Statement on Pope Benedict’s remarks

The Canadian Muslim Union (CMU) is saddened by the remarks and quotes made by Pope Benedict regarding Islam and the Prophet Muhammed. The CMU hopes His Holiness now recognizes that in quoting the references he gave them legitimacy. To have chosen to make such insensitive and provocative statements is at best short-sighted, if not irresponsible, considering current social realities and political tensions.

The CMU also urges His Holiness to issue a complete retraction and a full apology to Muslims worldwide.

The CMU is also concerned by the growing tendency on the part of Religious figures and institutions to undermine civil society by trying to influence elected officials on matters of social policy from their particular religious standpoint. This is exemplified by recent remarks made by the Pope and by the placing of religious sanctions on Roman Catholic politicians for their positions on abortion and same sex marriage.

The CMU recognizes that people have deeply held religious beliefs but also feels that no religion should be held above another in public affairs. Freedom of religion demands that government policy be framed in a secular environment.

Gary dale, a founding organizing member of the CMU said “the Pope and other important religious figures should promote understanding and respect, not fan the flames of prejudice and disharmony”.

Hanadi Loubani, also a founding organizing member and media spokesperson urged the Vatican and His Holiness to pursue a new relationship with the followers of the prophet Muhammed based on mutual respect and compassion. She also urged offended Muslims to show restraint in the manner they show their offence and to avoid confrontation and violence.