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Pell affirms commitment to dialogue with Muslims


Sydney's Cardinal George Pell has defended himself against accusations from Muslim leaders that he is "ill-informed" following the publication on his website of a speech on Islam delivered to US Catholic business leaders.

In a media statement, he said that isolated suggestions that he is uninformed on Islam "are clichés, smokescreens to distract, to divert attention rather than address basic issues which need to be discussed".

Commenting on Cardinal Pell's speech, Keysar Trad, founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, said this is not the first time the Cardinal has made "ill-informed comments".

The comments, Mr Trad said, "seem to be totally subjective, an off-the-cuff dismissal of the teachings of one of the world's great religions."

"I think there will be many Catholics out there who'll be cringing when they hear these comments, and they'll be saying 'what happened to the legacy of Pope John Paul II?" he said, referring to the late Pontiff's commitment to interfaith dialogue.

Cardinal Pell says that Islamic terrorism is not a "figment of anyone's imagination" and the history of Christian-Muslim relations "is full of conflict".

"I continue to be completely committed to dialogue with Muslims, to supporting moderate forces on all sides," he said. "We need a lot of continuing dialogue, based on truth, history and the current situation."

In the speech entitled "Islam and Western Democracies" delivered on 4 February to the Legatus Summit, Florida, Cardinal Pell said that he is concerned about the Koran's frequent calls to violence.

He also said: "Islam is not a tolerant religion and its capacity for far-reaching renovation is severely limited".


SOURCE
Cardinal Pell Committed To Dialogue With Muslims (Archdiocese of Sydney 5/5/06)
John L. Allen: Catholic approaches to Islam: hawks and doves (National Catholic Reporter 5/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cardinal George Pell: Islam and Western Democracies (Legatus Summit, Naples, Florida U.S.A 4/2/06)

ARCHIVE
Pell says Catholics should read the Koran (CathNews 4/5/06)

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8 May 2006