World pays tribute to a pope who reached out to world |

More Kind Words for John Paul:

The Christian Science Monitor has a roundup piece on tributes to the deceased Pope. One among those offering condolences is Hasyim Muzadi, leader of the single largest Muslim organization in the world -- Indonesia's Nahdlatul Ulama:

"We ... certainly feel sorrow for the passing away of the pope because he has dedicated himself all his life to humanitarian and peace efforts," said Hasyim Muzadi, a Muslim leader in the world's largest Muslim country, Indonesia.
Muzadi's own contributions to peace are notable. This very week, he has been on an extended trip to the nation of Thailand, experiencing a Muslim insurgency in its southern provinces. The trip is being spun by supporters of the insurgency against the Thai government, but in fact it was a show of support. The Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, notes that Muzadi blames the insurgency on evildoers, not on religion. Thaksin has been taking the advice he's gotten on avoiding a religious war to heart. Muzadi, in turn, has promised to provide regular counsel to the Prime Minister and the King of Thailand, and to lead outreach efforts designed to reconcile Thais and the Malay-speaking Muslim majority in their south.

Thaksin also had kind words for the Pope. Though he did not mention it, the royals of Thailand were raised and educated in Catholic schools. Buddhists themselves, they nevertheless demonstrate the strong intellectual ties that the Catholic church has nurtured throughout the world. It is worth reflecting on the contrast in these religious men. Al Qaeda and Jemmah Islamiyah work to tear Muslims apart from the rest of the world. But Buddhist, Muslim and Catholic can come together in Thailand, to work for a better world.

So goes the war among the oratores. I know which theology I expect to win that battle. It only remains for us bellatores to gain them the space, and the time.

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