An interview with Archbishop José Antonio Peteiro Freire OFM
Of Tangier, Morocco. By ZENIT (www.Zenit.org)
The lack of religious liberty in some Muslim countries raises the question of whether a missionary can function at all in a nation dominated by Islam. In this interview on 3 February 2003 Archbishop Freire says the key to the answer is in witness.
Q: Let’s begin with the fundamental question: Is it possible to be a missionary in a Muslim country?
Archbishop Peteiro: St Francis sent five Italian Franciscans to Morocco. The Franciscans preached the Gospel openly and declared that Islam was a false religion and that Mohammed was a false prophet They went to the mosques in an insulting way, and this is why they were killed the following year, 1220.
In 1219 St Francis went to meet the Sultan in Damieta, near Cairo, and asked that Christians be allowed to visit the holy places. The fact that he went out to meet the Sultan was, undoubtedly, a prophetic action.