Holy Father speaks for Muslims who reject violence, says Vatican expert
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.- Commenting on Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks given at the University of Ratisbona, the rector of the Pontifical Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies, Father Justo Lacunza, said last week, “The Pope has made himself spokesman of millions of people around the world, including Muslims, who believe that there is no need to mix violence with religion.”

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Father Lacunza said, “The Pontiff simply underscored that violence or war have no religious foundation.”

“By saying this, the Pope has simply echoed the sentiments and desires of millions of Muslims who in one way or another say: ‘violence and Islam cannot go hand in hand.  We are Muslims and we want to be Muslim believers in today’s world and thus be against those who use religion to harm others through violence.’  Religion cannot be the basis of any conflict, war or any other form of violence or attack, or of the will to eliminate others,” Father Lacunza emphasized.

In explaining the reaction of the Muslim world to the words of Benedict XVI, Father Lacunza pointed to two motives. “The first has to do with the Islamic world and that Muslims are very, very sensitive to everything that is said about Islam, especially by those who are not part of the Muslim faith.  And the second is that the Pope has touched upon a very delicate issue: violence and war.”

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