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
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".