Monday, March 06, 2006

Vatican analyst on Christian-Muslim relations in Europe

The recent controversey regarding and violent protests related to editorial cartoons featuring images of the prophet Muhammed have highlighted significant tensions in both Christian-Muslim relations and the relationship between many Muslims and the secularized portions of Western society.

The Denver Catholic Register recently published this article in which noted Vatican analyst Sandro Magister, who recently delivered a lecture in Denver, was interviewed about these tensions:

The answer is not, as some believe, said Magister, to ban religion from the public square — as in the failure to mention Europe’s Christian roots in the European Union’s Constitution and the likeminded push for secular forms of Islam — but to integrate religion into the civil order. ...

Integration will begin, he added, by acknowledging both the Christian and Muslim roots of European civilization.

“In spite of differences and conflicts, Islam has always been part of Europe, and is one of its constitutive elements,” said Magister, noting Moorish influence in its architecture.

“Christianity and Islam are inseparable in Europe,” he said. “There are five and a half million Muslims in France, and it is projected that their number will double within 20 years. There are already more of them than there are French Catholics who go to Mass every Sunday.”

Integrating Muslims into Europe, Magister said, is absolutely essential. He proposed two steps to achieve that integration — “the self-reform of Islam and the education of minds.”

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