Use of Defamatory Speech Contradicts Positive Steps on Dialogue
Following Pope Benedict XVI’s recent speech in Germany, in which His Holiness quoted defamatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from the 14th Century, the International Committee for the Support of the Final Prophet (ICSFP) released the following statement:
“The ICSFP expresses its dismay at the recent comments by Pope Benedict XVI, whose first year in the papacy has been marked by a sincere effort to engage in dialogue with all faiths and cultures, including Islam. ICSFP reiterates its commitment to further such dialogue, especially in light of these comments which portray the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in a historically unfair light.
“ICSFP calls on the Vatican to distance itself from comments that Islam was spread by violence and specifically that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) endorsed such a policy. A major figure of such stature must not quote remarks of another era to draw a comparison of modern-day terrorists to the Prophet.
“ICSFP is committed to advancing knowledge of Islam and the Prophet around the world. We at ICSFP also respect the efforts of the Catholic Church and other religions to spread their message in open and honest ways. But we must remind ourselves of how both religions enforce such efforts by the Qur’anic verse, “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:265) and the Biblical verse “...you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32).
“ICSFP welcomes renewed and reinvigorated dialogue with the Vatican and its representatives. In an era of division and conflict, we must reach out in an atmosphere of mutual respect and non-violence.”
“We hope to put this sordid chapter behind us and move forward to prevent extremists on both sides from exploiting the division,” stated ICSFP Chairman, Ali Jomaa.