Will Francis follow Benedict or Obama when he speaks to Muslims in Egypt?


Crux, 27 April 2017

Pope Francis must choose how he addresses the Muslim community when he visits Egypt this week. He has two models: Former U.S. President Barack Obama and former Pope Benedict XVI. When a newly-elected Obama decided to address the “Muslim world” from Cairo in 2009, he insisted that Islam is a “religion of peace,” corrupted by a small few, and that there is nothing particularly Islamic about the violence committed by those who claim to be acting in the name of the Islam. The alternative approach was taken by Benedict in his 2006 Regensburg address, where he advanced the argument that how we understand God Himself determines how we understand what He might command.

When Pope Francis travels to Egypt this Friday and Saturday, what will he say about Islam? Will it be Benedict XVI at Regensburg, or Barack Obama at Cairo?

The Holy Father arrives just weeks after ISIS attempted to assassinate Pope Tawadros II, the most senior Christian pastor in Egypt, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church. ISIS did not get Tawadros, but killed dozens in their two Palm Sunday bombings.

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