Muslims to Meet with Cardinal of Los Angeles to Keep Dialogue Afloat

September 18, 2006

Source: The Press-Enterprise

On September 18, 2006 The Press-Enterprise reported, "Leaders of Southern California's Muslim community will meet this week with Cardinal Roger Mahony in Los Angeles to voice concern about controversial remarks Pope Benedict XVI made in Germany last week and to reinforce an interfaith relationship some leaders characterized as positive. Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, said leaders attending the meeting also will ask the cardinal to convene Catholic bishops in the region to further encourage interfaith discussions. The Shura Council is an association of more than 70 mosques in Southern California. A spokesman for Mahony confirmed that the cardinal will hold a private meeting with Muslim leaders this week. Pope Benedict XVI caused a furor Sept. 12 when he cited a medieval reference to the Prophet Muhammad spreading religion by violence. On Sunday, he issued a rare personal apology for having caused offense. 'The pope needs to understand these things are extremely sensitive,' Syed said. Muzammil Siddiqi, religious director of the Islamic Society of Orange County, said he asked the Vatican last week for a meeting of Islamic scholars and the pope. Siddiqi has participated in an ongoing international discussion between Muslim scholars and the Vatican that began under Pope John Paul II. Siddiqi said he was shocked by Pope Benedict XVI's remarks, particularly in light of overtures his predecessor made to the Muslim world."