Top Sunni cleric, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, denies that there is in the Middle East there is persecution of Christians. He said in an interview with Vatican Radio and L’Osservatore Romano.
The interview followed the summit, Monday , between Al-Tayeb and Pope Francis at the Vatican. Thereby the relations were restored that were broken in 2011 by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in Cairo.
Following the ancient world was the repeated call of Pope Benedict XVI to states to adequately protect religious minorities and ensure their freedom of religion. The pope had mentioned include the situation of Coptic Christians in Egypt endured a wave of violence that killed dozens were killed and wounded.
The criticism of the pope as “interference in internal affairs” settled and formed the Al-Ahzar reason to break off the talks with the Vatican.
In the interview after the in cordial atmosphere expired meeting with Pope Francis condemns Al-Tayeb terror and bloodshed in the name of religion, and he denies any relation with Islam. “Yes, terrorism exists, but Islam has nothing to do with it. (…) Those who murder Muslims and Christians murder have knowingly or unknowingly misunderstood the texts of Islam, “said Al-Tayeb.
No Christian persecution
“I would say that the case should not be presented as persecution of Christians in the East. But there are contrary more Muslim victims than Christians and we all suffer from this catastrophe, “and he continued.” We are a different direction religions should not blame for the deviations of some of their followers, because each religion exists which flag hoisting religion to murder in its name. ”
Does he believe it himself?
The ruling Al-Tayeb elicits US vaticanist John Allen whether this “really believe” that no “specific anti-Christian popular with many variants of Islamic radicalism”? “For example in the more militant sectors of the Muslim Brotherhood in his own Egypt where Copts routinely complain about harassment, violence and discrimination?”
Allen wonders if the ruling Al-Tayeb called “plausible” is now many international institutions, including the US State Department acknowledged that there was “genocide of Christians.” The internationally renowned vaticanist has deepened in recent years the phenomenon of Christian persecution and published a book about it.
Statistically true that most victims of Islamist violence are other Muslims, said Allen. “Especially because in the areas where it occurs more Muslims live than anyone. When militants committing random attacks is likely that Muslims are over-represented among the victims. ”
“If Al-Tayeb mean to say that Christians and moderate Muslims actually in the same boat then it is no more than a literal description of the situation.”
On the other hand, Al-Tayebs commentary also be understood as a denial of a specific threat to Christians in the Middle East and a warning that it is not conducive to the cause of peace and understanding to suggest that there is, thus Allen.
“If it is Pope Francis somewhat of a dilemma,” the vaticanist concludes.
Egyptian Jesuit and Islam expert Samir Khalil Samir SJ has repeatedly pointed out that a raging battle within Islam between different currents. Wahhabism and Salafism preach violence and repression and shall be financed from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In a recent analysis Samir notes that this view also appears in the curriculum of the Al-Azhar because Saudi Arabia is one of the main financiers.
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