Mabda Report 17/03/13

European Muslims see dialogue hope in pope name

Muslims in Europe see hope for better relations with Roman Catholicism after the new pope took the name Francis, recalling the 13th-century saint known for his efforts to launch Christian dialogue with Islam.

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio chose the name after his election on Wednesday in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, who is revered for his radical poverty and humility. Francis met the sultan of Egypt in 1219 on a peace mission during the Fifth Crusade.

Muslims seek improved interfaith dialogue

The relationship between Islam and Christianity has been rocky, to say the least. Muslims around the world are hoping the new Catholic pope will strengthen dialogue between faiths.

Pope Francis' predecessor, Benedict, learnt early on in his reign of the Holy See just how much can go wrong in dialog with Islam. In 2006, a year after taking office, Benedict gave a controversial speech in Regensburg, Germany. In it, he quoted a Byzantine emperor who accused the Prophet Mohammed of being inhumane and doing only evil deeds. It provoked Muslims around the world and from Algiers and Islamabad, churches burned.

King’s interfaith initiative inspires Indians

Inspired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s interfaith dialogue initiative, the Kochi-based International Interfaith Dialogue India (IIDI) recently organized a seminar that stressed the unity of God and the need to spread moral values promulgated by all religions.

“It was a successful seminar as it brought together leaders of different religious faiths in India and the speakers emphasized the unity of God and humanity. They aired their views openly without hurting the feelings of other faith followers,” said V.K. Abdul Aziz, a member of IIDI’s board of trustees and director of Al-Hayat International School in Jeddah.

Egypt's New Grand Mufti: Muslim Clerics Elect Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim As Top Islamic Jurist

Muslim clerics from Al-Azhar, Egypt's premier religious institution, chose the country's top Islamic jurist in a direct and secret ballot on Monday that was the first such vote in six decades.

An official statement by the 24-member Senior Scholars Authority says that it elected Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim, a professor in Islamic jurisprudence, to the post of Grand Mufti. The selection is now expected to be ratified by President Mohammed Morsi, which will make it final.