Skip to main content

Turkish Islamic Union Chief's Address to Pope

"No One May Be Disparaged on Account of Religious Affiliation"

COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 22, 2005 (Zenit) - Here is the greeting given by Ridvan Cakir, president of the Turkish Islamic Union of Germany, to Benedict XVI in a meeting between the Pope and Muslim leaders on Saturday.

* * *

On behalf of the delegation, Your Holiness, I would like to welcome you, and to thank you for this opportunity to meet with you.

The goal of the Abrahamic religions is for all people to live together in friendship and forgiveness.

Today, memories of hostility and war are a source of pain for all of humankind. If we want to avoid going through such suffering all over again, we, the members of the Abrahamic religions -- and Christians and Muslims in particular -- have important obligations to fulfill.

In this age of communication, the notions of proximity and distance have lost some of their meaning. Today, people are all one another's close neighbors. This makes it even more important for us to get to know one another better, and to make friends with one another. As it is written in the Holy Koran: "We made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other." The better people get to know one another and more they know about one another, the deeper their friendships can become.

Every religion, and every member of a religious community, has specific sensitivities, sensitivities we are obligated to respect.

According to the Holy Koran, no one may be disparaged on account of religious affiliation, or forced to relinquish his or her beliefs. The Koran says: "You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion."

We are convinced that interreligious and intercultural dialogue is of tremendous significance for a peaceful world. If we can continue to coexist in dialogue, it will send a signal that the theory of a "clash of cultures" is baseless. The more religious and cultural communities can learn about one another, the more they will realize that there is no reason for hostility, and indeed many reasons for friendship and cordial coexistence. The Turkish experience provides a remarkable example of how different religions and cultures can live together in friendship. The process of Turkey's accession to the EU is also an important occasion, one that should be judged in this context.

We wholeheartedly support the process of dialogue launched and pursued by the Vatican. May God enable us to continue to pursue this process.

We recognize that this process will contribute in important ways to friendship, to world peace and to humankind.

I would like to thank you once again for taking the time for this meeting. May God's blessing be with you on your way.

Ridvan Cakir
President of the Turkish Islamic Union


Catholic Online  CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Pope, Benedict, Cakir, Turkish, Islam, Germany, Muslim

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article


Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Colossians 1:15-20
He is the image of the unseen God, the first-born of all ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1, 2, 3, 4, 5
[Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth, serve ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 5:33-39
They then said to him, 'John's disciples are always fasting and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

September 4 Saint of the Day

St. Rosalia
September 4: St. Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses and Quisquina, ... Read More