Pope puts onus on Muslim leaders to combat Islamophobia

24th Dec 2014

Hamed Chapman

During a three-day visit to Turkey this month, the Pope provoked controversy by suggesting that the onus was on Muslim leaders to help stop the Islamophobia by issuing a global condemnation of terrorism.

“It would be beautiful if all Islamic leaders, whether they are political, religious or academic leaders, would speak out clearly and condemn this because this would help the majority of Muslim people,” Pope Francis said.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with Pope Francis

The 77-year old pontiff revealed during a press conference on his return flight from Turkey that he had offered the advice during a meeting with Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan, when speaking about the issue of Islamophobia and breaking the demonisation of Muslims with terrorists.

“There needs to be an international condemnation from Muslims across the world. It needs to say, ‘No, this is not what the Qur’an is about!’ There should also always be a distinction between what a religion proposes and the concrete use of that proposal by a concrete government,” he said.

“I can understand this. And I sincerely believe that we cannot say all Muslims are terrorists, just as we cannot say that all Christians are fundamentalists – we also have fundamentalists among us, all religions have these little groups,” he said according to comments highlighted by the media.

Western leaders continue to argue that the scourge of terrorism has nothing to do with politics and claim that the gravest threat come from a “distorted view” of Islam which Muslims are allegedly easily misled.

During his visit, the leader of the Catholic Church called for inter-religious dialogue and action against poverty to help end the conflicts in the region. He also went further than his predecessors by praying alongside Muslim leaders in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque.

The last pope, Benedict XVI, provoked international outrage in a controversial address in the old Bavarian city of Regensburg in 2006, when he quoted derisory remarks from a medieval Byzantine emperor about the Prophet, which he later apologised for.

EDITORIAL: Misguided advice by Pope

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