O'Brien urges Muslims to say sorry for 9/11
THE leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, has called for Muslims to apologise for the 9/11 and 7/7 bomb attacks, declaring that the public should not have to live "in fear of attack" from believers of the Islamic faith.
In a move that has provoked a storm of outrage, the cardinal claims that, as the Pope apologised for the offence caused last month by his comments on the Islamic faith, so Muslims should now step up and say sorry for the attacks carried out in the name of their faith.
O'Brien said: "There have been no apologies for the shooting of the nun [in Somalia after the Pope made his remarks], let alone for 9/11 or the London bombings. I would like to see some reciprocal moves from the Islamic side. We shouldn't have to live in fear of attack from Muslims."
The cardinal's comments were made in the same interview in which, as was revealed last week, he backed Scottish independence, praising the benefits autonomy could bring. A fuller version of the interview appears in this weekend's Catholic Herald newspaper.
O'Brien expands on his views on the British constitution. He declares that he "would be only too happy to continue to undermine the British State" if it goes on espousing sectarianism in the form of the Act of Settlement - the law which bars Catholics from marrying the heir to the throne.
Last night, the cardinal's views on Islam had stirred up a new controversy, with Muslim leaders furious at the comment. They claimed that as the terrorist attacks were carried out by extremists, mainstream Muslims who had already condemned the actions had nothing to apologise for.
O'Brien's comments came after he was asked which trend in society posed the greater threat in Europe: secularisation of Islamicisation.
He replied: "Secularisation is the greatest threat. Muslims are firm in their faith and in their views. They believe in one God. That is a point of identification; though it can also produce tensions. Muslims coming here are free to build mosques, but Christians in Muslim countries are often oppressed."
He then raised the issue of the Pope's apology, made after he had quoted a 14th-century Christian emperor who had declared the Prophet Muhammad brought the world only evil and inhuman things, and made his comments on no reciprocal apology from Islam for the US attacks or London bombings last year.
Ashraf Anjum, president of the Glasgow Mosque, said: "The Muslims have very clearly condemned the attacks of 9/11 and 7/7. You condemn something like this - you say sorry for something you have done yourself."
He added: "When there were bombings in Ireland and Catholics and Protestants were killing each other, did any cardinal or Pope says sorry for that? I don't think the Muslim community in the UK needs to say sorry for a criminal act by some people."
Osama Saeed, of the Muslim Association of Britain, said: "We said at the time of the Pope's comments that the fallout from this in terms of inter-faith relations would depend on the reaction of the Church in Scotland.
"We want good relations with the Church. We have common cause. So it is sad that we have not heard any words of solidarity from him in the last few weeks, and now we hear this."
The cardinal's further comments on independence came after he was asked how he would reply to those who accused him of undermining the state by calling for a repeal of the Act of Settlement, or for Trident not to be replaced.
On the Act of Settlement he said: "This is a very sectarian act that singles out the RC community as not being loyal to the British Crown."
On Trident, he added: "The use of weapons of mass destruction is immoral. And if it would be immoral to use such weapons, then it is immoral to threaten to use them, immoral to retain them with an implied threat to use, and even more immoral to replace them."
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