A Letter to His Holiness Pope John Paul II
A letter from His Eminence to His Holiness Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the birthday of Jesus, peace be upon him.
24 December 1998
Your Holiness Pope John Paul II
Christians and Muslims these days are celebrating Jesus’ birthday. On this great occasion, people’s hopes in achieving the prophets’ objectives are being renewed. These prophets were sent by God, the Lord of Creation to bring about human brotherhood.
Almighty God says:
“O people, We created you from [a single pair of] a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes that you may get to know one another. Surely, the most honourable of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you.” T.Q., 49:13.
The honourable messengers conveyed their messages perfectly. Afterwards, their successors and followers have continued their missions by conveying these messages to all human beings to guide and save them from atheism, misguidance and corruption, and to transfer them to the world of brotherhood, cooperation and love where no injustice, aggression or oppression prevails.
The more these successors are able to commit themselves to these messages, the closer humans will be to their united aim.
In 1986, I was so optimistic when I met you and got to know from Your Holiness the regret your church and congregation have about the Crusades and the aggressive wars that took place in the Middle Ages and the pains and harms they caused to humanity and civilisation.
We both agreed on the necessity that each of us has to shoulder the responsibility of conveying the message to humanity so as not to be questioned about the spreading of atheism that has happened because the followers of religions neglect their duties towards humanity.
I was so pleased at your attitude towards many human issues in this world, such as your condemnation of the injustice and aggression committed against some nations by tyrannical powers which claim to belong to Christianity and modern civilisation.
We as Muslims in the Arab and Muslim worlds still commit ourselves to respecting human values since they are basic in our doctrine. For any Muslim who does not believe in Moses and his Torah, and Jesus and his Gospel, his faith is invalid because belief in all prophets and messengers and belief in their Scriptures are two essential pillars of the Muslim faith.
Once I was asked by one of the ambassadors in my country about the number of Christians in Syria. I replied that our people in Syria are all Christian because a Muslim has to believe in Christ and his message.
We feel a lot of pain and grief when the West in general and the United States in particular support the Zionist aggression on Palestine and especially on Jerusalem. We still remember the US Congress’s decision in recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. We cannot forget how the US rewards Israel with billions of dollars, modern weapons and sophisticated technology while at the same time Israel rebels against the world and the tens of resolutions taken by the United Nations and its Security Council.
Israel continues amassing huge amounts of chemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction, and it goes unaccountable while the Iraqi people are being hit, blockaded and starved. Iraqi children and old people are being blockaded and killed through some lame excuses that most countries have been condemning and rejecting.
Witnessing all that, most Western churches have done nothing to stop or even condemn this unjust situation imposed on the Muslim world, whether in Palestine, Iraq, Sudan or Libya. This situation has made a British MP condemn the aggression on Iraq by warplanes and missiles and described it as a new crusade not by Richard the Lionheart but by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.
Your Holiness, today we live in a different world. We are likened to the dwellers of one house where each one lives in his or her room. We gather around one screen through which we view the whole world at the same time. So today we cannot ignore the truths or delay taking decisions. Your Holiness has been adopting a magnificent stance against injustice and aggression and for truth, justice and freedom. So can we keep silent towards what is happening? Is it a new Crusade?
If it is not so, why do we accept the one-pole world system, which uses the international organisations in a contradictory way and applies double standards to achieve its unjust colonial interests?
Are human beings in some countries more honoured than, or superior to, those in other countries? Why are double standards being applied to Muslim issues?
Will we need, with the passing of time, to hear the apology for practices and mistakes that we make today?
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, ‘Do not get involved in anything that you might need to apologise for.’ Mustadrak Al-Hakim.
The question at issue now is this: for how long will this decline and deterioration continue? What will our state be when we are brought to account before our Lord?
Your Holiness, I am addressing my Christian brothers and sisters in the world through you to make them aware of this responsibility. We, like yourselves, believe in Jesus Christ (pbuh) and sanctify his message. Jesus Christ and Muhammad, peace be upon them, are mere brothers who complete each other’s messages.
Let us stretch the hands of brotherhood and cooperation instead of the hands of aggression and killing, and let us offer humanity love and peace instead of hatred and bloodshed.
The world is looking forward to see a strong stance from your side against making Jerusalem Jewish and expelling its Christian and Muslim indigenous people.
In 1967 the Christian population was 38,000 in Jerusalem alone. Today, instead of increasing to 120,000, it has fallen to a mere 12,500. As for Muslims, they have faced an even larger expulsion.
You may recognise the danger of this matter when you know that in 1918 the number of Jews in Palestine was not more than 55,000 out of 700,000 (the total population at that time). This means they constituted only 8% of the population.
The world is looking forward to hearing your attitudes against corruption, evil and aggression on people especially on women, children and the aged regardless of their religion, colour or ethnicity. Such an action accords with your opinions expressed in your letter sent on the occasion of the 32nd World Peace Day, in which you point out that respecting human rights and ensuring world peace are strongly connected, and that the basis of freedom, justice and peace is in recognising dignity for all human beings.
Finally, may you accept my best congratulations!
A Happy and Merry Christmas
(T.Q. = Translation of the meanings of the Holy Qur’an)
(pbuh = May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, and may Allah exalt his mention and raise his position more and more)