Mabda Report 25/02/13

Islamic Clerics Seek Dialogue With New Pope

Senior Muslim clerics in Egypt believe Pope Benedict XVI's abrupt resignation could reopen the way for dialogue with the Catholic Church, severed after Benedict's controversial 2006 remarks on the Muslim prophet.

But improved ties between the Church and Al-Azhar, the premier seat of Sunni Muslim learning, would depend on the next pope's approach to the Muslim world, the clerics said.

"The resumption of ties with the Vatican hinges on the new atmosphere created by the new pope," said Mahmud Azab, an advisor on inter-faith for the head of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyeb.

Morocco: an emerging model for Muslim-Jewish relations

At a ceremony last Wednesday marking the end of the restoration of a 17th Century synagogue in Fez’s Old City, in a message read by Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, King Mohammed hailed Morocco’s "spiritual wealth and diversity” and its “values of coexistence, tolerance and harmony between the different components of the nation.”

These statements were reassuring for a regional political climate that is often turbulent, and suggest that Morocco offers a new – yet in fact very old – paradigm for inter-communal relations, and particularly Arab/Muslim-Jewish relations. In the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, “Jewishness” and “Arabness” are often positioned as mutually exclusive; Morocco seems to exemplify important ways of reconciling these identities.

Abrahimic Faiths Connect in Tennessee

Leaders of the three Abrahimic faiths have come together in the south-eastern US state of Tennessee to discuss ways of overcoming differences and promote friendship.

"We have to form relationships so that we can respond effectively to a crisis,” Daniel Tutt, a Washington-based interfaith activist and writer, told USA Today.