 & 532 refer), 38 leading Muslim religious scholars and leaders from around the world sent the Pope an open letter.
The letter makes several points to counter the Pope's arguments including:
- There is no forced conversion in Islam
- There has been a long tradition of the use of reason in Islam
- Islam has rules of war
- Non-combatants are not permitted or legitimate targets.
- Religious belief alone does not make anyone the object of attack.
- Muslims can and should live peacefully with their neighbors.
I think it's great the 38 leading Islamic scholars from 25 countries representing the 8 major schools of Islam can reach agreement on these points; particularly as Islam lacks any central authority comparable with that in many Christian denominations. But what are they doing about it other than writing to the Pope?
Are they informing Muslims around the world that this is official Muslim doctrine?
Are they requesting that the letter read and explained in every mosque?
Are they making this interpretation of Islamic teaching part of the curriculum at Islamic schools, madrassahs, and terrorist training camps?
Are they denouncing in no uncertain terms those Muslims who continue to make a mockery of the points in the letter by preaching the exact opposite?
Are they demanding the Muslims stop killing each other solely because of they belong to different Muslim sects?
The letter is no more than a smoke screen. It denies the reality of what continues to be preached to millions of Muslims around the world.