Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Open letter to His Grace Cardinal George Pell

Dear Cardinal Pell

First of all, I should stress that I am not theologian, but your remarks about violence and Islam prompted me to write you this letter.

I heard you on the ABC radio this morning and heard your questions to your Muslim cleric counterparts.

I would remind you that if you do not know things about Islam, there should be other venues and ways to ask clarifications. Your questions in this way (by creating a media circus), is not constructive and does not help anyone but the extremists on all sides. You should be able to ask for a religious conference with Muslim clerics and direct your questions to them.

After hearing your questions, I have few questions for you:
1- What is the official position of the Catholic church about the successive Popes using Christian faith to invade other people to achieve politico-economic goals? Should I remind you of the blood in the Holy Land by crusade wars for hundreds of years called by the Pope of the day? What about the war between the Catholics and Protestants? Then the colonial movement and re-occupation of the Holy Land by the French and British, in the beginning of the 20th century, with the blessing of the church leaders of the day? And the brutal murder and torture of thousands of Muslims and Jews in Spain when they refused to convert to Catholicism ?

2- What is the benefit of having a very peaceful and fantastic holy book (the Bible), if the followers do not follow its commandments?

3- What is the relationship between the fact that your church is losing followers to the evangelical churches and your (and your Pope's) comments on Islam? Does this have anything to do with competing to attract (or to keep, in your case) church attendees?

4- What is your church definition of “terrorism” and “violence”? Does your church recognise that the invasion (by Chrisitian evangelicals supported by their Governments) of Iraq and Afghanistan is in fact state-terrorism, and subsequently the people of Iraq and Afghanistan have the right to defend themselves?

5- With a long history of your church's complacency in raging violence in many parts of the world at different stages of history, who gave you (and your church) the moral ground to question other people beliefs and commitments to peace and social-justice?

I would appreciate your reply and further discussion on this issue.

Jamal Daoud

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