The Christian Post is reporting that a Muslim group called ‘MyPeace’ are being ‘provocative’ in Australia by putting up billboards stating ‘Jesus: A Prophet of Islam’. The language of the article appears to favor that viewpoint with the words ‘provocative’ and ‘offensive’ appearing three times respectively.
The cognitive dissonance is quite strong in the quotes from Julian Poreous, bishop in the Archdiocese of Sydney. While the claim from the Muslim group is that the billboards are meant to “encourage interfaith relations between Christians and Muslim” and that MyPeace “means no offense by the campaign and that it simply is trying to show to everyone that Islam follows the teachings of Jesus too”, Bishop Poreous isn’t having any of it:
Bishop Poreous, however, commented: “In Australia with its Christian heritage a billboard carrying the statement `Jesus A prophet of Islam’ is provocative and offensive to Christians.”
“It is important that religions do not set out to antagonize those with differing beliefs. This would threaten the social harmony which we enjoy in Australia.
“Dialogue between the religions can only take place when it is founded in mutual respect. It is not fostered by provocative statements,” he said.
It seems though the only reason given about why this is so offensive to him is because it differs from his own beliefs.
Catholic bishop Julian Poreous, of the Archdiocese of Sydney, has clarified that for Christians Jesus was “more than a prophet” as the campaign suggests.
He said: “He is the Son of God. He is acclaimed Lord and Savior of humanity.”
So, he’s offended because the billboard is implying that Jesus is not the Son of God or the messiah. Fair enough…I was under the impression that this is what adherents to Islam believe (not to mention Judaism). However, how is his statement above then not ‘provocative’ or ‘offensive’ to Muslims, as it implies that the Qu’ran is wrong and that Mohammed wasn’t telling the truth about Allah and the earlier prophets? Is there a difference other than the bishop is coming from a position of privilege because, as he describes it, they are in “Australia with its Christian heritage”?
This lack of self-awareness then carries over into the Christian Post editorializing at the end of the article by describing that “follow-up billboards will carry even more controversial slogans such as ‘Holy Quran: the final testament,’ and ‘Muhammad: mercy to mankind.'” This opinionated report concludes in such a way despite the prior paragraph:
Interestingly, Diaa Mohamed of MyPeace, has reported to Fairfax, one of Australia’s leading media groups, that the campaign has received an “overwhelmingly positive feedback from Christians, atheists, Muslims, everyday Australians.”
It’s quite possible that the majority of Australian citizens aren’t quite as ‘provoked’ or ‘offended’ as Bishop Poreous. After all, it’s not like these billboards are predicting the end of the world.