Egypt: “Europe, be careful not to lose your soul!”

Source: FSSPX News

Fr. Henri Boulad.

Fr. Christophe Roucou, director of the National Service for Relations with Islam (SRI) in the Conference of French Bishops, divulged a text signed on February 4, 2011, in Alexandria by Fr. Henri Boulad, an Egyptian Jesuit of Syrian ancestry, director of the Jesuit Cultural Center of Alexandria, and by Soliman Chafik, a journalist and political analyst.

In this text is to be found an analysis of the situation on the spot: “The majority of Christians – except for certain activists or committed intellectuals – stand rather aloof from these political upheavals and, it would seem, have received instructions from their hierarchy to do so.  Indeed, they live in fear and expect the worst if the Muslim Brothers should come into power.  For the moment, thank God, no confessional incident has occurred, although the churches and convents are no longer protected by the police.”

When questioned by Geneviève Delrue (RFI) on February 27, Fr. Henri Boulad analyzed the revolt of the Egyptian youth, adding that they refuse the military dictatorship in which they found themselves, just as much as an eventual religious dictatorship.  There is a sort of secularization of the youth of Egypt, explains Fr. Boulad, or at least of the youth connected to the Internet all year long.  The Jesuit sees in this an evolution of the mentalities of the youth between 25 and 35 years old, who refuse any religious connection and dream of a civil and democratic society.  He underlines that the Muslim Brothers, very organized and the principal force of the opposition, were not at the origin of the popular movements but wanted to take them over for their own profit.  He recalls as well that the “Internet youth” of Egypt, although they still believe, wish to distance themselves from religious powers, be it the Islamic University of Al Alzhar, the mosques or the Muslim Brothers.  We still cannot say, he adds, what is going to come of all this: will it be a theocratic power?  At present it is a wrestling match between all those concerned, and the strengths present are unequal: the moral strength of the youth, the political strength of the Muslim Brothers, and the strength of the army that enjoys American support confront each other to decide the country's future that cannot yet be discerned.

Jacques Berset of the agency Apic had questioned Fr. Boulad in November 2006, after the polemic raised by Benedict XVI's quote on September 12, at the University of Ratisbonne, concerning the relations of Islam with reason and violence.  At the time he called this quotation unfortunate but necessary to burst an abcess, that of all that is left unsaid in the inter-religious dialogue.  “This invitation to dialogue has always come from Rome,” explained Fr. Boulad, “and even if Islam has responded cordially, the initiative has never come from their side.  The Muslims do not believe in dialogue.  Perhaps they are right, and perhaps they are more realistic than the Catholics.  Indeed, a dialogue consists in listening to the other, and trying to understand what he wants to tell us.  But practically speaking, dialogue is booby-trapped with Islam, for the Catholics are certain that they possess the truth and the Muslims are just as certain of the same thing.  In a dialogue, what each unconsciously seeks is to convince the other and to persuade him that one's own religion is the only

Developing this point, the Jesuit Father went on to say that the theological debate is sterile, first of all because it is the Muslims' profound conviction that there is only one religion, Islam, as the Koran teaches; secondly, because the effort of critical reflection (ijtihad) is forbidden to the ulama, “so much so that one can discuss only with the  non-azharites, that is those who are a part neither of the ulama nor of the sheikhs of the Islamic University of Al-Azhar.  With the azharites, there is no place for reasoning but one is only to give quotes the Koran.  What we affirm is false, because the Koran says the contrary.  It is of no use to give historical, philosophical, logical or rational proofs.”

For the Egyptian priest, “on the theological level, there is nothing to be hoped for beyond drawing room chats and friendship.  We are on two different levels, two mentalities that do not mix.  As for Europe, what is she becoming with her 'politically correct'? In the name of liberalism, he declares, you are allowing fanaticism and intolerance to penetrate by means of immigration.  Europe is letting herself be fooled, “for Islam is not compatible with a democratic society.  It is not a question of individuals – most of them are very kind and sympathetic – but of a system.”

“It is a totalitarian society, and when they will have become the majority in Europe, it will be too late.  You have to know that a mosque is not only a place of worship and prayer, it is often also a place of propaganda, for Islam and politics are inseparable.  All this, Europe pretends not to know.  Unfortunately, even the Catholic Church, in France, at the Vatican, takes advice only from soft Islamologists.  As a closing remark, I will say this: Europe, be careful not to lose your soul!” (Sources: apic/RFI – DICI#231, March 3, 2011)

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