Magazine article The Christian Century

Reporter Urges Church to Be Frank in Islam Dialogue

Magazine article The Christian Century

Reporter Urges Church to Be Frank in Islam Dialogue

Article excerpt

Churches in dialogue with Islam should not be so quick to blame themselves for the rise of extremist Muslim groups and should say frankly that Islam as a whole has yet to reach a major self-critical era in its history, according to a prizewinning Dutch journalist. Pieter van der Ven, desk chief for religion and philosophy at the daily newspaper Trouw, made his remarks in receiving the John Templeton European Religion Writer of the Year Award in Geneva.

After September 11, many church-people, said van der Ven, were ready "to admit that Christianity and Western arrogance and wealth are much to blame for the wrongs in the world," and as a result were reluctant to sound critical and afraid of appearing superior. Feeling "more comfortable in the mca culpa business," they tended to "shun" the debate about Muslim-Western relations, which, as a result, was left to journalists, philosophers and professors, said van der Ven, whose background is Catholic. …

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