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Cardinal causes uproar with ‘Muslim scare’ video at Vatican

17 October 2012 General 16 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

By Naomi O’Leary

(Reuters) – A Roman Catholic cardinal has caused an uproar at the Vatican by screening a spurious YouTube video that makes alarmist predictions about the growth of Islam in Europe.

The seven-minute clip, called “Muslim Demographics,” was the talk of an international gathering of bishops on Monday, two days after Cardinal Peter Turkson screened it during a free discussion period.

Turkson, a Ghanaian who is based in the Vatican and is president of its Council for Justice and Peace, sparked consternation among his fellow bishops over the clip.

“As we were arriving this morning I was asked several times ‘Who planned it? Whose was it? Who is behind it?” Father Thomas Rosica said at a briefing for journalists, who are not allowed to attend the synod sessions, the first since the screening.

He said the clip had sparked “the most animated” discussion so far at the three-week conference, and one bishop said he would rebut Turkson by presenting a report with contrary data.

The clip has brought Islam to the top of the agenda at the synod, attended by 262 bishops. “Islam is the buzzword,” Rosica said.

Turkson could not be reached for comment on why he chose to screen the video during the Vatican meeting, where the bishops are discussing ways of winning back lapsed Roman Catholics in developed countries.

The clip, which has been viewed over 13 million times on YouTube since it was uploaded by an anonymous user in 2009, combines dramatic music with skewed population statistics to make claims about various European countries such as “In just 39 years France will be an Islamic republic.”

Critics have pointed out that the fertility figures used in the video, which claim French women have an average of 1.8 children while French Muslim women have 8.1 children, cannot be genuine as France does not collect statistics by religion.

According to a study by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center there were 2.18 billion Christians in 2010, half of which were Catholics.

The total number of Muslims of all denominations was 1.6 billion and forecast to increase 35 percent to 2.2 billion by 2030, according to the research group.

The Holy See’s relations with Islam have not always been smooth. In 2006 Pope Benedict gave a speech in Regensburg which was perceived by some Muslims as an attack on Islam.

Asked about his reaction to the cardinal showing the video at the Vatican, Yahya Pallavicini, vice president of the Islamic Religious Community of Italy, warned against a numbers war based on scare tactics by any side.

“I think that we should focus, Muslims and Christians, on our common challenges, rather than challenging each other in scary attitudes on who is going to increase or decrease in numbers,” Pallavicini told Reuters.

“It’s our shared responsibility as brothers and believers in the same holy God,” he said.

(Reporting by Naomi O’Leary; Editing by Philip Pullella)


  1. “The Holy See’s relations with Islam have not always been smooth. In 2006 Pope Benedict gave a speech in Regensburg which was perceived by some Muslims as an attack on Islam.”

    Why shouldn’t the pope attack islam, he believes it is nonsense and mohammed is a false prophet

  2. To Jane,

    Just because he doesn’t believe in Islam, that does not give him the right to insult the believers of Islam. And I say this goes both way. Especially from someone of high influence to have such intolerance would only create more trouble. He may not believe in it, but what’s the point of stirring the pot?

  3. If memory serves he quoted a byzantine emperor and pointed out some contradictions in islam, targetting forced conversion.

    He wasn’t being intolerant. Of course muslims are often very easily offended.

  4. I don’t often quote Tariq Ramadan, but this is what he had to say about the popes speech:

    “Most did not read the pope’s speech; others had relied on a sketchy summary according to which the pope had linked Islam and violence.. certain groups or governments manipulate crises of this kind as a safety valve for both their restive populations and their own political agenda.. the mass protests… end up providing a living proof that Muslims cannot engage in reasonable debate and that verbal aggression and violence are more the rule than the exception”

  5. Moslims and Catholics had a relationship in the past they used to help each other fight their battles.They fell out because the pope wanted Jerusalem ,the moslims also wanted Jerusalem and the Jews claimed that it was their home.Three different peoples of diverse culture fighting for the most holy place on earth but only one will occupy it.If the Muslims were given jerusalem will they stop their agression ?If the pope was given JERUSALEM do you think think the world will be a better place?
    Both the catholic church and Islam have a lot in common .when the Catholic started they did the same things the Muslims are doing today because they thought that they were the only true church and persecuted the prostestants. They killed between fifty and one hundred million people.

  6. Joan do the followers of Islam have the right to insult the believers or beliefs of other religions if it benefits Islam? Does this not occur daily in Islamic lands? Why is it that Muslims have rights in this area while everyone else has no rights in this area? Why do Muslim get violent or whine when this double standard is violated?

  7. Hey Joan here is a quote from a Christian being held in Saudi Arabia. Which happens to be a Muslm Country. Just to lend a little weight to my previous post.

    “The Muslim preacher [that was sent by officials to speak to the prisoners] vilified Christianity, denigrated the Bible and told us that Islam is the only true religion,” one of the female prisoners said, according to ICC. “The preacher told us to convert to Islam. When the preacher asked us, we didn’t deny about our Christian faith.
    Here is a link to the article in case you wanted to send a statement of disbelief and censor to the Saudi Government for their reckless disregard of Islamic beliefs and their bigoted response to those with different belief structures.

  8. Why did the pope wonder about fertility figure?
    They should told their people not to do homosexual and stop abortion like Islamic clerics do.
    And that video forgets about many people on France who convert

  9. bagus,

    “Why did the pope wonder about fertility figure?” well, this is a cardinal. not the pope. but you do know that the islamic world has doubled it’s population in the last 30 years.
    “They should told their people not to do homosexual and stop abortion like Islamic clerics do.” the catholics are very much against abortion and fags.
    “And that video forgets about many people on France who convert” come on. converts are a tiny percertage.

  10. jane,

    wow. 8,000 year old carvings. but they are just doing as their prophet did. all idols must be destroyed. allah commands it. someday the whole world will be free of idols and polytheist, allah willing.

    there is no compulsion in religion, BUT you can’t worship idols. i’m not sure, call me an idiot, BUT didn’t muhammad destroy the pagan idols around the kaaba.

  11. Mike, religion can inspire great art and it can destroy great art – certainly iconoclasm and the english reformation are two examples of great art being destroyed.

    You’s like to think though that something that lasted 8000 years would no longer be destroyed by religious freaks.

  12. @Mike,
    We as muslims do not have the right to pick and choose aspects of the religion as christians do. We take it as Allah has gien it to us; you can call us fundamentalist or whatever, but we all condemn criminality and terrorism and care for our neighbours of other faith as it is required by our faith. however look at the church now how it is marrying people of same genders! that is the way you want muslim to become!! if we were to be like that then we may as well return to Allah with clean hearts than be on this planet!!
    I wished if you went to read about islam instead of wasting your time trying to destroy it. Convert to Islam Mike!

  13. Yahya,you mentioned that Christians and Muslims should focus on their common challenges because they worship the same God.we have to find out if they really have anything in common.The Christian challenge is found in Matthew 28:19,20 >Go ye therefore ,and teach all nations ,baptizing them in the name of the Father ,and of the Son and of the holy Ghost:teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:and the message is found in John 3:16 For GOD so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,but have everlasting life.The Muslim challenge is to superimpose sharia law on the world through scare tatics such as jihad,vengence and violence.I will let you decide what they have in common because Allah had no son.

  14. Salim, any Christian Church that Marries two people of the same sex is not a Christian Church. It would be the same if a Mosque marries two people of the same sex, would you consider them followers of Islam? Any group of people can get together and claim something or a body of worshipers can be overtaken by groups and the church taken over by people who have their own view of Christianity that just happens to match and approve of behaviors they are engaged in. It does not mean they are Christians, it simply means they claim to be Christians. Look at the Episcopal Church they have been overwhelmed by peoples claiming to be Christian yet the North American Episcopal Church ordains Gay priests. This has ceased to be a Christian Church and simply has turned into a group of political activists who wish to place little to no barriers in regards to human behavior even if the behavior is contrary to biblical teaching.

    Christians, like Muslims, hold a number of beliefs based upon the way one perceives a particular text within the Bible or Koran. Some beliefs however, are so fundamental to the religion that to be that religion you must submit to scripture in order to be called a Christian or, I assume, a Muslim. I think we all face the threat of Doppelgangers who intrude themselves within our religions and seek to pervert its purpose or intent to ends not intended by our creator. At least I believe this is true for the Christian Churches with the Episcopal church being the easiest example to trot out and Westburo Baptist being the most evil organization to claim the title of Christian Church.

  15. Mike you forget my past posts,(skip to the bottom if you want a more simplistic answer). I have nothing against gays except the lifestyle is sinful. I do not believe that Gays should be married in a religious wedding. I do support civil unions for a great number of reasons. I strongly support a secular society and my religious beliefs guide me and like minded people but they should not form a trough that all others must follow. My job, as a Christian is to talk to people and persuade them to accept Christ and follow Christian values. If two Gay people love each other and are partners, why should they not partake in the secular rewards of sharing insurance or being consulted in making medical decisions. I only disagree with the lifestyle not the people. As a Christian my belief is that God condemns acts but demands that his word be taught to deliver people from the consequences of those acts which can extend beyond our earthly lives.
    Religious values should influence society but not rule society. When you place a theocracy in power the people in charge may or may not be good people but in either case justifications will be made and lots of people will suffer and die by the hands of “Godly people” It can be Christian, Muslim, Hindu, it does not matter. Religious values must be nurtured in secular surroundings or things simply get out of hand.

    No, gay people are not possessed. Gay people may be gay because of environment or heredity. The reasons are not important. The importance is the human ability to decide on an act or actions regardless of how drawn we are too a particular decision. We are not lower functioning animals who operate on instinct. In the end it comes to I choose to drink that Liquor, I choose to smoke that joint, I choose to inject that heroin, I choose to have sex with that woman, I choose to have sex with that man, I choose to have one more piece of that cake. Predisposition is a strong factor in decision making but it is not the decision maker. We are responsible for our choices and the consequences of those choices.

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