Pope vs. Imam: “No war may be waged in God’s name”

I was wrapping up my time at home when news broke that a Coptic Church in Alexandria, Egypt had been suicide-bombed on Christmas Eve.

One of the disturbing after effects of the attack has not only been Muslim-Christian riots and disturbances in Egypt, as well as fears among other Coptic communities of copycat attacks, but also the choice of an Egyptian Imam to criticize the Holy Father for expressing solidarity with Christians facing persecution and death:

Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, has responded to criticism of Pope Benedict by the former grand mufti of Egypt.

Following a January 1 church bombing of a Coptic Orthodox church that left 21 dead, Ahmed al-Tayeb, current current Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, condemned the bombing and visited the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church to offer condolences. However, he also denounced Pope Benedict for calling upon civil authorities to protect Christians.

“I disagree with the Pope’s view, and I ask why did the Pope not call for the protection of Muslims when they were subjected to killings in Iraq?” said al-Tayeb, who accused the Pontiff of “unacceptable interference in Egypt’s affairs.”

Father Lombardi responded:

Pope Benedict XVI’s position is very clear, and always has been: a radical condemnation of violence, closeness to the community that has been so horribly stricken, and concern for the religious freedom of Christian minorities. As he said in his Peace Day Message, the Pope’s concern for the religious freedom of Christians has always been within the context of his concern for the religious freedom of all people, not only Christians. [Continue reading…]

Let us continue to pray for all those who face religious persecution and fear of death, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.



7 thoughts on “Pope vs. Imam: “No war may be waged in God’s name”

  1. Thomas says:

    I was just wondering where the quote “No war may be waged in God’s name” is from?

    1. Curious says:


      Even a very young group of students (7 and 8 year olds) that I work with are very confused as to anyone calling a war a “holy war”. They are perplexed as to how anyone can believe in a God (any belief in any God) that calls for the destrution of lives because they aren’t the same. So sad, but at least they truly “get it”.

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  3. Karamazov says:

    The Pope is the Vicar of Christ and the head of the Church and the Imam is criticizing him for expressing his closeness to the Christians in Alexandria who are being persecuted? Does the guy feel left out or something that the Pope didn’t mention the Muslims in Iraq? The Pope is the Shepherd of Christians, not Muslims. If I remember correctly the Pope was not a fan of the War in Iraq and said as much. What more does the Imam want? I get the feeling sometimes (often times) that people criticize the Pope no matter what he does.

    1. Paul D says:

      Aaaaactually, the Pope is the shepherd of the whole of the earth’s peoples. He is responsible for the evangelization and spiritual care of the whole planet.

      The Imam should indeed be annoyed if the Pope doesn’t express solidarity with Muslims who suffer as a persecuted minority. A persecuted minority in Iraq, however, they were not. Blessings.

      1. Karamazov says:

        Oh really? The Imam is upset because he understands that the Pope is responsible for the evangelization (preaching of the Gospel of Christ) to the Muslims and responsible for the spiritual care of them? Understanding the Pope as his shepherd, the Imam is upset that the Pope is not showing his solidarity with them?

  4. marv!!! says:

    Thomas, you’re closing statement,” Let us continue to pray for all those who face religious persecution and fear of death, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ” appears to be the type of statement Ahmed al-Tayeb would object to. You clearly imply that praying for Christians is more important than praying for non-Christians.

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