Muslim leaders must be more outspoken about violence in the name of religion, a senior Vatican official urged yesterday.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Pope’s principal adviser on Islam, said that while the majority of Muslim clerics condemned acts of terrorism, they needed to be more vocal about jihad, especially because of its frequent appearances in the Qur’an.
The cardinal made the remarks after a lecture, given in London to an audience of students, Catholic clerics and figures from other religions. It was one of several public appearances during a rare visit to the UK.
He said: “In the Qur’an you have several interpretations of jihad – violent and holy. Most Muslims are condemning war made in the name of religion. The problem is that in the Qur’an you have good and bad jihad, so you choose.
“There is no worldwide authority who can interpret the Qur’an, so it depends on the person you have in front of you. Sometimes you should like religious authorities to be more outspoken about violence in the name of religion. But Muslims believe the Qur’an is the divine word of God, so it is a problem.”
He said it would be “easier” if there were a single Islamic authority to negotiate with. “It’s a great difficulty there are many voices of living Islam.”