A Muslim's perspective of hope on the accession of Pope Francis 1

2013-03-15 08:00

Wednesday the 13 March 2013 found me in a state of semi-permanent fixation as the closing hours towards the selection of Pope Francis started with the texted message on my twitter read "habemus papa" or we have a Pope. Pope Emeritus Benedict's sudden departure from the centre stage left a vacuum. Hence Pope Francis 1 becoming the 266th successor to St Peter.

What does all this have to do with me, a Muslim? Plenty in fact. Both John Paul 2 and Benedict had during their tenure achieved and did nothing constructive, towards building bridges instead of condoning high walls amongst members of the Tri-Abrahamic family, apart from token visits to Muslim lands such as Turkey and making an odd favourable comment about Islam. In fact, if we recall, Pope Emeritus Benedict quoting last year, some obscure pope's adverse comments about Islam that reignited centuries old animosity between Islam and Christianity setting the cat amongst pigeons of peace nestling in a state of cordial entente.

Enter Pope Francis 1. His appointment, from my vantage point is significant for apart from being the first non-European Pope of Jesuit persuasion and coming from a troubled continent, his very pedigree suggests to me that he is alive to the dangers of division informed by intractible positions and extremism that links the Tri-Abrahamic family and many may have missed a statement he made shortly after assuming the office that he would be collaborating with Judaism and I have no doubt that he will do like wise with Islam,assuming the media prints every statement and act that Pope Francis 1 does instead of selective reporting.

Many, reading this, miss the point often diluted or not published in the electronic and printed media,that all three religions emanate from the same patriarch Prophet Abraham (PBUH) whom God promised a wealth of nations. Many,reading this, miss the point of how high does the Quran elevate Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and his mother Mary (Peace Be upon her) and that over a third of the Quran reverently extols them and behoves Muslims that there is no hierarchy of Prophets,all coming and spreading the same message to communities and nations sprinkled by God all over the world. This is not the time and space to analyse what went wrong and continues to keep this family apart and for what ends and purposes.

Enter a fresh mind, informed by experience and history of what needs to be done and I have faith enough to believe that Pope Francis 1, like his namesake Francis of Asisi, although some whisper like the Jesuit namesake Francis Xavier, will be a unifier first of Christiandom and then a bridge builder linking and bringing together members of the Tri-Abrahamic family and with Easter celebration closing in,I feel and believe that we are on the cusp of something extraordinary........

Saber Jazbhay

Follow me @jazlaw24

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