Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Patriarch of Venice, has called on the Islamic world to allow individual Muslims "the freedom to convert" to Christianity, arguing that this does not threaten Islamic identity.
The Times reports that:
"At an inter-faith meeting in religious freedom organised in Amman, the capital of Jordan, by the Venice-based Oasis Centre, Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Patriarch of Venice said that no-one, "not even Muslims", had the right to impose "the identity of community" to the point where it "violates the human freedom of the individual, included the freedom to convert".
Oasis was founded by Cardinal Scola five years ago to create an international network promoting inter-faith dialogue.
Speaking at the conference, attended by over 80 delegates from 20 countries, he said that "in our globalised society, tension between religious freedom and the traditional identity of a people is becoming more and more troubling."
This was not in itself new, as "the rich history of Venice and its millenial relationships with the Muslim Levant" showed. ...
Vatican officials said that Cardinal Scola had met Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan during the conference to pave the way for the first Catholic-Muslim Forum, convened by Pope Benedict and to be held in October in Rome.
Hasan Abû Ni'mah, head of the Jordanian Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, said that dialogue between the world's great faiths based on common moral and human values was the only alternative to a "clash of civilisations" involving "war, death, violence and terrorism". "