Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The promotion of "mutual respect through education," the importance of "mutual respect always, not only in the presence of the other" and the importance of "dialogue and cooperation among believers, in particular between Christians and Muslims", "must always be reinforced". This is the focus of the message sent by Pope Francis "to Muslims around the world" to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
In the message of greeting - signed by the Pope and not by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue "as an expression of esteem and friendship for all Muslims" - Francis chose respect through education as the theme, a sensitive issue for the Islamic world and very important for Christians: " What we are called to respect in each person is first of all his life, his physical integrity, his dignity and the rights deriving from that dignity, his reputation, his property, his ethnic and cultural identity, his ideas and his political choices. "
It is in this sense, continuous Francis, respect must be written into Christian-Muslim dialogue. And above all, "particular respect is due to religious leaders and to places of worship. How painful are attacks on one or other of these!"
I am aware, he continues "that family and social dimensions enjoy a particular prominence for Muslims during this period, and it is worth noting that there are certain parallels in each of these areas with Christian faith and practice. This year, the theme on which I would like to reflect with you and with all who will read this message is one that concerns both Muslims and Christians: Promoting Mutual Respect through Education".
This years theme is intended to underline the importance of education in the way we understand each other, built upon the foundation of mutual respect". Therefore the two religions "are called to respect the religion of the other, its teachings, its symbols, its values. Particular respect is due to religious leaders and to places of worship. How painful are attacks on one or other of these! It is clear that, when we show respect for the religion of our neighbours or when we offer them our good wishes on the occasion of a religious celebration, we simply seek to share their joy, without making reference to the content of their religious convictions.
Regarding the education of Muslim and Christian youth, "we have to bring up our young people to think and speak respectfully of other religions and their followers, and to avoid ridiculing or denigrating their convictions and practices. We all know that mutual respect is fundamental in any human relationship, especially among people who profess religious belief. In this way, sincere and lasting friendship can grow".