Release Date: August 9, 1995
The Wisdom Fund, P. O. Box 2723, Arlington, VA 22202
Website: -- Press Contact: Enver Masud

Cardinal Arinze Presented Islamic Plaque

Baltimore, MD, Aug 9 - Cardinal Arinze, at a landmark dialogue with Muslim leaders, was presented a plaque inscribed with the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.

The occasion was a dialogue on Muslim-Christian relations in the world today, hosted by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), U.S. Catholic Conference, at the CRS headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. Muslim leaders from across the U.S. were invited to a roundtable dialogue with H.E. Francis Cardinal Arinze, President, Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue at the Holy See.

Cardinal Arinze spoke of the need to "look beyond the past," and to "begin the process of healing memory." Quoting Prophet Muhammad, "No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself," Cardinal Arinze underscored the need to build upon the shared values of Islam and Christianity which bind over one half of the world's population. Cardinal William H. Keeler of the Archdiocese of Baltimore called media reporting on Islam "cynical and sensational."

Mowahid Shah, attorney at law and editor of Eastern Times, speaking on behalf of Muslims, urged religious leaders to speak out forcefully against the false stigmatizing of Islam and Muslims. "There were two victims of the Oklahoma City bombing - the innocent dead and the falsely accused," said Shah. Prof. Esposito, director of Georegetown University Center for Muslim and Christian Understanding, stressed the need to examine media reporting in the wake of the Oklahoma bombing.

The plaque presented to Cardinal Arinze by Enver Masud, president of The Wisdom Fund, illustrates the values of Islam contained in the sayings of Prophet Muhammad. The plaque is a reproduction of The Wisdom Fund's advertising campaign to inform Americans of the history and values shared by Islam and Christianity.

The dialogue was conducted in a friendly and open manner, and participants hope to build upon this landmark gathering of Christian and Muslim leaders.

[After two decades of contact and dialogue with the Islamic world under Pope John Paul II, the Vatican is rethinking an outreach program that critics say is diluting Catholicism and has brought almost no benefits to beleaguered Catholic minorities in Muslim countries.--Daniel Williams and Alan Cooperman, "Vatican Is Rethinking Relations With Islam," Washington Post, April 15, 2005]

[Benedict is being warned by numerous anti-Muslim groups he must deal with the challenge of Islam. This is a red herring. The real challenges to the Church comes from within its own ranks: liberalism (make our own rules locally) and relativism (there is no absolute truth). Islam and Judaism face the same internal struggle.--Eric Margolis, "Pope Benedict XIV: The Right Man for the Job,", April 25, 2005]

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