American Muslims Offer
Condolences on Pope’s Death
DC: A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy
group Sunday offered condolences on the death of Pope John
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR) said in a statement: “Muslims worldwide respected
Pope John Paul II as an advocate for justice and human rights.
His message of international peace and interfaith reconciliation
is one that will reverberate for decades to come. We offer
our sincere condolences to members of the Roman Catholic Church
and to all those who seek a more peaceful world.”
I was saddened to hear of the passing of Pope John Paul II.
I join the Catholic Church in mourning. Today, we have lost
a champion of Human Rights, a true man of God and a friend
of the Muslim World.
American Muslim Alliance: The American Muslim Alliance (AMA),
a civic education organization with 101 chapters nationwide,
has expressed its profound sorrow at the sad demise of the
Pope John Paul II, spiritual leader of the Catholic Church.
“Pope John Paul’s spiritual sensitivity is summed
up in his famous statement that ‘there can be no peace
without justice and no justice without forgiveness,’
AMA Chair Dr. Agha Saeed said. “We all know the connection
between peace and justice, but the Pope has done all of us
a favor by highlighting the sublime connection between justice
and forgiveness. ”
The AMA statement reads: Pope John Paul II was one of the
most important and illustrious figures of the twentieth century
who will be remembered for his moral courage to oppose, critique
and reject the extremism of the left and the right, and to
distance himself from the oppressive practices of East and
West. He showed remarkable courage in opposing Russian totalitarianism,
on the one hand, and American aggression against Iraq, on
Not only he was the first Pope to visit a mosque, and not
only he was the first Pope to call for the establishment of
an independent Palestinian state, he was also the Pope who
called for a “dialogue of life” with all faiths
and religions. It was under his leadership that during last
quarter of the 20th Century, beginning with the Second Vatican
Council, the Catholic Church developed a new theology of interfaith
outreach and accommodation.
This vision of inter-religious communication most clearly
stated by the Pope in his 1991 encyclical Redemptoris Missio:
"Each member of the faithful and all Christian communities
are called to practice …the dialogue of life”.
This call to dialogue has been detailed into four categories:
1) dialogue of life, 2) active outreach, 3) mutual learning
by way of theological exchange, and 4) the sharing of religious
Muslim and Christians can pay a living tribute to the memory
of the Pope by continuing the inter-religious communication
as a dialogue of life.
Dr. Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khalbun Chair of Islamic Studies, American
University: I have a special place in my heart for Pope John
Paul II. I recall the days after 9/11, when the Pope really
reached out to the Muslim World. In a time where Muslims were
confused, angered and saddened, it was the leader of the Catholic
Church who stood like a rock, reaching out and calling for
peace and understanding. It was very easy to point fingers
and indict Muslims, but he urged Christians to advance what
he called a “civilization of love”. He was a leader
in the interfaith dialogue, indeed; he was the first leader
of the Catholic Church to set foot inside a Mosque, sharing
a prayer service with Muslims shortly after 9/11.
I had great respect and admiration for Pope John Paul II.
He was an inspiration for my work and a hero in terms of his
love for all people. He was a giant in the world and we will
miss his leadership. He led the Church with wisdom and dignity,
a role model for believers of all faiths. We Muslims say at
the death of someone “from God we come and to god we
go”. My prayers and blessings are with this great soul.
American Muslim Voice: “The loss of the Pope is a tragic
event with far-reaching consequences worldwide. We the members
of AMV send our deepest condolences to all members of the
Roman Catholic Church. May we all learn the lessons of wisdom
he offered during his lifetime in the hope of building towards
a peaceful future.”