Although all eyes here are on the presidential election, it is worth noting that an important three-day Catholic-Muslim forum is set to start in Vatican City next Tuesday. The Muslim-born journalist Pope Benedict XVI baptized last Easter has done his best to keep it from succeeding by urging the pope to assail Islam. It's further evidence that it was a bad idea for the pope to grant such a high profile to Magdi Allam's christening.As CNS reported, Allam used his Web page to tell Benedict"... he specifically objected to Cardinal [Jean-Louis] Tauran [president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue] telling a conference in August that Islam itself promotes peace but that "'some believers' have 'betrayed their faith,'" using it as a pretext for violence."The objective reality, I tell you with all sincerity and animated by a constructive intent, is exactly the opposite of what Cardinal Tauran imagines," Allam told the pope. "Islamic extremism and terrorism are the mature fruit" of following "the sayings of the Quran and the thought and action of Mohammed."As CNS writer Cindy Wooden notes, the Second Vatican Council's document "Nostra Aetate" urged esteem for Muslims. Muslim scholars expressed esteem for Christianity in their important document "A Common Word," which led to the upcoming meeting.
Paul Moses, a contributing writer at Commonweal, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015). Follow him on Twitter @PaulBMoses.