09/12/2011, 00.00
ISLAM
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The Virgin Mary in Islam: Image and Devotion, a book by Msgr. Bressan

The Archbishop of Trento, a veteran of the Holy See's diplomatic service, presents Mary as a "Woman of encounter" between the two religions. Widespread and strong devotion among Muslims to Our Lady, and the significant iconography, across centuries and continents, in the Muslim world.
Rome (AsiaNews) - If there is a figure that can represent the "woman of encounter" between Islam and Christianity, this is Mary, who veneration not only by Christians but also by the followers of the Prophet, is proof of this. Further proof is found in the pilgrimage that Muslims, men and women have made for centuries to Marian shrines in the Middle East. To mention but a few; Sednaya, 30 km south of Damascus, or the Marian shrine on Mount Al-Tir, Egypt, Samallut, in the province of Minya, not to mention the mountain above Ephesus, in Turkey, where according to tradition the Virgin spent the last years of her life in Meriem Ana. And even in Morocco and Algeria, Muslim men and women go to the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Casablanca, or the Sanctuary of Notre Dame d'Afrique in Algiers.

But in addition to popular devotion, there is also an iconographic presence of Mary in the Muslim world, all the more surprising when one considers the position of Islam regarding the reproduction of the human figure. And this is one of the most interesting elements of the extensively-documented work by Msgr. Luigi Bressan, who for many years was in contact with the Muslim world (Pakistan, for example).

"Mary in the devotion and the art of Islam", for Jaca Book, is a thorough research on the presence of Mary in the Muslim world over the centuries, with the reproduction of over 70 images of the Madonna, ranging from Bangladesh to ' India, from Persia to Turkey. The book is a valuable contribution for those who live and work in contact with the followers of Islam, as well as for scholars of the relations between religions, and religious iconography. A collection of images certainly very rich, and unprecedented in its entirety.

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