Challenges Remain in Muslim Relations

Relations with Muslims have improved significantly in recent years, but problems remain on issues like conversion and freedom of worship, the Vatican’s top interreligious dialogue official has said. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said one of the biggest challenges is to make sure that the greater openness shown by Muslim leaders—the “elites” involved in dialogue—filters down to the average Muslim. So far, that does not seem to have happened, the cardinal said on June 22. Cardinal Tauran recounted an episode in Jordan that occurred a week before Pope Benedict XVI arrived. A Christian woman fell on a street in Amman and asked passersby for help; two Muslim women on the scene walked away, saying they could not assist an infidel, he said. “I don’t think that’s the reaction of a good Muslim. But this is the reality on the street. On one hand we have the elites, on the other the masses,” Cardinal Tauran said.

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