Monday, September 25, 2006

Whom the pope should talk to?

Today early morning news headlines were focusing on two events: The first event was about Judge Muhammad Oreibi al-Khalifa ordering Saddam Hussain to leave after refusing his request to be let out of his metal cage. This is the second time that Saddam being thrown out of the court room by the new judge. The second event was of Pope Benedict XVI meeting envoys from 20 different Muslim countries where he expressed “total and profound respect for the Islamic faith”, and he emphasized on "strengthening ties between Catholic Christianity and Islam".

After reading the news about the pope meeting with the Muslim envoys, I was wondering about something: among all Muslim countries, whom the pope should talk to?

The pope represents the Catholic church, he is the figure where people and countries from other cultures and various religions all around the world can have a dialogue with. The puzzle is to look the other way around: if the pope want to address the Islamic world, whom he should go to? is there a leader or even a representative of the Islamic nation where he can initiate this "dialogue of civilization"? We all know that in the Muslim world there is no unity among its countries.

There is no single alliance that consists of a number of countries where we can point our fingers and say "ok, this can represent the majority of the Muslims, so the pope can start from there"
Lets not involve the Islamic Conference Organization, because everyone knows that it is just a symbolic gathering of Muslim countries from all over the world.

I might think of Saudi Arabia, with obvious reasons: Mecca. But what about Iran? The strongest and soon to be (if not already) the most powerful Islamic country in the region with its military might. If we start talking about either Saudi Arabia or Iran, then we are drawn into the Sunni / Shiá dilemma, oh no, not again!!! What about Egypt? will be the one who can be symbol for the Muslim country that the pope can have a conversation with? Especially if we take into account its status among the Arab countries! I thought of Morocco, especially that the king still carry the title "Amir Il Mo'meneen". This will give the traditional aspect of Islamic monarch and maybe legitimacy? will that be enough to qualify? What about Turkey? Maybe, considering its ties with Europe and Turkey’s appeal to join the European Union!

Wait a minute, Iraq would be the best candidate, yess!!! I am not joking, really! It is the country where Sunni and Shiá used to live with each other, marry from each other and do not despise each other.... they are the symbol of Islamic unity… but oh no, not anymore! for a fraction of a second I started dreaming of old modern Iraq.

Back to reality, what other country can qualify to be that representative country of the Muslim world that the pope can address in his attempt to "strengthen the ties between Christianity and Islam”??

Lets put the Arab world aside and go to non-Arab Muslim countries: Is Indonesia a candidate? Maybe, especially with its most populous Muslim-majority nation in the World. However, with the atrocities exchanged between Christians and Muslims every now and then, one can have second thoughts. However, will Malaysia or Pakistan be good candidates?

Before answering the question, there is another one, a bigger one, I consider it a very essential, in fact a dangerous one: What is the reaction of other countries when one country has been nominated? Will country A be happy for country B and back it up, or will country A consider it as a competition and will turn its back instead of backing country B up with all sorts of support?

It is either the pope aware of such a situation in the Muslim world and he is just playing it safe, or he is forgetting that the Muslim world is far from being united to let one individual country represent them, especially now.

In second case, I only wish the pope all success because he will really really really hard time, and I doubt that he will initiate this “dialogue of civilization” the way it should be.


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aNarki-13 said...

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text format:

MixMax said...

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