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".

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)

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

A Most Eminent Lord Cardinal Speaks Out On The "Religion of Peace"! (The New Crusade 5/5/06)
Cardinal Pell Sparks Outrage Over Islam Comments (Pro Ecclesia 5/5/06)
Cardinal Pell: "Islam is not a tolerant religion" (Relapsed Catholic 5/5/06)
Pell angers Muslims, environmentalists (ABC News 5/5/06)
Pell denies ignorance about Islam (ABC News 5/5/06)
Pell denies ignorance about Islam (ABC News 5/5/06)
Pell sparks outrage over Koran comments (ABC Radio The World Today 5/5/06)
Cardinal Pell sparks outrage over Islam comments (Catholic World News 5/5/06)
Australian Cardinal advises Catholics to read Koran (Independent Catholic News 5/5/06)
PM stands by Pell Islam comments (The Sunday Times/Australian Associated Press 5/5/06)
Cardinal Pell of Sydney encourages Catholics to read Koran (Catholic News Agency 4/5/06)
Samir Khalil Samir, S.J.: When Civilizations Meet: How Joseph Ratzinger Sees Islam (L/Espresso 4/5/06)
Pell challenges Islam - o ye, of little tolerant faith (Sydney Morning Herald 5/5/06)
Islam not a tolerant religion, says Pell (The Age 5/5/06)
Koran invokes violence, says Pell (The Australian 5/5/06)
Muslims criticise national Islamic body (The Record 4/5/06)
What the Islamic Riots Reveal (Part 2) (Zenit 3/5/06)

8 May 2006