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DOHA, Qatar (ChurchMilitant.com) - The prime minister of Hungary did more than just talk about money at the Qatar Economic Forum (QEF) in the capital city of the Middle Eastern country this week — he broached controversial topics such as Christian-Muslim cooperation and peace in Ukraine.
Viktor Orbán, who traveled to Doha to attend the QEF by invitation of his Qatari counterpart, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, joined a wide array of heads of state and business leaders. The three-day forum, backed by the left-leaning billionaire businessman Mike Bloomberg, was titled "A New Global Growth Story."
During the opening session, Bloomberg spoke in obvious, even cliché, terms about global economic challenges and solutions. The former candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president of the United States said:
This continues to be a turbulent time for the global economy. We've seen some of the biggest bank failures since the Great Recession. Credit is tightening. Inflation is running high. Russia's war on Ukraine continues. And the climate crisis will continue to grow worse without a bolder, faster energy transition.
But into this mix of hard-core leftists and anti-religious globalists stepped the conservative leader from his small, majority-Catholic, 1,000-year-old nation in the heart of Europe to talk about the unexpected. He used the forum not just to talk in hackneyed terms about economic struggles but to talk about religious issues that undergird economic ones.
In an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait, Orbán, quite out of step with the other presenters, said:
"Christians and Muslims can and should cooperate on the main dilemmas of the future, like migration, gender propaganda and sovereignty. Christians and Muslims can and should work together to defend traditional values," he said. "My trip to Qatar and my meeting with [His Highness Sheikh Al Thani] reaffirmed this conviction."
Christians and Muslims can and should cooperate on the main dilemmas of the future, like migration, gender propaganda and sovereignty. Christians and Muslims can and should work together to defend traditional values. My trip to #Qatar and my meeting with HH @TamimBinHamad … pic.twitter.com/d9pqDboDTF— Orbán Viktor (@PM_ViktorOrbán) May 24, 2023
This conviction may strike some as naïve and forgetful of history, especially for someone who has gone head-to-head with George Soros and whose country has been occupied by Ottoman Turks and Soviet oppressors.
But Dr. Imre Téglásy, director of Human Life International Hungary, offered a Hungarian perspective on Orbán's position. Téglásy, a native of Hungary, who told Church Militant he was speaking as someone who sees national sovereignty "indispensably tied to the sovereignty of unborn babies," offered these insights:
Since the so-called political changes in 1989, we [Hungarians] had to realize that the West's nice words on freedom, human rights and democracy, was really not for our newly found sovereignty but in getting our markets (assisted by our own traitorous politicians).
After so many years of deception, we came to realize that the Western leaders (in the UN, EU, USA, etc.) want us as a satellite, not as equal partners in protecting national and Christian principles, including the value of human life and family matters.
We came to realize that "the Rest," not the current ungodly alliances in "the West," represents traditional values more.
Referring to the new Biden-appointed, anti-Hungarian U.S. ambassador to Hungary, David Pressman, Téglásy added:
The latest events and attacks by the EU and by Pressman-type neocons prove the conviction of ours, that instead of choosing economic and political suicide, promoted and forced by our so-called friends in America and the EU, we can count on understanding from Asia and from Africa and from the Middle-East, more than from our so-called friends in America and the EU.
The Hungarian prime minister's vision of a Christian-Muslim cooperation defending traditional values may have been out of sync with other forum attendees, but not so with those of Ven. Abp. Fulton J. Sheen. Orbán and Sheen do not make strange bedfellows considering the archbishop's observation that Christians and Muslims share one huge thing in common — devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
A whole chapter of the Quran, Surah 19, is devoted to Mary. There are also numerous passages about Mary throughout the Quran, one declaring, "O Mary, God has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above all women" (3:42).
A section of the Hadith in the Book of Virtues records that neither Mary nor her son Jesus was "pricked by Satan" at birth— something that Muslims believe happens to everyone else.
The Hungarian prime minister turned the Bloomberg interview toward the war in Ukraine, noting his country's personal investment in it.
"Emotionally, it's tragic — all of our hearts are with the Ukrainians. But I'm speaking as a politician who should save lives," Orbán stated, noting Hungary's vested personal interest in the war.
The vested interest he is referring to is the Hungarian ethnic minority inside Ukraine that is being conscripted and forced to fight on the front lines against Russia. So Hungary is losing lives on a daily basis due to the conflict — even while Hungary is taking in Ukrainian refugees.
"[The] position of Hungary was, from the very first moment, that this war is the failure of diplomacy — it should have never happened," Orbán stated. "For us, it's obvious that the battlefield solution does not work."
Orbán also used the forum to discuss economics, including negotiations with the emir about his country importing liquified natural gas from Qatar and Qatari money being used to help finance Budapest's airport. The multi-billion dollar airport project stalled for two years because of a ballooning budget deficit exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
The conservative leader also called out U.S. Democrats and the Biden administration for pushing ideology in other countries.
"Don't interfere, please," Orbán said in the interview with Micklethwait. "Don't educate us, don't say what is good, what is bad, what is liberty. We don't like that. It's not the job of the Americans or any other nation; it's a Hungarian job."
For these and other remarks, he drew applause from members of the audience, including super-wealthy Gulf-area locals and Western fund managers.