The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. This interview with Abdullahi Ahmed an-Naim and Massimo Papa about Iran’s stoning sentence against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani on charges of adultery was originally published in Oasis, a Venice-based magazine on Christian-Muslim dialogue. Martino Diez is director of research at the Oasis International Foundation.
The Roman Catholic bishop of Arabia has published a letter on the dialogue call by 138 Muslim scholars pointing out possible stumbling blocs for future talks. The article by Bishop Paul Hinder in Oasis , a multilingual Catholic-Muslim dialogue magazine published in Venice, welcomes the appeal and says: “Here are Muslims offering a hand that we should take.”
The Vatican is taking its time to study the dialogue appeal from 138 Muslim scholars before giving an official reply, but the Catholic Church’s Islam and inter-faith experts seem to be lining up to comment on it. After Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, S.J. yesterday, Cardinal Angelo Scola has given his positive analysis of it today. Since taking his post in 2002 as Patriarch of Venice, a city that has had extensive trading links to the East for centuries, the former rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome has started up the Studium Generale Marcianum institute to study Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim culture. He also launched a unique biannual review named Oasis to foster Christian-Muslim understanding. It publishes reports and reviews in four separate bilingual editions — Italian and Arabic, French and Arabic, English and Arabic and English and Urdu.