Even "Judaism and Christianity have a history of violence", and all religions have been complicite in acts of violence and murder.
how Sheikh Ahmed al Tayyib, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, wanted to highlight
that the connection between religion and violence not only marks the
history of Islam, but also characterized the historical paths of the two
other "Religions of the Book".
Al Tayyib spoke during the Conference on
"Freedom and citizenship, diversity and integration" organized by the
University of Al Azhar in Cairo, a prestigious academic theological
institution of Sunni Islam, which brings together senior Islamic and
Christian representatives to also discuss the coexistence of religious
communities in the Middle East.
The Grand Imam of al-Azhar, in his
speech, made explicit reference to the Crusades, but also to the recent
Balkan wars and violence suffered in that context by the Bosnian
Muslims, and rejected the tendency to put only Islam on the "bench of
defendants" for the violence of religious nature.
"To place religions at
a distance from terrorism is no longer sufficient, in the face of the
challenges of barbarism we have", remarked al Tayyib, recalling the
responsibility of religious leaders, noting that the mistrust between
them "has no raison d'être", and "if peace is not achieved between those
who preach it, it cannot even be transmitted to other individuals".
On several occasions, Pope Francis refused the equation between violence
and Islam. "I", he said as the Bishop of Rome on July 31, during the
press conference on the return flight from the apostolic trip to Poland
"do not like to speak of Islamic violence because every day when I open
the newspapers I see acts of violence, here in Italy: someone kills his
girlfriend, someone else his mother-in-law… And these violent people are
baptized Catholics! They are violent Catholics… If I spoke about
Islamic violence, I would also have to speak about Catholic violence.
Not all Muslims are violent; not all Catholics are violent. It is like a
fruitcake, there is a little bit of everything, there are violent
people in these religions. One thing is true: I believe that in almost
all religions there is always a small fundamentalist group.
Fundamentalist. We have some ourselves. And when fundamentalism gets to
the point of killing – and one can kill with the tongue (these are words
of the Apostle James, not mine) as well as with a knife – … I believe
that it is not right to identify Islam with violence".