Monday, May 11, 2009

Pope walks out on religious meeting after outburst by Palestinian Sheikh


JERUSALEM – An meeting of 300 religious leaders hosted by the Pope came to an abrupt end Monday night when a Palestinian sheikh, who was not on the program, forced his way to the pulpit to criticize Israel.

The head of Sharia courts in the Palestinian Authority, Taysir Tamimi, made an animated plea to the Pope to fight for “a just peace for a Palestinian state and for Israel to stop killing women and children and destroying mosques as she did in Gaza.”

“Israel destroys Palestinian cities and establishes settlements on Palestinian land,” he cried in a rising voice, adding that Jerusalem “will remain the capital of a Palestinian state.”


The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said that the interruption was “a direct negation of what a dialogue should be. We hope that such an incident will not damage the mission of the Pope” and inter-religious dialogue.

“We hope also that inter-religious dialogue in the Holy Land will not be compromised by this incident,” Lombardi added, in his statement.

Outbursts like these are not uncommon for Tamimi, who was specifically banned from speaking tonight because he has chosen to speak off-topic at other gatherings.

The pope did the right thing.

Engaging in bitter diatribes and recriminations does NOT build peace.

It's fine to have personal opinions and grievances.

But peace isn't created by shouting down the other side.

If Palestinians want to move forward in their agenda, this is not the way to do it.