STATEMENT BY THE ICYF-DC ON POPE XVI. BENEDICT’S STATEMENT ON ISLAM

H.H. Benedict XVI, the Pope in his lecture given on Tuesday 12 September 2006 at the University of Regensburg in Germany, entitled “Faith, Reason, and the University Memories and Reflections”, has characterized Prophet Mohamed (Peace Be Upon Him), as a person “spreading” Islam “by the sword” , who brought “evil” and “inhuman things”, quoting from Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus’ thoughts . While forcing such quotation defined by the Pope himself as “marginal to the dialogue as a whole” into his lecture he failed separate his position from that of the medieval ruler in the midst of battle for preservation of his political power.

   Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC) expresses its deep regret regarding such an offending remarks by Pope Benedict XVI responsible for ideological impact of his words on millions around the world as a head of one of the largest Christian congregation.

   On the one hand, Pope’s thoughts reflected ignorance of the basic tenets of Islam as well as distortion of facts regarding the birth and spread of Islam as religion of peace and love. Thus criticizing the jihad as a whole in his lecture he showed a lack of knowledge regarding the nature of wars during the days of the Holy Prophet, defensive in nature and framed by such humanitarian laws which still have no equivalence in any moral or legal tradition.

Regarding these false and offending remarks ICYF-DC expresses its hope that the Pope’s thoughts are not expression of Vatican’s official viewpoint on Islam’s principles, and we will hear official statements by Vatican that reflect its true position regarding the issue

   ICYF-DC also calls on Muslims throughout the world, in particularly Muslim youth not to be dragged into extreme and radical reactions by those who might want to use these provocative declaration in order to spill a new phase of clash of civilizations and fire tension between religions as it happened during the infamous caricature crisis and as it resulted in innocent lives becoming victims to such a clashes.

   We live in the world, where dialogue of civilizations and religions is a must for global survival and very existence of human civilization at large. In this sense, we hope that tireless efforts of true commanders of human spirit such as deceased Paul VI, the former Pope towards the maintaining of dialogue will not remain on paper and be a real incentive to prevent the misunderstanding of principles of different religions, divide the bridges and overcome negative shadow of the past.