(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Radical Islam has a lot to learn from Judaism and Christianity about morality and humanitarianism, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who was in Rome to participate in an international conference on Judaism and inter-faith dialogue organized by the Vatican, said Wednesday.
"Radical Islam unabashedly advocates using children as human shields, encouraging suicide bombers and other unconventional and immoral warfare tactics," Metzger said after the conference in a telephone interview from Rome with The Jerusalem Post. "And they do all this under the banner of Islam."
Q&A with Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger
During his speech, which focused on Judaism's contribution to humanitarianism, Metzger called on Europe to shake off its apathy to burgeoning Islamic radicalism.
Referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's calls to "wipe Israel off the map," Metzger warned of another Holocaust.
"Here on European soil, where just 65 years ago, some of the worst atrocities in history were committed, people should be wary of violent declarations," said Metzger. "After the threats come the actions."
The chief rabbi appealed to the international community and the United Nations to "do everything to avert the threat against [his] people and [his] country."
"I have to say in all honesty that the enlightened nations' indifference, weak spirit, and total lack of action against the Iranian threat is a cardinal sin," he added.
Metzger also attacked Hamas's kidnapping of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit and Hizbullah's abduction of reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.
"Is it not elementary that the parents of those soldiers know at least that their children are still alive? Isn't that a basic humanitarian value?" Metzger asked.
In a related event, Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday called on Christians and Jews to respect each other and work together for world peace.
The pope has been reaching out to Jews, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, the late John Paul II. Benedict visited a synagogue in Cologne, Germany, during his first trip abroad as pontiff in 2005.
"I invite all to...invoke the Lord so that Christians and Jews respect each other, appreciate each other and cooperate for justice and peace in the world," Benedict told thousands of faithful during his weekly general audience at the Vatican.
AP contributed to this report.