A Muslim imam invited to participate in last weekend’s “prayer for peace” event at the Vatican went off-script and asked Allah to vaticanummahhelp him gain victory over the unbelievers. To Counterjihad activists this news is no big surprise. Anyone who has delved into Islamic theology and liturgical practice knows that Muslims always insert a call for Allah to defeat the infidel into their prayers. It’s as much a part of praying as “Amen” is to a Christian.

The top management at the Vatican (CEO Francis and the Board of Cardinals) were taken by surprise by what happened, since the translated script they were handed in advance by the imam contained nothing controversial. And none of them understood the spoken Arabic.

However, someone lower down in the pecking order did understand Arabic, and called public attention to the imam’s words. At first the bosses denied the imam had said any such thing. Then, when that story became untenable — or inoperative, to use a more Nixonian cadence — they changed gears slightly. They said, in effect, “Who you gonna believe? Me or your lying ears?”

Below is a follow-up story about Imamgate from the Catholic site kath.net, published yesterday (June 11) and translated by Rembrandt Clancy:

“Help us against the People who are the Unbelievers”

At the prayer for peace on Sunday evening in the Vatican there was absolutely and definitively a “prayer for unbelievers” which was not foreseen. Radio Vatican (RV) also clearly confirmed this on Wednesday. As kath.net reported yesterday, an Imam — exceeding the scope of the programme — quoted in Arabic the last three verses from the second Sura of the Koran. A possible translation is as follows:

“Pardon us (Allah), forgive us and have mercy on us! You are our protector. Help us against the people who are the Unbelievers (Volk der Ungläubiger)!”

There are heated debates about this in various Internet fora. The Islam scholar Father Felix Körner, a Jesuit who teaches at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, said the following to RV concerning the incident:

“This verse, perhaps spontaneously selected by someone who then also recited the Koran from memory, actually fitted very well into the overall context of the prayer for peace! There are always three steps in the three religions: We recognise the Creator and praise Him, we recognise our guilt and confess it and we plead for the gift of peace. And all that comes out very beautifully in these three verses of the Koran. To You, God, belongs everything. We repent our guilt and ask forgiveness. And we need your help so that peace and justice can arise. That is the content of these three verses, and for that reason the choice was quite understandable — perhaps spontaneously hit upon, but at any event, well-chosen.”

Körner acknowledged that the recitation of the Koran could trigger certain unease among Christians. He points out, however, that the religions did not come together in the Vatican gardens to pray together, but “each recited their own prayer texts in their own way”. The Jesuit priest also made reference to Psalm 25 from the mouth of a Rabbi at the prayer meeting.

“Therein it is written what many Christians know by heart: Let not my enemies triumph over me.* This verse is very similar to the Koran verse which is now being so severely incriminated. We Christians pray the Psalms as the prayers of Jesus and therefore from the outset we give them the correct ranking. We know, that we require protection from God and that thinking in terms of friend versus foe does not help us get very far, but we may express even such feelings in prayer itself so that God changes us. And for that reason there is no misunderstanding here; but if one hears something in a skewed manner, one is going to have a mistaken understanding of it.”

[* Translator’s note: Psalm numbering differs slightly in different versions of the Bible. Fr. Körner’s rendering of the putative Psalm reading probably corresponds to Psalm 24, verse 2 -3 in the Douay Rheims version for example: “2 In thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed. 3 Neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on thee shall be confounded.”

The King James Version reads as follows and numbered as Psalm 25: “2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.]

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