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10 Things to Know About Islam View Comments
By Christopher Heffron

Contrary to what some believe, Islam is not a breeding ground for terrorism. Rather, it is a religion
that promotes prayer, almsgiving, selfimprovement and respect for one’s neighbors as outlined in the Quran.

There is a line in the holy Quran that edifies just as it disarms us: “O people of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you.”

That verse speaks of what is lacking between Muslims and Christians: peaceful convergence and dialogue. It’s as though God, the first champion of interreligious dialogue, is inspiring us to shelve our differences and speak with civil tongues. But far too often we have chosen not to listen.

It’s fair to say that most Catholics, prior to 9/11, lacked awareness of Islam—a bit shocking given the number of Muslims around the world. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35 percent in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030.

The events of 9/11 changed everything. After that day, our dearth of information merged with something far more sinister: suspicion.

Recent events, such as the Quran burning at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, and the planned Islamic center near Ground Zero, have only widened the gulf between Muslims and Christians. But before a better relationship between Muslims and Christians can begin, understanding and education are fundamental.

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it would be especially wise for us to understand who our Muslim brothers and sisters are and what their history and culture can teach us.

Here are 10 things we all should know about Islam.

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Christopher Heffron is the assistant editor of this publication. Karen Dabdoub, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (ohio.cair.com), contributed to this article.

Thank you for your comments. Editors will review all posts before they are visible on the website.

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Robert Bellarmine: When Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570, the study of Church history and the fathers of the Church was in a sad state of neglect. A promising scholar from his youth in Tuscany, he devoted his energy to these two subjects, as well as to Scripture, in order to systematize Church doctrine against the attacks of the Protestant Reformers. He was the first Jesuit to become a professor at Louvain. 
<p>His most famous work is his three-volume <i>Disputations on the Controversies </i><em>of the Christian Faith</em>. Particularly noteworthy are the sections on the temporal power of the pope and the role of the laity. He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable. He developed the theory of the indirect power of the pope in temporal affairs; although he was defending the pope against the Scottish philosopher Barclay, he also incurred the ire of Pope Sixtus V. </p><p>Bellarmine was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII on the grounds that "he had not his equal for learning." While he occupied apartments in the Vatican, Bellarmine relaxed none of his former austerities. He limited his household expenses to what was barely essential, eating only the food available to the poor. He was known to have ransomed a soldier who had deserted from the army and he used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, "The walls won't catch cold." </p><p>Among many activities, he became theologian to Pope Clement VIII, preparing two catechisms which have had great influence in the Church. </p><p>The last major controversy of Bellarmine's life came in 1616 when he had to admonish his friend Galileo, whom he admired. Bellarmine delivered the admonition on behalf of the Holy Office, which had decided that the heliocentric theory of Copernicus (the sun as stationary) was contrary to Scripture. The admonition amounted to a caution against putting forward—other than as a hypothesis—theories not yet fully proved. This shows that saints are not infallible. </p><p>Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621. The process for his canonization was begun in 1627 but was delayed until 1930 for political reasons, stemming from his writings. In 1930, Pope Pius XI canonized him and the next year declared him a doctor of the Church.</p> American Catholic Blog The joy of the Lord is our strength. Therefore, each of us will accept a life of poverty in cheerful trust. We will minister to Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor with cheerful devotion. If our work is done with joy, we will have no reason to be unhappy.

 
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