Flying Pig Grounded
Imagine my surprise.
DOHA - A Vatican-led conference in Qatar on dialogue with Muslims ended with bickering over whether to allow Jews to take part in future meetings, because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Emir of the Gulf state had opened the seminar by telling senior Muslim and Christian religious leaders that Jews should also take part. “Perhaps it would be worthwhile widening next year’s seminar to an Islamic-Christian-Jewish dialogue,” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said in a speech delivered on his behalf on Thursday.
“That is the way to build a decent human life where love, tolerance and equality prevail for the good of mankind.” But Arab clerics told a public forum late on Saturday, that Israel must end its occupation of Palestinian land first.
“Can there be a dialogue with Jews while they still occupy Palestinian land? Would that not consecrate the occupation?” asked Sheikh Abdel-Karim al-Kahlout, the Mufti of Gaza. A Syrian representative of the Greek Orthodox Church agreed.
“We at the Patriarchy of Antioch reject the principle of dialogue with Jews before all the inhabitants of Palestine regain their rights,” Bishop Basilious Nassour said. The head of Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, organizing the meeting which is held in Qatar every year, said the decision would be in Qatar’s hands.
“It is better to try to talk together than not to talk at all, but I would agree that there are certain conditions for a dialogue to take place,” Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald said, adding that the Vatican sponsors a separate dialogue with Jews.