10/20/2006, 00.00
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Christians and Muslims "first to be called" in the fight against terrorism, says Vatican

In its message for the end of Ramadan, the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue highlights religions' opposition to violence and stresses their shared commitment to the downtrodden. A reference is made to the Pope's Regensburg lecture.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Christians and Muslims are "first to be called" to find solutions to the serious problems that afflict today's world, starting with violence and terrorism. This is because in addition to human lives, religions' and religious leaders' credibility is at stake.

The world needs "Christians and Muslims who respect and value each other and bear witness to their mutual love and co-operation to the glory of God and the good of all humanity."

As in previous years, the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue released a message destined for the Muslim world titled 'Christians and Muslims: in confident dialogue aimed at solving together the challenges of our world' on the occasion of the Id al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of Ramadan.

Signed by Card Paul Poupard, president of the aforementioned Pontifical Council, the message begins asserting the importance of inter-faith dialogue, making an apparent reference to the controversy generated by Benedict XVI's lectio magistralis in Regensburg.

"It is good," it reads, "to be able to share this significant moment with you in the context of our ongoing dialogue. The particular circumstances that we have recently experienced together demonstrate clearly that, however arduous the path of authentic dialogue may be at times, it is more necessary than ever."

Broadening the perspective on the world's situation, it observes that "it is impossible not to take note of the serious problems which affect our times: injustice, poverty, tensions and conflicts between countries as well as within them. Violence and terrorism are a particularly painful scourge. So many human lives destroyed, so many women widowed, so many children who have lost a parent, so many children orphaned . . . . So many wounded, physically and spiritually . . . .  So much, which has taken years of sacrifice and toil to build, destroyed in a few minutes!"

"As Christian and Muslim believers, are we not the first to be called to offer our specific contribution to resolve this serious situation and these complex problems? Without doubt, the credibility of religions and also the credibility of our religious leaders and all believers is at stake. If we do not play our part as believers, many will question the usefulness of religion and the integrity of all men and women who bow down before God."

The message points out that "[o]ur two religions give great importance to love, compassion and solidarity." Highlighting some lines of thought in Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) about the importance of fraternal charity in the Church's mission, it adds that "love, to be credible, must be effective. It must come to the aid of everyone, beginning with the most needy. True love must be of service to all the needs of daily life; it must also seek just and peaceful solutions to the serious problems which afflict our world."

"Believers who are engaged in helping people in need or seeking solutions to these problems, do so above all through their love for God, 'for the face of God'."

"The month of fasting which you have just completed has not only brought you to give more attention to prayer, it has also rendered you more sensitive to the needs of others, above all to the hungry, fostering an even greater generosity towards those in distress."

"Everyday worries together with the more serious problems faced by the world call for our attention and our action. Let us ask God in prayer to help us confront them with courage and determination. In those places where we can work together, let us not labour separately."

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