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Sheikh to Pontiff: You Want Inter-religious Dialogue? I'll Give You Inter-religious Dialogue

6:25 PM, May 11, 2009 • By RACHEL ABRAMS
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The Jerusalem Post reports:

A leading Palestinian cleric commandeered an evening devoted to interfaith dialogue with Pope Benedict XVI on Monday to rant against Israel for "killing Gaza's children," "bulldozing Palestinian homes" and "destroying mosques."

In an impromptu speech, delivered in Arabic at the Notre Dame Pontifical Institute in Jerusalem, Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, chief Islamic judge in the Palestinian Authority, launched a 10-minute tirade against the State of Israel for confiscating Palestinians' land and carrying out war crimes against the residents of Gaza.

He also called for the immediate return of all Palestinian refugees, and called on Christians and Muslims to unite against Israel.

Tamimi invoked the name of Saladin, the Muslim sultan who recaptured Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187.

The pope walked out when the ranting was over, though not before shaking the sheikh's hand. The thing is, the self-same sheikh pulled the self-same stunt nine years ago when John Paul II visited Israel. Um, better vetting next time would be good.