(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
In an official statement presented to Muslim leaders over the weekend, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar expressed sorrow over Pope Benedict XVI's condemnation of Islam.
"I am very sorry about the deprecating things said against Islam," said Amar, in a letter that seemed to put the blame for the turmoil between Muslims and Christians on the shoulders of the Pope.
"Our way is to respect all religions, nations and peoples according to their customs," continued Amar. "As the prophet [Micah] said: 'For let all people walk everyone in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.
"And even when there is a struggle between peoples it is wrong to make it a religious struggle. Love truth and peace.'"
Fruman passed on Amar's statement to Sheikh Abdala Nimer Darwish, head of the Israeli Islamic Movement's moderate wing who relayed it to Sheikh Yusef Darwish, a popular Muslim leader living in Qatar.
In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Amar called on both Christians and Muslims to put their differences behind them.
"These are two religions that have millions of followers," said Amar. "If they start quarreling who knows where it will lead. Both must stop the unnecessary talk and actions."
Only after being questioned repeatedly was Amar willing to denounce Muslim violence against Churches in the Holy Land.
"Our Muslim brothers would add respect to their religion if they outdid themselves and overcame the feelings of humiliation."