What Did the Imam Really Say? Revisited

I read at Il Giornale today that the prayer read by the Imam in the Vatican Gardens was indeed from the Sura 2, wherein Allah is asked to crush infidels (that’s us) and let Islam triumph over the whole world (that’s us, too). Vatican Radio, at the time, tried to give this an allegorical spin. It didn’t work very well.  At a certain point it seems they also tried to edit out the troubling passage.

Suffice to say that an Imam sang: “grant us victory over the heathen/disbelieving/infidel” (Sura 2: 286) in the Vatican Gardens, in front of the Pope, during an “ecumenical” gathering for peace.

I wrote about this, when it happened, in my entry What Did the Imam Really Say? I posted video there and the comments are interesting (especially HERE).

My fast translation:

He wasn’t in a mosque, but in the Vatican Gardens and, a few meters away from him, there was also Pope Francis. It’s 8 June, Pentecost Sunday. In the Vatican, at prayer for peace in the Midde East, there are, with the Pontiff, Abu Mazen and Shimon Peres. But the Sure II read by the Imam wasn’t agreed on ahead of time. This is about a breach in protcol that many have taken as an offense.

The incident, reported by Andrea Morigi in Libero, was for a long time swept under the carpet. The text read by the Palestinian Sunni Imam was not agreed upon ahead of time and the harsh tones about infidels (miscredenti) were not in line with the spirit of the day which had been proposed by Bergoglio during his visit in the Holy Land. “At that moment,” Morigi recounts, “the dignitaries of the three monotheistic religions didn’t bat an eye. Those who knew Arabic pretended not to notice anything, even if the videos of the event show them decidedly embarrassed.” Pope Francis, however, wasn’t in a position to take in the importance of what happened. On an official level, the breach in protocol was immediately minimized: Fr Bernd Hagenkord, the Jesuit head of the German section of Vatican Radio, tried to give another reading of Sura II from the Koran. It’s a pity that the passage read by the Imam was immediately excised by Vatican Radio itself.


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  1. Mike says:

    The enemy within the gates. An outrage.

  2. James Joseph says:

    I know of a fella who actually publicly renounced his Catholic faith over this event. He said that the evil of Islam surpasses any possible good that a True Faith could bring. His mistake was of course thinking his own faith a rock. And then, in a sort of syllogism: The Church is not true because She welcomes Islam into Her gardens.

    Methinks, perhaps, the said fellow should read the words of Pope St. John Paul II in encyclical letter ‘Dominum et Vificantem’ concerning the prince of this world being let into the garden in the aftermath of the last council.

  3. iPadre says:

    Saint Pius V, pray for us!

  4. BLB Oregon says:

    “…grant us victory over the disbelieving…”
    Be careful what you ask for, for God gives good things to those who ask.
    Certainly it is no ill will to pray for the victory of conversion over those who oppose the Gospel: that is, by the winning of their souls from error.

    May the imam have his prayer answered. May he come to believe in the Gospel.

  5. excalibur says:

    What difference does it make now?

    As per Vatican II we all worship the same God. The Egyptians worshiped Ra, they were worshiping the same God, right?


  6. acardnal says:

    “What difference does it make now?”

    Wow! A quote from Hillary Clinton.

  7. Priam1184 says:

    Can anyone really say that the Catholic Church (I am not talking about each and every individual Catholic but the Church as a whole) has really been faithful to her calling during any of our lifetimes or even for a long time before that? Would it really be a shock if some of the things that we have now were not taken away from us and given to others?

    As for the bit about the unbelievers that is the Qur’an. If you ask an imam to cite something from the Qur’an then that is what you will get. Most of the Qur’an is about victory over the unbelievers, except for those bits about Jesus and Mary that the angel who called himself Gabriel borrowed from pre-Islamic heretical Christian texts.

  8. JustaSinner says:

    I’m thinking Crusades, part deux! (Yes, I still have visions of the Cross in churches throughout Syria in my lifetime.)

  9. DisturbedMary says:

    Bowe Bergdahls father, imam wannabe Bob, did something similar at the White House when he spoke in Arabic these words: “in the name of Allah the most gracious and most merciful” which are the opening words of every chapter of the Qur’an except one (the chapter of the sword – the 9th). By uttering these words on the grounds of the WH, the father sanctified the WH and claimed it for Islam. Stuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuupid is all I can say when we offer our trust to Islam. Utterly STTTTTUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUPID.

  10. Clinton R. says:

    Interfaith praying services like this and Assisi I, II and III are nothing short of a disaster. We are to proclaim Jesus, not give credence to false religions. We could not have imagined St. Peter inviting pagans and having them offer prayers to Mars or Jupiter. But that is the “fruits” of the ‘spirit’ of the 2nd Council. Peace at the expense of Truth. But as we see from the violence that has erupted once again between Israel and the Palestinians, there is no peace without the Prince of Peace. Domine, miserere nobis. +JMJ+

  11. Mike says:

    This should have been chanted in the Vatican Gardens that day: http://youtu.be/M0d4qM7gCH8

  12. Joseph-Mary says:

    Surely more dialogue will bring peace and stop the murdering of the Christians in the world, right?

  13. Kathleen10 says:

    I need to expand my vocabulary. I’m looking for words that surpass “outrageous”, and can’t find any. Mind-numbingly horrible. Soul-dispiritingly lousy. See, none of these work.
    Besides meaningless shows-of-unity-that-doesn’t-exist, what good do these dog and pony shows do for anybody? This would be exactly what I, a nobody, would expect when inviting an imam to anything, but it is shocking to think this would happen in our Vatican. If I would have anticipated it, then certainly those in the inner circle of Catholicism should have anticipated it. Beyond all the other great reasons to avoid having the Vatican garden the site for an imam to ask their god for the opportunity to annihilate us, it is utterly disheartening that he was given that golden opportunity with a Pope in attendance. Just as at the White House when Bowe Bergdahl’s weird father did basically the same thing, these things have meaning in the arab world, so they are empowered and we appear eternally naive, which is not a good look for one engaged in a life and death struggle, even if most of one side doesn’t even realize there is a struggle. Must we always look like the gullible weaklings clamoring for “peace” when there is a dark force who has proven they want only to conquer and eliminate us? The illusion of “peace” gains us nothing, encourages the enemy, and knocks the wind out of a Catholic’s sails. Where is WISDOM.

  14. aquinas138 says:


    The use of the phrase “in the name of Allah the most gracious and most merciful,” which phrase is called the bismillah (Arabic for “in the name of Allah”) is basically the Islamic equivalent of a Catholic making the sign of the Cross and invoking the Trinity. It is not a consecratory formula, but rather a brief prayer before the faithful Muslim begins most activities. There is no need to exaggerate what happened into something it wasn’t.

  15. Iacobus M says:

    Unless and until Islam “evolves” into something it has never been, I don’t see how any fruitful dialogue is possible. These folks don’t want peace, unless you define “peace” as the whole world under Islamic rule.

  16. Supertradmum says:

    Solzenitsyn once said that the United States could not have detente with unbelievers. Atheists and people who believe in God have only reason in common, and many times reason is set aside for ideologies, power, control, wealth and so on.

    One cannot speak the same language as the atheist or the Islamists. Those with world-views and gods which differ so much from the Revelation of the Trinity must be open to hearing the Word of God. If they are not open, Christ told us what to do-walk away.

    Matthew 10:14 Douay-Rheims

    14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet.

    I was thinking of Christopher Hitchens today and said a little prayer, again, for God’s mercy. But, his brother, Peter, was more realistic about Christopher’s life and death. He once pondered the painting of such found here


    There are three ways to deal with unbelievers who insist on their unbelief: one, fast and pray and do not continue to expect them to listen to reason; two, no longer pretend there is common ground and deal with the reality of division; three, if those who are unbelievers are violent, defend one’s self, family, country.

    Sorry, but detente always does not work.

  17. I know of a fella who actually publicly renounced his Catholic faith over this event. He said that the evil of Islam surpasses any possible good that a True Faith could bring.

    While this is of course very sad, and I am sympathetic, it also sounds like someone who’s (a) talkin’ awful big, and/or (b) been waiting for an excuse. It’s like those people who say they left the Church over its failure to ordain women, when actually they left a lot earlier when they rejected its teaching on birth control.

    It sounds also like the Muslims won with this person, as renouncing Catholicism over this is a bit of an own goal.

    Perhaps we need to increase our prayer for the scandalised, as well as for the conversion of Islam.

  18. I was thinking of Christopher Hitchens today and said a little prayer, again, for God’s mercy.

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I pray for all sorts of strange people, living and dead, including Mel Gibson …

  19. BenYachov says:

    As an Arab Language speaking Coptic Catholic once pointed out to me the Koran contradicts itself.
    In some places in this tome it appears to teach tolerance for other faiths and condemns forced conversion. Yet in other places it calls for conquest and subjugation of non-believers.

    In some places Jews and Christians are “Peoples of the book” and not infidels who will be saved by Allah & in other places they share the fate of the Pagans.

    It means whatever you want it too mean.

    Of course it’s not the Word of Allah. That would be the 73 book Catholic Bible.

  20. AVL says:

    Ay chiuaua. Dearest Pope Francis, I love you but in the future, please file under “Bad ideas”.

  21. Johnno says:

    The ecumenists will never learn until their heads are in the guillotine. Which, as our Lord warned, lest the Pope follow after the example of the King of France, fail to obey Heaven’s directives, he shall suffer the same fate.

  22. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    May Saint John Baptist protect Catholicism and all the people of Rome, and all who participated in this celebration, a memorable celebration.

  23. Supertradmum says:

    The Vatican knows that there are very few Catholic men who would fight another Crusade. Most Catholic men do not have the strength or courage to go to war for the Church and truth, especially against Muslims.

    We need a renewal of the type of men and women who fought at Lepanto and Vienna. Until then, these attempts at “peace” will be attempted again and again. Remember, there are now, as of a few days ago, no more Christians in Mosul for the first time in Christian history.

    Do American Catholics really care that the Muslims want and have stated so over and over, a global theocracy under Islam?

    Not new, not going away…

  24. Pingback: Imam Goes Off Script at Vatican | Fr Stephen Smuts

  25. Pingback: The Faith of Elijah | Peg Pondering Again

  26. Peg Demetris says:

    Oh the faith of Elijah – Like him, we must remember, it doesn’t matter what the Imam said. What is taking place through the “works” of Islam in the Middle East and here in the US, is that of man, not of God. When man jumps to conclusions he takes matters into his own hands. Thus the ravishing of the Christians in the Middle East. Also the ravishing of Christians via the “pen” here in the US. “You will know them by their fruits”. What does matter is we believe in One God. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Stand Firm in the Lord
    …6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”. Pray!

  27. Vecchio di Londra says:

    For me it wasn’t even so much the words of the Sura (‘and make us victorious over the tribe of unbelievers’) provocatively unpeaceful though they are, it was the imam’s improvised spoken prayer at the end that was completely outrageous. It started out deliberately neutral (‘Oh Allah, you are peace, and peace is from you’). But then the imam realized he could get away with anything he said (if you look at the video after 4.00 you can see he’s looking out of the corner of his eyes over to the dais to see if Netanyahu or the Holy Father were making any reaction, but they weren’t, and Abbas was just looking away half-embarrassed, trying not to catch anyone’s eye). So he ventured out on the ice ‘Make the downtrodden of this world victorious’ (the victims are always the ‘believers’ btw, not anyone else :-) and then a bit further still: ‘Make victorious those whose blood has been spilled and those who are bereaved’ – (well, there’s only side that can be victorious, guess which one…) ‘And [make victorious] those who have been displaced and threatened’ (ditto – clear reference to the Palestinians. He certainly wasn’t thinking of the displaced Christians of Mosul.)
    Then to finish off he reverted to the programme – the neutral bit about peace, justice, humanity, greatness of God and his messenger etc…’
    Classic, deliberate taquiyya.

    I wonder how much of what the imam recited (and said) was contained in those little programme booklets given to the Pope and the two leaders…

    But there’s also a diplomatic point here. There were no professional interpreters on hand, no headphones. Netanyahu may not have known quite enough Arabic to understand – at the time – what the imam was saying: but you can bet he’s found out by now, just as we have. He won’t be impressed. I only hope someone in the Vatican has been in touch with the Israeli government to tell them the imam’s prayer was unscheduled, and to express honest regret.

  28. St Donatus says:

    Thankfully these ecumenical displays have had many good fruits. Yes, now Christians can practice their faith in Muslim countries freely just as Muslim can in Christian countries. Yes, no longer do rockets come out of the the West Bank into Israel, no longer to Christians get martyred in places like Syria, Iraq, Egypt and now Libya. Yes, these ecumenical projects are having great fruits as with even the Anglicans as they move their practices and beliefs closer to their roots in Catholicism.

    Oh sorry, just having a dream.

  29. daveams says:

    I don’t like the idea of such a prayer being said in the Vatican, but I do have to say that I don’t blame the imam at all. “Breach of protocol?” Really? You invite a muslim to pray, and you’re surprised or angry when he prays like a muslim?

    Personally, I’d be more insulted if he DIDN’T pray like a muslim, because that smacks of syncretism. An attitude of: “let’s remove this or that from our prayers, because it might offend someone.”

    Come to think of it, what about our Catholic prayers? Are they Catholic enough? I mean, if we’re not praying for their greatest good (i.e. their eternal salvation), then what are we doing? What does it profit them if we pray for a peaceful and happy temporal life, if we neglect to pray for the spiritual things that will most help them get to Heaven?

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