Originally Posted by IsaAbdullah
12.01.2006 Friday - ISTANBUL 00:35
Papal Visit won't Heal Wounds
By Reuters, Cihan News Agency, Rome
Thursday, November 16, 2006
An upcoming visit to Turkey by Pope XVI Benedict will not stop Muslims from feeling wounded by his remarks on Islam, said Ali Bardakoglu, the top religious authority in Turkey, in an interview with Italian daily La Stampa.
Bardakoglu will meet with the pope during his visit to Turkey from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.
Bardakoglu rebutted rumors of possible flaws in security for the Pope, but admitted the psychological effect of recent protests.
“This visit will not solve all problems but it will be a good step toward further dialogue,” said Bardakoglu. “Peace is possible to destroy in a second but it takes years and years to reestablish.”
Muslim reaction against the pope’s remarks on Sept. 12 forced him to apologize, but he never put his regret in exact terms.
Although Bardakoglu expressed his approval of the pope’s regret, he reiterated that the remarks were “unacceptable.”
“It makes no difference whether deplorable remarks about Islam came from someone who is not a cleric, or from someone religious, of from someone important. What matters is to make up for such remarks…. But all this is in the past now. We’re looking ahead,” said Bardakoglu.
Afterwards the pope tried to improve his image by saying that he meant his words to be an explanation for a link between religion and reason, not between religion and violence.
Bardakoglu responded to the papal statements saying that they could lead to academic misinterpretation of the situation: “Islam does not disregard reason. There is evidence in the Quran that God takes into account the role of reason.”
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is the current president of Religious Affairs of Turkey, also known as Diyanet Isleri
in Turkish. The president of this institution is the highest Islamic
authority in Turkey
Ali Bardakoğlu was born in 1952 in Tosyar
in the province
. He has been the President of Diyanet Isleri since May 2003. In 1975 he completed his studies of law at the Istanbul Marmara University
and gained Bachelor
title at this faculty. Later he became assistant for Islamic law
at the High Islamic Institute in Kayseri
. In 1982, he earned his PhD in Islamic studies at the Atatürk University
and taught as Assistant professor at the theology faculty of the Erciyes University
. From 1991 to 1992 he lived in the United Kingdom
and in 1994 he visited the United States
for the first time.
He is well known in Turkey and Europe as a moderate Islamic leader. He announced, in 2005, two women from Diyanet Isleri as vice muftis
(i.e. professional jurists who interpret Islamic law and counselor who help local Muslims on religious issues) for the mosques
of the Turkish cities of Kayseri
. In February 2006 he participated as an honored guest in the opening ceremony of a Protestant church
He met with Pope Benedict
XVI in November 28th 2006 to help ease the tension between the Pope and radical Muslims in Turkey.
He speaks Turkish
. He is married and has three children.
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