Archbishop of Izmir, Turkey on the "Religion of Peace"
It would be beneficial if Archbishop Giuseppe Germano Bernardini, O.F.M. Cap., Izmir, Turkey could have his paper, which follows, read. It is among those that were NOT read in the Synod Hall in Nov, 1999.
DIFFICULTIES OF DIALOGUE WITH ISLAM Archbishop Giuseppe Germano Bernardini, O.F.M. Cap., Izmir, Turkey
I have been living in Turkey for the past 42 years, a 99.9 per cent Muslim country, and I have been the Archbishop of Izmir in Asia Minor for the past 16 years. The theme of my intervention is therefore obvious: the problem of Islam in Europe today and in the future. I thank Bishop Pelatre, who already spoke about this theme in this prestigious assembly, dispensing me therefore of a long examination and relative interpretations.
My intervention is to make a humble request of the Holy Father, above all. To be brief and clear, first I will mention three cases that, due to their sources, I believe to be true..
1. During an official meeting on Islamic-Christian dialogue, an authoritative Muslim person, speaking to the Christians participating, at one point said very calmly and assuredly: "Thanks to your democratic laws we will invade you; thanks to our religious laws we will dominate you."
This is to be believed because the "domination" has already begun with the "petrodollars" used not to create work in the poor North African or Middle Eastern countries, but to build mosques and cultural centres in Christian countries with Islamic immigrants, including Rome, the centre of Christianity. How can we fail to see in all this a clear program of expansion and reconquest?
2. During another Islamic Christian meeting, always organized by Christians, a Christian participant publicly asked the Muslims present why they did not organize at least one meeting of this kind. The Muslim authority present answered in the following words: "Why should we? You have nothing to teach us and we have nothing to learn."
A dialogue between deaf persons? It is a fact that terms such as "dialogue" and "justice", "reciprocity", or, concepts such as "rights of man" and "democracy" have a completely different meaning for Muslims than for us.
3. In a Catholic monastery in Jerusalem there was and perhaps still is, a Muslim Arab servant. A kind and honest person, he was respected greatly by the religious, who in turn were respected by him. One day, he sadly told them: "Our leaders have met and have decided that all the infidels' must be killed: but do not be afraid because I will kill you without making you suffer." We are all aware that we must distinguish the fanatic and violent minority from the tranquil and honest majority, but the latter, at an order given in the name of Allah or the Koran, will always march in unity and without hesitation...........History teaches us that determined minorities always manage to impose themselves on reluctant and silent majorities.
It would be naive to underestimate or, worse yet, smile at the three cases I have mentioned: I feel that their dramatic teaching must be seriously considered.
This is not pessimism on my part.....The Christian cannot be pessimistic because Christ is risen and alive; He is God, unlike any other prophet or one claiming to be such.............(........=leave outs)
I end this exhortation suggested to me by experience: do not allow Muslims ever to use a Catholic church for their worship, because in their eyes this would be the surest proof of our apostasy"
Acknowledgements to L'Osservatore Romano, weekly English edition of 17 November 1999, p. 15 by 'Christ To The World' Jan-Feb 2000 p. 53