Bettye Wells Miller, Press-Enterprise, 9/18/06
Leaders of Southern California's Muslim community will meet this week with Cardinal Roger Mahony in Los Angeles to voice concern about controversial remarks Pope Benedict XVI made in Germany last week and to reinforce an interfaith relationship some leaders characterized as positive.
Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, said leaders attending the meeting also will ask the cardinal to convene Catholic bishops in the region to further encourage interfaith discussions. The Shura Council is an association of more than 70 mosques in Southern California.
A spokesman for Mahony confirmed that the cardinal will hold a private meeting with Muslim leaders this week. . .
Hussam Ayloush, a Corona resident and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Southern California chapter, said American Muslims and Catholics have had a good relationship based on mutual understanding and cooperation.
The meeting with Cardinal Mahony is not intended to debate the theology of the pope's remarks, he said.
"The point is to reinforce our friendship, that we oppose any language or action that tends to shake that friendship and alliance," Ayloush said.
Ayloush and others condemned violent reactions to the pope's address.
"Someone has to take a step back and diffuse the tension," he said. "We cannot afford to be pulled away from dialogue and mutual understanding. The other option is mistrust, hatred and immoral acts of violence."