Two items caught my interest this week. The first item struck my interest because it took place on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines where we were just giving talks a week ago. My friend the archbishop there has been working on dialog with the Muslims. I am dismayed when this is the way many radical Muslims dialog.
The second item: a Danish paper published cartoons caricaturizing the Prophet Mohammed. It has brought about a violent reaction around the world. I have posted the Vatican's comments on this situation.
I think the “Islam issue” will only escalate as they gain in numbers and power. How does the Christian world and the West negotiate and work with Muslims? That is a very crucial question as we enter this 3rd millennium.
Philippines: Terrorists Massacre Christians
Friday, February 03, 2006 12:00:00 AM GMT
A cold-blooded massacre of Christians in the Philippines, believed to be the work of Muslim terrorists, has raised fears of a full-scale religious conflict in the region around Mindanao, the AsiaNews service reports.
Gunmen broke into a farm in the small town of Patikul and killed six people, including a 9-month-old baby girl, after first having asked if they were Christians. Five others were wounded in the attack.
The gunmen were believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf organization, a Muslim extremist group with links to al Qaida. Muslim terrorists have been active in the region around Mindanao.
Vatican Condemns Cartoons of Mohammed
Also Denounces Violent Reaction of Muslim World
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 5, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See condemned the publication of caricatures of Mohammed in the Western press, as well as the violent reaction of the Muslim world.
Today in Damascus, Syrian, Muslim demonstrators torched the Norwegian Embassy and the building housing the Danish Embassy. This follows the publication in a Danish newspaper of what the protesters deemed to be 12 blasphemous cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed.
Thousands of angry Muslims protested in other cities, including Islamabad, Pakistan; Baghdad, Iraq; Khartoum, Sudan; Jakarta, Indonesia; and the Palestinian territories.
In an unsigned statement released by the Vatican press office Saturday, the Holy See stated: "The freedom of thought and expression, confirmed in the Declaration of Human Rights, can not include the right to offend religious feelings of the faithful. That principle obviously applies to any religion."
"This principle applies obviously to any religion," the Vatican said in response to several requests for the Church's position.
Coexistence, the statement continued, calls for "a climate of mutual respect to favor peace among men and nations."
The statement continued: "Moreover, these forms of exasperated criticism or derision of others manifest a lack of human sensitivity and may constitute in some cases an inadmissible provocation.
"A reading of history shows that wounds that exist in the life of peoples are not cured this way."
The Vatican clarified that the government cannot be held responsible for the actions of the press in its country, but the "authorities might and should intervene eventually according to the principles of national legislation."
The statement also acknowledges that "violent actions of protest are equally deplorable."
"Reaction in the face of offense cannot fail the true spirit of all religion," the Vatican said. "Real or verbal intolerance, no matter where it comes from, as action or reaction, is always a serious threat to peace." ZE06020504