Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

News in Brief: Christian Scholars Apologize for Crusades

Expand Messages
  • Zafar Khan
    Christian Scholars Apologize for Crusades Tue. Nov. 27, 2007
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2007
      Christian Scholars Apologize for Crusades
      Tue. Nov. 27, 2007


      CAIRO — Reciprocating a goodwill gesture by 138 Muslim
      scholars, more than 300 Christian scholars and
      clergymen from across the globe have signed a letter
      apologizing to Muslims for the Crusades and the
      repercussions of America's so-called war on terror.
      "We want to begin by acknowledging that in the past
      (e.g. in the Crusades) and in the present (e.g. in
      excesses of the war on terror) many Christians have
      been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbors,"
      says the letter made available to the press at a news
      conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday, November 26.

      "Before we 'shake your hand' in responding to your
      letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and
      of the Muslim community around the world," added the
      "Loving God and Neighbor Together" letter.

      The Crusades were a series of military conflicts of a
      religious character waged by much of Christian Europe
      during 1095–1291, most of which were sanctioned by the
      Pope of the Roman Catholic Church to originally
      capture Al-Quds from Muslim rule.

      The Vatican has never apologized for the Christian

      "It is an unprecedented gesture to bridge the gap
      between Muslims and Christians, who make up 55 percent
      of the world's population," Muslim preacher Al-Habib
      Ali Al-Jafri told the press conference.

      Early October, 138 Muslim scholars and dignitaries,
      including Jafri, sent a letter to the world's
      Christian clergy, including Pope Benedict XVI, for
      dialogue based on common essentials between Islam and

      The call has already won plaudits from many
      non-Catholic leaders, including Anglican Archbishop of
      Canterbury Rowan Williams, Lutheran World Federation
      head Bishop Mark Hanson, World Council of Churches
      head Rev.Samuel Kobia and US Presbyterian Church head
      Clifton Kirkpatrick.

      Roman Catholic cardinals said Sunday, November 25, the
      Vatican will have a positive response in the near

      Actions not Words

      The signatories of the new letter, mostly clergymen
      from the United States, said they were deeply
      "encouraged" and "challenged" by the Muslim letter.

      "We receive the open letter as a Muslim hand of
      conviviality and cooperation extended to Christians
      world-wide," they wrote.

      "In this response we extend our own Christian hand in
      return, so that together with all other human beings
      we may live in peace and justice as we seek to love
      God and our neighbors."

      Miroslav Volf, founder and director of the Yale Center
      for Faith and Culture who compiled the response
      letter, said they hope to narrow all differences
      between Muslims and Christians.

      He hopes the Muslim and Christian letters would serve
      as a springboard for a more serious and respectful
      rather than a "polite ecumenical" dialogue between the
      two religions.

      "We are persuaded that our next step should be for our
      leaders at every level to meet together and begin the
      earnest work of determining how God would have us
      fulfill the requirement that we love God and one

      Al-Jafri, the Muslim preacher, said Muslims would take
      more positive steps in the days to come.

      "We will hold more conferences and meetings at all
      levels to enrich inter-faith dialogue."

      Click to Read the Letter

      Pope agrees to talks with Muslim leaders
      John Hooper in Rome
      Saturday December 1, 2007
      The Guardian


      Pope Benedict has invited leading Islamic authorities
      to discuss a letter they sent to Christian leaders
      last month urging a search for common moral ground.
      The pontiff's formal reaction was made public
      yesterday as the Vatican published his latest
      encyclical, in which he said atheism had "led to the
      greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice".

      Replying to Prince Ghazi of Jordan, who arranged for
      the letter to be sent to the Pope, Cardinal Tarcisio
      Bertone said Benedict felt deep appreciation for the
      initiative, "for the positive spirit which inspired
      the text and for the call for a common commitment to
      promoting peace".

      The original letter, signed by 138 Muslim religious
      authorities, had invited Christian representatives "to
      come together with us on the common essentials of our
      two religions", and warned that the survival of the
      world could be at stake if they failed.
      When the Vatican did not immediately respond, there
      were fears it might not wish to take part. But Bertone
      assured the prince that "we can and therefore should
      look to what unites us".

      He said the Pope had been "particularly impressed by
      the attention given in the letter to the twofold
      commandment to love God and one's neighbour". He
      proposed a joint working group that would include
      officials from the Vatican department for
      inter-religious dialogue.

      The Pope's second encyclical dealt primarily with the
      Christian understanding of hope. But some passages
      appeared to be directed at the readers of such
      bestsellers as Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion and
      Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great. Benedict
      acknowledged that atheism had begun as a "type of
      moralism", rooted in the idea that a good God could
      not have made such an unjust world. But he said a
      "world which has to create its own justice is a world
      without hope".

      Wrongly arrested brother of 9/11 suspect wins damages
      for wrong arrest
      By Ben Russell, Political Correspondent
      Published: 01 December 2007


      The brother of a pilot wrongly accused of training the
      11 September 2001 hijackers has succeeded in a High
      Court bid to win damages for wrongful arrest.

      Mohamed Raissi, whose brother Lotfi was the first
      person accused of taking part in the attacks in New
      York and Washington, secured victory after claiming he
      was falsely imprisoned and unlawfully arrested days
      after the attacks.

      Mr Justice McCombe ruled in favour of Mohamed Raissi
      yesterday, announcing that "there will be judgment in
      his favour for damages to be assessed".

      But a similar claim by his brother's wife, Sonia, was
      rejected. Mrs Raissi and Mohamed Raissi were each
      seeking damages in excess of £150,000 in the action.

      Lotfi Raissi was arrested 10 days after 11 September
      following an extradition request from the United
      States. He and his wife were living in Colnbrook,
      Berkshire, at the time. He was released in February
      2002 and a judge ruled that there was "no evidence"
      that he was connected to the 11 September attacks or
      any form of terrorism. His wife and brother were also
      arrested. Mrs Raissi, a French-born dancer who was
      working as an Air France customer service agent at
      Heathrow Airport, was released without charge after
      five days.

      Mohamed Raissi, now 35, was arrested at his home in
      Hounslow and held for about 42 hours before also being
      released without charge. The Metropolitan Police
      denied liability and were granted permission to

      In February, Lotfi Raissi lost his High Court battle
      for compensation after judges said it did not qualify
      for an award despite being held for nearly five months
      at Belmarsh Prison.

      Yesterday Mr Justice McCombe said the only issue in
      each case "is as to the reasonableness or otherwise"
      of the grounds on which each of the arresting officers
      acted. He said the question to be answered was:
      "Assuming the officer had the necessary suspicion was
      there reasonable cause for suspicion?"

      In the case of Mrs Raissi, he ruled that the factors
      that the arresting officer had in mind "amply
      justified the arrest". He said: "She had been with him
      in a foreign country at a time when he might well have
      been thought to have been engaged, at the same time
      and at the same location, in the very training which
      was being undergone by one of the known perpetrators
      of the atrocities."

      Mr Justice McCombe ruled that Mohamed Raissi's case
      was "quite different" although he said he had "not the
      slightest doubt" that the officer acted in "a
      professional manner". He said: "He was simply thought
      to be the close brother of a major suspect and the two
      lived geographically fairly close to each other; each
      had access to the home of the other in this country."
      The judge ruled: "In my judgment those grounds were
      not sufficient to justify the arrest."

      Ahead of summit, Indonesia plants 79 million trees to
      boost its green credentials


      Indonesia has embarked on a grand scheme to plant 79
      million trees in an attempt to boost its green
      credentials ahead of a United Nations climate change
      summit it is hosting in Bali next week.

      President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was
      photographed this week planting saplings with
      government ministers, declared that "illegal logging
      is our biggest enemy" and added: "We will show
      Indonesia's strong commitment and action to preserve
      the environment and save our planet."

      Environmentalists, however, were unimpressed. In
      recent years, Indonesia has been destroying its
      forests at a faster rate than any other country. As a
      consequence, it has the dubious distinction of being
      the world's third-biggest producer of greenhouse
      gases, behind the US and China.

      As for its commitment to cracking down on illegal
      logging, which is a massive problem in Indonesia, one
      of the nation's most notorious timber barons, Adelin
      Lis, recently walked free from court in the city of
      Medan and promptly fled, possibly abroad, to avoid
      further charges.

      Muslim Barbers Make Time for Brotherhood, Prayer


      Inside Hyde Park Barber Studio, Abdul Karim Shakir
      usually greets every customer with his friendly
      street-style embrace.

      "What's up, brother? Come on, I got you right here,"
      he says, slapping a black leather chair as a welcome.

      As he turns on his electric clippers and tends to the
      cut, the free flow of conversation begins, ranging
      from intellectual topics in religion and politics to
      "Who's hogging the Cheese Nips?" and "What's for lunch
      today?" But at specific moments, the buzz of the
      clippers and the loud banter all stop for one thing:
      Muslim prayers.

      At this historic barbershop, the latest incarnation of
      an 80-year-old operation that has groomed and shaved
      men from boxing great Muhammad Ali to the late Mayor
      Harold Washington, four of the five barbers are devout
      African-American Muslims who pray five times a day in
      the back room.

      The shop, formerly known as the Hyde Park Hair Salon,
      was ousted last year from its old location on 53rd
      Street as part of a University of Chicago
      redevelopment plan, which led to a split and two
      barbers breaking away.

      This fall, the business reopened in a new location and
      under a new name, but the shop retains its laid-back
      atmosphere and subtle spiritual dimension. The reborn
      business now fills an unlikely niche in which haircuts
      and faith combine to form a popular community space.

      Christians, Jews, and Muslims Give Thanks Together


      (Rochester, N.Y.) AP - Christians, Jews and Muslims
      gathered in worship together Thursday in Rochester's
      annual interfaith Thanksgiving service.

      It was the 133rd time leaders and followers of
      different faiths have come together to celebrate

      Organizers believe makes it the oldest such continuous
      observance in the nation.

      This year's gathering was held at the Temple Beth El
      on Winton Road South.

      Rabbi Matthew Field of the host congregation says the
      service enables participants to be more conscious of
      the ways in which their lives have been blessed.

      Money raised during the service benefit Rochester
      Roots, an organization committed to the creation of a
      locally based sustainable food system, and the
      American Jewish World Service, whose aim is
      alleviating poverty abroad regardless of race,
      religion or nationality.

      Muslim Scholars Seek Reconciliation with Christians


      It is called A Common Word Between Us and You. It is a
      letter, signed last month by 138 Muslim scholars from
      around the world and addressed to Pope Benedict and
      other Christian leaders. It stresses the importance of
      finding common ground between the two faiths.
      Priscilla Huff reports.

      From Friday prayers in a mosque in Iran to Sunday
      services in a church in middle America, different days
      and places of worship divide Islamic and Christian

      Conflict between Islam and Christianity has existed
      for centuries.

      And the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on the United
      States in 2001, and the U.S.-led response in
      Afghanistan and Iraq have strained relations even
      more. Now, representatives from Islam are hoping a
      piece of paper can begin to resolve the differences.

      Sayyid Syeed of the Islamic Society of North America
      explains the genesis of the letter. "The letter
      begins with a verse from the Koran. It says, go ahead
      and invite your brothers and sisters from the people
      of the book, that is, the Jews and Christians, and
      emphasize – unite – on your common word."

      Bin Laden: Europe must quit Afghanistan


      The al-Qaida leader, Osama bin Laden, called on
      European governments to end their military cooperation
      with the US in Afghanistan in a new audio message
      broadcast today.
      With his fifth public message this year, bin Laden
      sought to exploit tensions between European capitals
      and Washington over the ongoing Nato military campaign
      in Afghanistan.

      He reiterated that he was responsible for the
      September 11 attacks on the US, not the Taliban, who
      ruled Afghanistan at the time.

      "The American tide is ebbing," he said in a message
      addressed directly to the European public. "It is
      better for you to restrain your politicians who are
      thronging the steps of the White House."

      Robert Fisk: A different venue, but the pious claims
      and promises are the same


      Haven't we been here before? Isn't Annapolis just a
      repeat of the White House lawn and the Oslo agreement,
      a series of pious claims and promises in which two
      weak men, Messrs Abbas and Olmert, even use the same
      words of Oslo.

      "It is time for the cycle of blood, violence and
      occupation to end," the Palestinian President Mahmoud
      Abbas said on Tuesday. But don't I remember Yitzhak
      Rabin saying on the White House lawn that, "it is time
      for the cycle of blood... to end"?

      Jerusalem and its place as a Palestinian and Israeli
      capital isn't there. And if Israel receives
      acknowledgement that it is indeed an Israeli state –
      and in reality, of course, it is – there can be no
      "right of return" for hundreds of thousands of
      Palestinians who fled (or whose families fled) what
      became Israel in 1948.

      And what am I to make of the following quotation from
      the full text of the joint document: "The steering
      committee will develop a joint work plan and establish
      and oversee the work of negotiations (sic) teams to
      address all issues, to be headed by one lead
      representative from each party." Come again?

      Archbishop thrown into row over US Middle East policy

      · Muslim magazine hardens thrust of wide interview
      · Conservative Christians hit back at Williams


      Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, found
      himself plunged into political controversy yesterday
      after remarks made during the course of a wide-ranging
      interview for a Muslim magazine were translated into
      an all-out attack on American policy in the Middle
      The archbishop told Emel magazine in what it described
      as "a series of profound views expressed in serene
      tranquillity" that the US had lost the moral high
      ground since the terrorist attacks of September 11
      2001, and that Washington's attempts to accumulate
      influence and control in the region were not working.

      He was quoted as saying: "It is one thing to take over
      a territory and then pour energy and resources into
      administering it and normalising it. Rightly or
      wrongly, that's what the British empire did - in
      India, for example. It is another thing to go in on
      the assumption that a quick burst of violent action
      will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on
      and other people will put things back together - Iraq,
      for example."
      The Sunday Times interpreted the remarks as implying
      that the US was the "worst" imperialist nation and
      that the crisis was caused by its actions and its
      misguided sense of its own mission.

      Lawyers Targeted in India Blasts


      LUCKNOW, India — At least 13 people, including many
      lawyers, were killed in a series of near-simultaneous
      blasts outside courthouses in three cities in northern
      India on Friday, November 23.
      "I believe it is the handiwork of groups who are
      trying to spread terror in our country," said junior
      Home Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, reported Reuters.

      Nine people were killed in Varanasi, one of India's
      most sacred Hindu cities, in the populous state of
      Uttar Pradesh.

      Four people were killed in Faizabad while there were
      no casualties in the state capital Lucknow.

      At least 59 people were also wounded in the blasts.

      True Islam Image in London Conf.


      LONDON — Bringing 50,000 Muslims from around the
      world, the third Global Peace and Unity (GPU)
      conference opens in the British capital London on
      Saturday, November 24, with a focus on correcting
      stereotypes on Islam and British Muslims.
      "The Global Peace and Unity is an opportunity to
      present a true image of British Muslims amid a torrent
      of negative media reports," GUP director Mohamed Ali
      told IslamOnline.net.

      "When Islamophobia is on the upswing in Britain, such
      meetings are of vital importance," added Ali, also
      president of Islam Channel, the organizer.

      The two-day gathering, held at the Excel Conference
      and Exhibition Center, brings together luminaries and
      celebrity guests from the four corners of the globe.

      Prominent among attendees are Egyptian preacher Amr
      Khaled and Saudi scholar Sheikh Salman Al-Oudah.

      Celebrity Muslim singers will also take part in the
      event including Yusuf Islam, Jermaine Jackson, brother
      of US pop star Michael Jackson, and Malikah Shabazz,
      the daughter of Malcolm X.

      Also attending are British government officials,
      including Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair.

      "We seek to liaise with British authorities and
      parliamentarians, and send the message that there is
      no contradiction whatsoever between being a devout
      Muslim and a good British citizen," said Ali.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.