Pontiff condemned desecration of Quran: Sheikh Abdulkarim Paz

In a letter of protest to Pope Francis, Santiago Ricardo Paz, known by his Islamic name Abdulkarim Paz, condemned the insult to the Muslim holy book, and, in a sincere response, the Pontiff condemned the desecration of the Quran and calls it “barbaric.”

ABWA Official Website – Santiago Ricardo Paz, known by his Islamic name Sheikh Abdulkarim Paz, is an Argentine cleric who was a Christian in the early decades of his life. He finds the sun of Islam and converts to Twelver Shiism sometime after converting to Islam. In various interviews he has had with Iranian and non-Iranian media, he has talked about how he converted to Islam, the structure of the Muslim community in his home country Argentina, and the impact of the Islamic Revolution on the country’s people.


Sheikh Abdulkarim Paz is now known as one of the prominent preachers of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) school in the world, who, in addition to teaching and writing, is also a member of the General Assembly of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly.

On the occasion of his recent correspondence with Pope Francis, the head of the Vatican and the Holy See of the Catholic Churches of the world, ABNA News Agency interviewed Hojat al-Islam Abdulkarim Paz, representative of religions in the Islamic Foundation of Argentina, FIAS.

ABNA - Although you are known to many people in the world, please introduce yourself to our audience.

Sheikh Abdulkarim Paz - I am Abdulkarim Paz from Argentina, and I am engaged in preaching Islam in the country. About 40 years ago, I was a Christian and believed in Jesus Christ (a.s.). At that time, I was searching for something close to Christian teachings and studied the prominent figures of other religions. Because at that time, many, especially young people, asked me about ways to avoid materialism common in Western culture. Therefore, I tried to search outside of Western culture, for example, in Eastern philosophies and religions, to find a suitable answer for these people.

ABNA - As an Argentinian Christian, how did you migrate from the Trinitarian to the monotheistic world, and convert to Islam?

Sheikh Abdulkarim Paz - This question is the concern of many young people today, who are looking for their path. I first searched and studied Buddhism. Then I studied philosophy at university and met philosophers from other cultures, including Greek, in Argentina. After that, I started my trip to different regions of Argentina and met the local people. During these trips, I talked with followers of Christian denominations, such as Evangelicals and Protestants. In these meetings and conversations, I learned new things about God, prophets, and religions every day. Until I met Islam by accident while I knew nothing about this religion.

ABNA - You have experienced Christianity, and in recent decades you have converted to Islam and are now Muslim. From your point of view, what are the main differences between Islam and Christianity?

Sheikh Abdulkarim Paz - In my opinion, the main difference between Islam and other ideas is that Islam is much more complete than other religions and beliefs. In my opinion, God’s oneness is completely logical and correct.

ABNA - In the past few days, news outlets have been reporting on your letter to the Pope. Please tell us about your goals for writing this letter to the Pontiff, and how effective it is in your opinion.

Sheikh Abdulkarim Paz - As you mentioned, after the desecration of the Holy Quran and the necessity of condemnation of this heinous act, it occurred to me, considering the relationship and friendship I have had with the Pope, the leader of the world’s Catholics, to write a letter to him and ask him to denounce this act.

ABNA - What did you write in your letter?

Sheikh Abdulkarim Paz - I wrote these cases of desecration of the Holy Quran hinder the dialogue between religions and between people. In this letter, I emphasized that such actions are not compatible with the progress of affairs and the establishment of peace. Such actions have had very negative effects on Muslims, especially the fact that some governments have been behind them.

ABNA - It is interesting for the media that the Pope answered your letter. What did he write to you in the letter?

Sheikh Abdulkarim Paz - We have already had a friendly relationship. Before the recent letter, in a correspondence conversation, Pope Francis had openly condemned this action. However, I wrote to him again and mentioned the issue of desecration of the Holy Quran. The Pope repeated as before that such actions are barbaric. While condemning the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden and Denmark, he also considered such heinous actions as an obstacle to human dialogue.

In his letter to me, he wrote, “Dr. Abdul Karim Paz, my dear brother! Thank you very much for your letter. Burning the Holy Quran is a barbaric act. These cases harm and prevent a humane and mature dialogue between people.

ABNA - As a final question, explain to us the background and goals of sacrilege, as well as the recent cases of burning the Quran, and the claim of freedom of expression in the West.

Sheikh Abdulkarim Paz - I consider the Pope’s response to the letter a very positive step. Because, by condemning the action of these crazy and irrational people as well as the governments that are behind this case, the leader of one of the most important Christian denominations in the world proved his empathy, like-mindedness, and alignment with the Muslims of the world.

In this letter, in fact, part of the Pope’s criticism was aimed at governments such as Denmark and other European countries that supported these acts under the pretext of defending human rights and freedom of expression. While they have no belief in freedom of speech!

Unfortunately, today the voices of the oppressed in Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and other less-developed countries are censored by the Western arrogant governments. Western governments suppress even the rightful protests of their people. Therefore, their defense of freedom of speech is a pure lie.

ABNA - Thank you for giving us your time.

Sheikh Abdulkarim Paz - Thank you.


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Ahl Al-Bayt World Assembly

The Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly  is an international non-governmental organization (INGO) that was established by a group of Shiite elites under the supervision of the great Islamic authority of the Shiites in 1990 to identify, organize, educate and support the followers of Ahl al-Bayt.

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