Dear Signatories of the Covenants Initiative:
As salaamu alaikum.
We have two things of interest to report, as well as a possibility you might want to consider.
1) A publicity campaign was generously organized for us by Gary Krupp of the Pave the Way Foundation, featuring an ad which ran for 9 days in the digital version of the New York Times, with a readership of 43 million world-wide, plus a press release by Pave the Way and an op ed piece article by Mr. Krupp. The ad recorded over 100,000 visits.
2) The photograph posted previously, taken in September of this year, shows Shaykh Yahya Pallavicini, Italian Ambassador of the Covenants Initiative presenting a copy of The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World to His Holiness, Pope Francis. Shaykh Pallavicini reports that Francis was “very touched by my words of solidarity for the Christians in the Middle East”, and that the Pope extended his blessings in view of the important role played by Western Muslims in today’s troubled world.
3) The following is part of an article that appeared in The Catholic Herald:
Pope Francis condemned the “absurd violence” being used against Christians
Pope Francis condemned the “absurd violence” being used against Christians in several countries and called on people of good will everywhere to take up the cause of religious freedom.
At the end of his general audience on November 12, Pope Francis asked the estimated 15,000 people in St Peter’s Square to join him in reciting the Lord’s Prayer for Christians facing persecution.
“With great trepidation, I am following the dramatic incidents of Christians in several parts of the world being persecuted and killed because of their religious beliefs,” the Pope said. “I must express my deep spiritual closeness to the Christian communities so harshly struck by an absurd violence that does not show signs of stopping.”
Calling on political leaders on the national and international level, as well as on “all people of good will,” Pope Francis urged a global “mobilisation of consciences” to protect persecuted Christians. “They have a right to find security and peace in their own countries while freely professing their faith.”
At this point we find ourselves in contact with the Vatican through at least two reliable channels. We do not necessarily endorse every aspect of the overtures made by His Holiness, Pope Francis, to the Muslims of the world, nor are we in any position to criticize them; only time will reveal the ultimate effects of his recent statements and actions. There is no question, however, that now is a time when new avenues of communication are opening up. Therefore we would like to take this opportunity to ask you two questions:
1) Would you be willing to sound out His Holiness as to any concrete ways, outside of verbal expressions of support, in which Muslims of good faith could aid him in his campaign to protect persecuted Christians?
2) Is there any further message you would be like us to relay to His Holiness on any subject, including any ways in which you feel he might use his influence to protect persecuted Muslims anywhere in the world?
If you respond to one or both of these questions in the affirmative, we will consult with our contacts to determine whether they are willing to relay messages from you to Pope Francis. If they do express this willingness (though we obviously cannot speak for them at this point), we will pass on your words to His Holiness as soon as we receive them.
for Dr. John Andrew Morrow
and the Covenants Initiative