We present as follows a quote from Tony Blair, Prime Minister of United Kingdom, which was published quite recently in Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007.
Since the pagan festival of Christmas, celebrated by the Trinitarian polytheists, is fast approaching on the 25th of December, we would like on this occassion present a fatawa (Islamic ruling) for the Muslims with regard to celebrating their festival or even congratulating them. It should be noted that the Christians believe that Jesus is literally God, hence to participate or even greet them is to agree with their doctrine. Therefore Muslims should be aware of the boundaries with regard to Christmas and how one should approach it.
What then is hajj? In essence, hajj is man’s evolution toward Allah; his return to Him. It is a symbolic demonstration of the philosophy of creation of Adam (AS: alayhis salam), the first man. To further illustrate this, it may be stated that the performance of hajj is a simultaneous show or exhibit of many things. It is a show of creation. It is a show of history. It is a show of unity. It is a show of Islamic ideology. It is a show of Ummah, the community of Muslims.
I am growing increasingly frustrated at the mealy-mouthed, apologetic bunch of Muslims paraded across our TV screens these days. And just when one lot suddenly wake up, smell the coffee and begin to disagree with US and British foreign policies, another bunch take their place.
But why did the Muslim react in such a manner when Pope Benedict repeated something that we are already accustomed to hearing from not so friendly western public figures? After all flamboyant televangelists like Jerry Falwell have said worse things than the Pope –- calling the Prophet of Islam a paedophile and terrorist – yet we never asked for an apology. In the modern era, not least because of the late Pope John Paul II, Muslims have a genuine respect for the head of the Catholic church. The Crusades, the Reconquista, the Inquisitions were far behind us. The Catholic Church with its long history and tradition, its large number of faithful and the authority of its leadership, its unambiguous moral precepts and its liturgies and rites represent what constitutes Christian orthodoxy to ordinary Muslim eyes, as the last bastion against the inexorable march of secularization of western society.
In the 12th century, Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny, initiated a dialogue with the Islamic world. “I approach you …