—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
JAMAICA, New York (January 3, 2006) – The Islamic Circle of North America has issued the following statement on the recent apology of the Pope:
“The Islamic Circle of North America is relieved with the open apology made by the Pope Benedict XVI in his speech delivered on Sunday in Bavaria , Rome. We are happy that the Pope has made it very clear that the medieval text which he quoted in his speech delivered in Germany a few days ago did not express in any way his personal opinion.”
In his speech the Pope said, “…I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg , which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims.”
“These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought. I hope this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with mutual respect.”
ICNA further stated that the invitation to open dialogue by the Pope is the need of the time and is encouraged by this call for a sincere dialogue.
Islamic teachings make it very clear that Muslims should maintain good relations with people of other faiths. Almighty God says in the Quran, “And dispute not with the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) except with means better (than mere disputation). . . (29:46) Muslims are taught to respect all the religions and the religious personalities and the places of worships.
We do not expect any act from Muslims which may go against the teaching of religious tolerance taught by the God, Almighty and practiced by the Noble Prophet, Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him.
We hope that in following with the same spirit of mutual respect the Muslims and Catholic relations in the US will become much stronger.