In its message for Ramadan, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue notes that the declaration on ‘Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together’ views “Every attempt to attack places of worship or threaten them by violent assaults, bombings or destruction,” as “a deviation from the teachings of religions as well as a clear violation of international law”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue issued a message for Muslims on the occasion of Ramadan, which began on 23 April and will end with the feast of 'Id al-Fitr.
In it, the Council expresses hope that “mutual respect and cooperation" between Christians and Muslims can strengthen bonds of sincere friendship, and thus “enable our communities to safeguard the places of worship to assure for coming generations the fundamental freedom to profess one's own beliefs.”
Titled ‘Christians and Muslims: Protecting together the places of worship,’ the message is signed by Card Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and Mgr Indunil Kodithuwakku Janakaratne Kankanamalage, the Council’s secretary.
“As we all know, the places of worship occupy an important place in Christianity and Islam, and in other religions as well. For both Christians and Muslims, churches and mosques are spaces reserved for prayer, personal and communitarian alike. They are constructed and furnished in a way that favours silence, reflection and meditation. They are spaces where one can go deep in himself/herself, so favouring for God-experience in silence. A place of worship of any religion therefore is ‘a house of prayer’ (Isaiah, 56: 7).
“Places of worship are also spaces for spiritual hospitality, where believers of other religions also join for some special ceremonies like weddings, funerals, feasts of the community etc.”
“In the context of recent attacks on churches, mosques and synagogues by wicked persons who seem to perceive the places of worship as a privileged target for their blind and senseless violence, it is worth noting what the Document on ‘Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,’ signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, in Abu Dhabi, on 4 February 2019, said: ‘The protection of places of worship – synagogues, churches and mosques – is a duty guaranteed by religions, human values, laws and international agreements. Every attempt to attack places of worship or threaten them by violent assaults, bombings or destruction, is a deviation from the teachings of religions as well as a clear violation of international law.’”