A visit from the Pope

Some days ago Pope Francis made a surprise visit to the island of Lesvos.
The Pope was met at Mytilini airport by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of the world’s Orthodox Christians, and Archbishop of Athens Ieronymos.

The three religious leaders visited the refugee camp at Moria which holds around 3.000 people.

In his speech at the camp, Patriarch Bartholomew told the residents: “The world has not forgotten you. The world will be judged by the way it has treated you.” Archbishop Ieronymos decried “the bankruptcy of humanity and solidarity” that Europe has shown migrants lately. Pope Francis called on the international community to respond to the crisis “in a way worthy of our common humanity.”


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The three religious leaders then signed a declaration urging the international community to protect human lives and extend temporary asylum to those in need.

In a symbolic gesture, the Pope took 12 refugees back with him to the Vatican.

In 2013, the Pope had made a similar trip to the island of Lampedusa, to visit the refugees arriving there from Libya.

Visits such as these serve to highlight this humanitarian disaster, as do visits from celebrities. They have no political clout; the Vatican was at pains to point out the Pope’s visit was “humanitarian and religious in nature.”


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One question remains – why do Muslim leaders not feel the need to make similar gestures? After all, most of these refugees are Muslims who could derive a lot of comfort from such a visit.

The response of ordinary Muslims to the refugee crisis has been great. Surrounding countries host the bulk of the Syrian refugee population. Many of the neighbouring countries – Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt – have shown remarkable spirit in taking, altogether, millions of refugees. Unfortunately, some of the most affluent Muslim countries have not followed suit.

I also find it strange that Muslim leaders are not more concerned in showing the world that Muslims are not necessarily terrorists, a self-evident fact which is getting buried by the fear generated by the proliferation of Islamist terrorist attacks. Perhaps there is something here I don’t know – I would welcome any feedback anyone might have on the subject.


15 thoughts on “A visit from the Pope”

  1. I agree and also wonder why Muslim leaders and their communities do not do more for their fellow Muslims and speak louder against extremism.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an important post bringing up sons very good points. Humanitarian efforts are crucial right now. Hard to answer your question but perhaps the wealthier Musljm countries are less inclined to help and more inclined to turn a blind eye?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. to be honest I feel things are not openly discussed. If someone in a family is ill, it is not spoken of. At least this was my experience. Things are just not addressed in the same way. There is not much in the way of educating the population about education, health etc. So many rules about what you can do and say. I don’t know how else to explain it, one time I inquired about a cousin who had a kidney defect, as my daughter ended up having one as a baby so I wanted a family history. I was told DO NOT SPEAK of this! I learned to not talk about most things!Sorry all the insight I can give.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. yes, I learned many times and still I dont get it! My kids went to arabic school and know arabic and so they understand more but still for them as well, they don’t get it!!! It is just different, many things seen as shameful!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for posting your thoughts. I am not a religious person but I am grateful for the pope’s actions.I find it heart breaking that so many people are desperate and displaced. We humans have come so far and achieved so much and yet we still cannot live in harmony.


  5. Honestly speaking, if Muslim leaders had been concerned about their fellow countrymen and women, instead of labeling their neighboring Muslim countries as infidels, there wouldn’t had been a situation like this.

    Let me give my example: I’m a Pakistani Muslim, living in Pakistan. On the eastern and southern border of Pakistan lies Afghanistan. Not a month, or sometimes even weeks, goes by when government of Afghanistan accuses Pakistan for helping out Taliban in carrying terrorist attacks across their country.

    Iran, on our eastern side, labels us as pro-American mostly. And let me clarify one thing here: there are no leaders in Muslim world. There are just politicians and government officials, who are more happy to fill up their own pockets instead of putting food on the plates of their own people.

    I’m just talking here about those faces and names who build up castles and mansions from the taxes of those people who vote for them to change their fortune. But instead, they raise up their own fortunes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Hammad. We have no leaders – proper ones willing to put the benefit of humanity before their own interests. Perhaps that is why the world is in such a mess.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hammad may correct me of course, but are there religious leaders in the Muslim world that are the equivalent of the RC Church Pope, the Orthodox Patriarch, the Archbishop of Canerbury, etc.? And there are those gaps or rifts between branches of Islam that are as deep as the breaches between Islam and Christianity – not to mention the Jews.
    Some Islamic governments have been wonderful in welcoming refugees. Some multiconfessional governments as well (I think particularly of Lebanon whose population of refugees represents one third oofbhis total population). Others find arguments to keep their wealth andtheir comfort to themselves while still straing their own populations.
    Without going to such extremes, what do our European or Western governments do? The agreement between the EU and Turkey is disgraceful for the EU and the EU countries. Desinformation reigns supreme. Fear reigns supreme: what if we sere to lose some of our rights and money and comfort? We do not een deal with our own homeless people!
    The world has gone crazily selfish and we are slowly dying of this.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. There are many religious Islamic leaders in Muslim world but they don’t act globally. What I mean is that they may be aware of the situation happening in the Middle East but they don’t act upon it. For them, it is like yes we know our Muslim brothers and sisters are in trouble but we have our own issues here and they are of more importance.
    This is totally against the teachings of Islam, a very bitter truth this is. Our Prophet said that entire Muslim community is like a single body. If one part of the body is in pain, the remaining will not be at ease. Sadly we have forgotten it. There are many reasons behind this and most of them makes Muslims themselves responsible.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, politics plays such a major factor here, along with personal gains and values, which blinds them from looking at the well being for all.
    But on small scale, if you go down to the common people, you will see many good values and acts which are somehow keeping Muslims in a knit, in some form.

    Liked by 1 person

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