Pope in Paris

Pope discusses “the poles of subjective arbitrariness and fundamentalist fanaticism”

The light of Islam shines on Paris (archive-photo)

But Muslims lament that he did not spend more time talking about “dialogue” and “shared values.” “Pope speaks to Muslims, others, about faith,” by Frances D’Emilio, for AP  via DW with comments by Raymond Ibrahim:

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PARIS (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI denounced fundamentalist fanaticism as he addressed cultural figures, including Muslim leaders, at the start of a French pilgrimage Friday, which enflamed debate in Paris over the influence religion should have on politics. 


His meeting later with representatives from the world of culture coincided with the second anniversary of his Regensburg, Germany, speech that incensed many in the Muslim world with its comments on Islam’s relation to violence.

Several Muslim leaders were among the 600 guests invited to listen to the pope in the College des Bernadins, a former monastery that was a temple of learning for medieval Christian monks.


The pontiff extended best wishes to the Muslim leaders for the holy season of Ramadan, but refrained from making any reference to his Regensburg speech. Benedict has said he regretted any offense that speech might have caused in the Muslim world.

At the end of the encounter, Benedict grasped the hands of the Muslim leaders as they approached him one by one and warmly greeted each one.

His speech explored dilemmas in society today, specifically the pulls between what he called “the poles of subjective arbitrariness and fundamentalist fanaticism.”

It would be a disaster if today’s European culture could only conceive freedom as absence of obligation, which would inevitably play into the hands of fanaticism and arbitrariness,” Benedict said.


Muslim leaders said they were impressed by the pope’s high-flying intellectual discourse but said they had hoped to hear concrete answers to the divide between Muslim and Christian communities.

Because, you see, the “divide” is all the Christians’ fault — even if Islam has an entire doctrinecommanding this divide, which one would “hope to hear concrete answers to” from Muslims.

“We would have liked also that he give a few signs on the Islamic-Christian dialogue, on the church’s mission, which is to reach out to others, and on our shared values,” said the rector of the Paris Mosque, Dalil Boubakeur…


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