Saudi Arabia: For the record. European Christian websites have reported Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Shaikh, one of the most influential religious leaders in the Muslim world, issued a fatwa against non-Muslim places of worship last week.
In response to a Kuwaiti lawmaker who asked whether Kuwait could ban church construction in Kuwait, the Sheikh ruled that further church construction should be banned and existing Christian houses of worship should be destroyed.
Comment: Senior European Christian prelates have pointed out the Grand Mufti is contradicting King Abdallah’s policy of supporting interfaith dialogue. The King is seeking to build an interfaith center in Austria, taking advantage of freedoms and tolerance not available in Saudi Arabia and most of the Arab world. Foreign Christian minorities make up substantial and significant portions of the working populations of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen.
The Catholic Bishop for the Christians in the UAE, Oman and Yemen warned that some Muslims will be influenced to act on the Grand Mufti’s edict. A delayed terrorist reaction against Christian churches is the threat, and has occurred in Iraq and Egypt.
Phi Beta Iota: This is also the best indication that the Assisi Peace Summit sponsored by the Most Holy Father was a clear failure. Although the Pope has done two important pronouncements, one on religion and science both seeking the truth, the second on the cancer of corruption, the Catholic Church — and the various other denominations — lack a coherent strategy for education, intelligence, and research toward inter-faith tolerance. We continue to recommend that an inter-faith campaign against secular corruption be the basis for advances in cultural and spiritual tolerance.