2012-03-17 Vatican RadioThe President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, has given an interview to the Al Jazeera television network, which first aired in its entirety Saturday morning.
The wide-ranging conversation covered topics including the exodus of Christians from the Middle East, the situation in the Holy Land, discrimination against Muslims in Europe, and inter-religious dialogue. Drawing on his years of experience in the Middle East, Cardinal Tauran said, "Christians have the feeling [that] they are 'second class citizens' in countries where Muslims are the majority." Despite ongoing tensions and difficulties, Cardinal Tauran said, “We succeeded in avoiding the clash of civilisations,” adding, “let us avoid the clash of ignorance'.” He also said that in Europe especially, the need to educate about the Muslim religion is important. “There is fear of Islam [in Europe], but it is due to ignorance,” said Cardinal Tauran. “When you speak to these people - I have spoke to so many of these 'right wing' groups - you realize [that] they have never opened a Koran and never met a Muslim. We need to [make] great efforts to inform.”
Cardinal Tauran also discussed the ongoing Arab Spring movement in connection with the ongoing process of inter-religious dialogue. I hope [the movement] will help," he said.“The aspiration is good." Cardinal Tauran suggested that in order to profit from the movement, we must understand its internal mechanics. "When you look at the Arab Spring, what was the dynamic of that movement? Young people were for dignity, freedom and jobs. These are values, of course, that we share - Christians, Muslims, and, I suppose, every human being in the world.” Listen to Cardinal Tauran’s extended interview with Al Jazeera: