10/14/2005, 00.00
VATICAN - ISLAM
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Vatican tells Islam: "Let us continue on the path of dialogue"

To mark the end of Ramadan, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has sent its customary message to the Muslim community. Highlighted are a commitment to peace, the memory of John Paul II and the direction taken by Benedict XVI along the same path.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – It is up to Christians and Muslims "to strengthen the commitment to building up good relations among people of different religions, to promote cultural dialogue and to work together for greater justice and enduring peace".

This was the thrust of the customary message sent by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to Muslims around the world to mark the end of the "sacred month of Ramadan". The president of the council, Archbishop

Michael L. Fitzgerald invited all to show "as Christians and Muslims" that "we can live together in true fraternity, striving always to do the will of Merciful God who created humanity to be one family."

The message mentions John Paul II, as the archbishop recalls "many Muslims around the world" who "with Catholics and other Christians, followed closely the news of the Pope's last illness and his death", as well as "official delegations of Muslims, political and religious leaders from many countries" who attended his funeral. The commitment of the pope to inter-faith dialogue, continued Mgr Fitzgerald, "was actually rooted in the Gospel, following the example of the Lord Jesus who showed his love and respect for each person, even for those who did not belong to his own people".

The path to follow remains the same, as highlighted by Benedict XVI when he received representatives of other religions who participated in celebrations to mark the beginning of his Pontificate. The message notes that on that occasion, the Pope said: "I am particularly grateful for the presence in our midst of members of the Muslim community, and I express my appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians, both at the local and international levels. I assure you that the Church wants to continue building bridges of friendship with followers of all religions, in order to seek the true good of every person and of society as a whole". Then, continues Mgr Fitzgerald, "making reference to the conflicts, violence and wars present in our world, the Pope emphasized that it is the duty of every one, especially those who profess to belong to a religious tradition, to work for peace, and that 'our efforts to come together and foster dialogue are a valuable contribution to building peace on solid foundations'. Pope Benedict XVI concluded by saying: 'It is therefore imperative to engage in sincere and authentic dialogue, built on respect for the dignity of every human person, created, as we Christians firmly believe, in the image and likeness of God' (cf. Gen. 1: 26-27) (L'Osservatore Romano, 26 April 2005)."

The message concludes: "Encouraged by these words of the Pope, it is for us to strengthen our engagement in building up good relations among people of different religions, to promote cultural dialogue and to work together for greater justice and enduring peace. Let us, as Christians and Muslims, show that we can live together in true fraternity, striving always to do the will of Merciful God who created humanity to be one family."

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