Approximately one-hundred people filed into the Krasa Presentation Room at Benedictine University on November 15, 2006 to listen to the executive director of CAIR-Chicago, Ahmed Rehab’s, speech called “Let’s Talk: Confronting Confusion with Dialogue.”
The topic of the discussion was based on Pope Benedict XVI’s quoting of a 14th century Byzantine emperor as saying: “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and you will find things that are evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
Muslims all over the world took offense by these words. Emotions flared, civil discord grew and in some instances, violence ensued. In the midst of all the misunderstanding, Ahmed Rehab called for dialogue and intellectual discussion between different faiths, religions and cultures on the controversial quote.
Speaking of the duty of different faiths around the world, Ahmed Rehab stated, “We’re supposed to try to put out the flames of hatred and ignorance rather than to fan those flames. It is not wrong for us to challenge each other when problematic quotes are made. The great majority of Muslims didn’t act irrationally or violently to these comments.”
While it is believed that Pope Benedict XVI’s comment should be condemned, Rehab repeated many times throughout his speech that it would be unfair to denounce the Pope solely on the comment made.
“It would be unfair to condemn this man and to judge him entirely by those quotes. He has, after apologizing for the reactions for the words, met with Muslim leaders that he invited to his headquarters and has opened up avenues of dialogue that many Muslims have indeed rushed to.”
Please contact Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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