British Muslims should not remain silent when Christians are being denied their rights or are made subject to sharia law, said Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.
The archbishop of Westminster spoke Tuesday at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies on the need for respectful dialogue between Christians and Muslims and on the conditions required to make such dialogue to work.
The “main obstacle” to Christian-Muslim dialogue, the cardinal said, was the failure, "in a number of Muslim countries, to uphold the principle of religious freedom," reported Independant Catholic News.
"If we do not enjoy the freedom to practise our religion openly and without fear, then we cannot be honest,” he was quoted as saying. “Dialogue assumes the freedom to witness. It is essential that Muslims can freely worship in Oxford or London, just as it is essential that Christians can freely worship in Riyadh or Kabul.”
He told his audience that when religious rights of minorities are disrespected in the name of Islam, “ the face of Islam is tarnished elsewhere in the world.”
“It is unfortunately necessary to point out that in some Islamic countries similar signs of the recognition of religious freedom are lacking,” he said, referring to the opening of the mosque in Rome in 1995.
He said he was pleased that Muslims can gather at the new Roman mosque and expressed his hope that the rights of Christians and people of all faiths “to express their own faith will be recognised in every corner of the earth.”
"This is a vital principle of sacred hospitality, and it is vital for the relationship between Christians and Muslims,” he said.