One of the most unreported topics in the Middle East has been failure on the part of religious leaders to assume the mantle of peace rather than of hate. The occasion of the visit by Pope Benedict was seen by peace activists as an opportunity for those of all religions to come together and speak of the importance of peace and forgiveness of the transgressions of others. Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamini, the chief Islamic judge of the Palestinian Authority had originally not been scheduled to speak, but he decided to make his views known and proceeded to engage in what Pope Benedict XVI felt was a venomous attack on Israel. The Pope’s response was to walk out of the interreligious dialogue.
Where are the rabbis and imams of peace? Where are religious leaders who can speak to their people of the need to forget the past and focus on current opportunities for peace? Here was an opportunity to express love and the importance of faith in the process of peace, but once again Muslim religious figures only proved they could be as pig headed and obstinate as their Jewish religious opponents. We can only assume these learned individuals who study religious documents believe God is on the side of hate and war.