PJM: The Pope’s tardy statement, such as it is, manifests a studied ambiguity. What exactly is he saddened about? He doesn’t say. Is he saddened because what was the foremost church in the Christian world for nearly a millennium, and the center of Eastern Christianity, has been made a mosque?
Or is he saddened because this act harms the dialogue that he has so ardently pursued with the Islamic world — even at the price of silence over the Muslim persecution of Christians — and demonstrates that his dialogue partners are not remotely as interested in tolerance, mutual respect, and peaceful coexistence as he likes to pretend that they are?
Has Pope Francis made this unclear statement because he doesn’t wish to say anything clearly in support of maintaining Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum, for fear of offending those Muslim dialogue partners?
He has certainly worked hard to avoid offending them, and they have let him know they’re grateful. In September 2017, Pope Francis met in the Vatican with Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, the secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), a group that has been linked to the financing of jihad terror. During the meeting, al-Issa thanked the pope for his “fair positions” on what he called the “false claims that link extremism and violence to Islam.” more