Well to be reasonable I have to place the positive along with the negative. The building of a Catholic church in Qatar. There’s a very long way to go but this is an encouraging sign that perhaps moderate Muslims can influence the religious outlook of Islam towards other religions.
Doha (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Catholic church of St. Mary, constructed as planned without a bell tower or cross, is close to inauguration. In spite of the great modesty of the Catholic community, there is no lack of disagreement on the part of a Muslim intellectuals who are firmly opposing the new church, maintaining that a popular referendum is necessary. They can’t have a cross or a bell tower. I note that the individual who was the former head of the faculty for Islamic law at the univeristy of Qatar. I wonder if he was removed from his place in supporting this move. Hopefully this will be a great assist to at least our Catholic soldiers over there.
The pages of the newspaper Al-Arab read, “the cross should not be raised in the sky of Qatar, nor should bells toll in Doha”. In a letter to Al-Watan, the engineer Rashed al-Subaie maintains that the Christians have the right to practice their faith, but should not have permission to build places of worship. The lawyer and former justice minister Najib al-Nuaimi expresses himself as along the same lines. Nuaimi stresses that Qatar is a Muslim country, not a secular one, and maintains that a referendum is the only way to ensure that the church is socially acceptable.
Moderate comments of support come from Abdul Hamid al-Ansari, a former head of the faculty of Islamic law (sharia) at the University of Qatar, who has published articles in various newspapers welcoming the Catholic church in Doha: “places of worship for various religions is a fundamental human right guaranteed by Islam”.
St Mary’s will ultimately become a gathering place for the community of Catholics, who number about 100,000 faithful from Southeast Asia and from the West. “It will be merely a place for collective prayer”, says St. Mary’s parish priest, Father Tomasito Veneracion. “It will not have crosses outside the building or serve as a platform for proselytising”. A simple inauguration ceremony will be provided over by Cardinal Ivan Dias and Bishop Paul Hinder on March 14. Five other churches are planned for the same property where St Mary stands, including Anglican, Coptic, and Greek Orthodox churches.
Once St Mary’s open its doors to the faithful, Saudi Arabia will be the only Gulf country that still prohibits the building of churches within its borders.
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If Islam desires to be accepted into the world community, they have to reverse laws like this one. However since Islam seems unable or unwilling to separate the role of the state with the role of religion, I don’t hold out much hope in this regard any time soon. Faith regardless of who is professing what is not something that is left (in this case) at a particular authorized structure, it is a vocation which the individual draws from on every aspect of their life.
ROME, FEB. 13, 2008 (Zenit.org
).- A Catholic priest was sentenced by the tribunal of Oran, a city in northwestern Algeria, to a year in prison for having “directed a religious ceremony in a place which has not been recognized by the government.”
Father Pierre Wallez is the first victim of legislation approved in March 2006 regarding the exercise of the practices of non Muslim worship, in this North African country of 33 million residents, 99% of whom are Muslim.
Speaking Saturday on Vatican Radio, Archbishop Henri Teissier of Alger, explained that “the most surprising thing is that the conviction was issued simply because the priest visited a group of Christians in Cameroon. He had not celebrated Mass, but was only joining them in a prayer. It was Dec. 29, a little after Christmas.”
The prelate clarified that the sentence will not be carried out, because the tribunal decided to modify it to a sentence of parole.
“They systematically reject entrance visas for our delegates,” stated the archbishop, “and in November they withdrew the residency permission for four young Brazilian priests who were working with the Portuguese-speaking African immigrants.”
The law, composed of 17 articles, prohibits the exercise of non-Islamic worship outside buildings approved by authorities.
An article allows for fines and prison for anyone “who changes the original function of places of worship” or “incites, coerces, or uses persuasive means to oblige a Muslim to embrace another religion.”
The same penalties are also applied to those who “produce, store, or distribute publications or audio or video material or other means oriented toward undermining faith in Islam.”
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Article in the British Telegraph about Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali-Bishop of Rochester
claims that people of a different race or faith face physical attack if they live or work in communities dominated by a strict Muslim ideology. In effect there are growing “no-go” areas in England.
This just follow’s up on other articles of Islamization of Europe in general as the Brussels Journal reported in July 2 years ago.
Although I think much of this is due to liberal immigration policies, Islam is not tollerant of any other faith within their mist. Examples of this are demonstrated almost daily.
If they faith was one which strove to convert by their logic and witness, would be ok with me. Once a country permits/recognizes sharia law for Muslim communities it’s ball game over- dhimmitude is sure to follow.
Sadly western civilization is weak because the culture has chose to jetison it’s religious faith which built it up from the ashes of the Roman Empire. If Europe doesn’t embrace the Christian faith with furver quickly, it will find itself on it’s knees facing east willingly or unwillingly.
The meeting of the Pope with Islamic leaders may be more critical for both side to avoid the train wreck of literal blood in the streets of Europe’s major cities.
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