AN ITALIAN MUSLIM activist filed a civil suit against Pope John Paul II and two cardinals, claiming they have shown contempt for Islam in violation of Italian law.
Scottish-born Adel Smith, president of the Muslim Union of Italy, has asked for a judge to condemn the defendants’ allegedly anti-Islamic comments, but did not ask for any monetary damages.
The Vatican press office had no comment on the suit.
The activist, who in October filed an unsuccessful lawsuit to have crucifixes removed from public school classrooms, cited comments in Pope John Paul’s 1994 book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, as an example of his defamation of Islam.
Vittorio Messori, the journalist who worked on the book with the pope, also was named in the suit.
In the book, Pope John Paul said, “Whoever knows the Old and New Testaments and then reads the Quran clearly sees the process by which it completely reduces divine revelation. It is impossible not to note the movement away from what God said about himself.” The God revealed in Islam, the Pope said, is “ultimately a God outside of the world, a God who is only majesty, never Emmanuel, God-withus”.
Smith’s suit also named Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for saying in 2000 that no religion can claim the “divine origin and salvific efficacy” of Christianity.
Retired Cardinal Giacomo Biffi of Bologna, Italy, also was named in the suit for saying in 2000 that the Italian government should favour Catholic immigrants to offset the number of Muslim immigrants.