Originally published in Hartford Courant
Prayers and congratulations emanated from Muslims to Catholics as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio ascended the papacy after Pope Benedict’s resignation. The previous pope had insulted Islam and its holy founder Muhammad in his Regensburg Lecture, whereas Cardinal Bergoglio devoted a large portion of his efforts to strengthening Catholic-Islamic ties. Muslims are enthusiastic that he’ll continue the noble pursuit like Pope John Paul II.
Christians, Jews and other monotheistic believers are recognized as “people of the Book” in the Quran. I pray that we unite in service to become the beneficial body of people described in the Holy Quran as “the best people raised for the good of mankind because you enjoin goodness, forbid evil and believe” (3:111).
As a Muslim, I hope to join forces with my Catholic friends in caring for the poor and fulfilling the pressing need for worldwide harmony both between people and with the environment.