Pope Francis is my hero and
my inspiration. He represents the values of pluralism espoused by Jesus
Christ. That is respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God-given uniqueness
of each one of his creation. No one falls out of his ambit of love, none at
What does mercy to mankind mean? It is the acts and talks of an individual that brings hope and relief to women, children, oppressed, poor, and the weak. Indeed, every religious book places a great value on taking care of fellow humans, and Quran emphasizes repeatedly about taking care of the neighbors. Once Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was asked to compare a man who was praying all the times, and other who did not but always knocks on his neighbor's door to see if he was hungry, and if he were he would share whatever little he had. Prophet's answer is obvious, the best one among is the one who takes care of fellow beings.
Since he became the Pope in March this year, I have followed him and have written 15 articles, and he continues to inspire me. I watched the whole episode including the white smoke from the Chimney to his speech. I feel blessed to be the first Muslim to congratulate him.
On that day, I wrote, "I hope he heralds a new beginning for building a better world. In behalf of the people of faith or no faith, and my faith Islam, I welcome the Pope and make myself to jump at his call for creating peace in the world, where no human has to live in fear of the others, let the world be the new kingdom of heaven where we all feel safe and secure with each other. Amen"
I also wrote there are a few deeply rooted conflicts among the Muslim-Christian, Jewish-Muslim, and Jewish-Christian communities that are the root cause of much of the conflict in the world, they have been simmering within the hearts and minds of the Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and flare up now and then in difficult expressions. It is time to bring a closure to these conflicts.
The world needs a powerful
personality to urge Muslims and Christians to accept the otherness of the other
without the temptation to correct the other. It needs a strong personality that
can absolve Jews from the myths ascribed to them. It needs a pope who is a
blessed peacemaker and extends his embrace to the Pagans, Hindus, and all others
who do not worship or worship God in their own way. We are all children of God
and honoring each other is honoring the creator.
He has got to initiate a dialogue on same-sex marriage, women priesthood, birth control, intrafaith and interfaith relations.
The pope is singularly the most important person on the world stage besides the President of the United States who can affect positive or negative outcomes. He can aggravate the conflicts or mitigate them and earn the blessings of Jesus -- Blessed are the peacemakers.
Nine months later in December, I found him to touch on every issue, indeed every issue I wrote except the women in the priesthood. Two nights ago, I jumped up watching Bill Moyers documentary with Thomas Cahill when he said, the Pope will not touch the topic for a while, indeed, that was what I had said to a few friends, that he will stabilize the current changes and then will take on the other issues. Thomas Cahill and I have fully understood the pope.
The Pope gives me the hope,
that he can influence the world to be a better place to live for every human.
He has already performed the acts of Jesus by embracing humanity regardless of
their beliefs and practices.
Pope Francis has released his new apostolic exhortation, "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel); it was a serendipitous Chanukah gift that brought joy to the Jewish world. It's a good step in the right direction, and I have submitted the genuine conflicts between Muslims and Christians that needs to be addressed. He has touched upon the other conflicts.
After Gandhi, MLK, Mandela, and Mother Teresa, Pope Francis is one person that does not have barriers between him and the humanity. He is almost following the teachings of Jesus and Prophet Muhammad in spirit. Let's pray that he becomes an instrument of mercy to mankind.
If you ask me to point to an ideal Muslim, it would be Pope Francis. He would be an ideal Hindu and an ideal Jew as well.
As a Muslim I am planning to make the pilgrimage to meet this great man and commit to serve God through him in mitigating the Muslim-Christian conflict that has caused so much mis-understanding, disruption, and tension around the world. The other conflicts will follow that.
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