The Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, said Monday the dialogue with the Muslim world desired by Pope Benedict XVI “worries only those who do not want it.”
Father Lombardi was asked about the comments broadcast on the internet by Egyptian Ayman al Zawahiri, considered the number two leader in Al Qaeda. In an extensive interview, Zawahiri criticized the historic visit of King Abdullah to the Vatican, saying he “has offended Islam and Muslims.”
The Vatican spokesman said the Pope’s dialogue “with important Muslim leaders, such as the King of Saudi Arabia or the 138 Islamic leaders with whom he has exchanged letters, are a significant matter for the entire Muslim world.”
“The fact of the growing importance in the Muslim world of these voices that want to dialogue and strive for peace obviously concern those who do not want dialogue,” Father Lombardi added.
“This is a sign that those who desire dialogue and seek peace are having a greater influence and that is positive,” he said.
On November 6, Benedict XVI met with King Abdullah in the Saudi King’s first visit to the Vatican. A few days later, the Vatican published a letter from the Pope in response to a letter from a group of 138 Muslim leaders in which he urged there be dialogue based on the dignity of the human person and freedom of religion.