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    » 10/17/2011, 00.00

    PAKISTAN – VATICAN – ASSISI 20

    Young Pakistani imam comes to Assisi to promote interfaith dialogue



    Allama Zubair Abid, president of the Pakistan Ulama Mashaikh Council, will join Pope Benedict XVI on the path of peace. He will read a brief message in Arabic in representation of the Muslim world. For a Pakistani priest, his participation will help lower tensions back in Pakistan.
    Lahore (AsiaNews) – A young Pakistani imam, Allama Zubair Abid, who is the president of the Pakistan Ulama Mashaikh Council, will be in Assisi on 27 October for this year’s pilgrimage of peace. He will join Pope Benedict XVI and a hundred other participants in a meeting titled ‘Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace’. The annual event was launched by John Paul II and this year’s edition marks its 25th anniversary. Despite his youthful age, the cleric is considered an expert in Islamic law and will take part at the interfaith meeting where he will read a message in Arabic.

    AsiaNews spoke to a Dominican priest, Fr James Channan, director of the Peace Center in Lahore, who recently met Zubair Abid and discussed a number of issues concerning the pilgrimage of peace and his trip to Italy.

    Fr Channan is a recipient of the 2011 Golden Rule Award; a prize offered by Finland's Interfaith Dialogue Network, which he received on 21 September, the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.

    “He is very excited about this international conference at Assisi,” Fr Channan said about the Muslim cleric. “It is going to be his first international conference. He is one of ten religious leaders from around the world who are chosen to read a short message”. His will be “in the Arabic language to represent the Muslim community.”

    Zubair Abid has already participated in a couple of events organised by Catholic bishops on the topic of interfaith dialogue. He has also invited some Christian leaders to meetings in his mosque.

    “He will greet the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI with great reverence,” the Dominican clergyman said. “He is very excited about this unique and extraordinary opportunity.”

    It is hoped that the experience in Assisi will help him “promote Islamic-Christian dialogue in Pakistan” and that he will be enriched by it. “I hope he will help in lowering tensions that flare up from time to time” in Pakistan.

    However, the issue of the blasphemy law was never mentioned during the meeting between the Catholic priest and the Muslim cleric. “It is a controversial law and our first meeting was not the right time to talk about it,” Fr Channan said.

    In Assisi on 27 October, Benedict XVI will lead religious leaders and notables, as well as individuals not clearly affiliated with any religion, in the ‘Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace’ event.

    This year’s event will commemorate the now historic meeting for peace held on 27 October 1986 at the initiative of John Paul II.

    Card Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and one of the event organisers, said, "the emphasis this time is on the pilgrimage and not prayer.”

    However, it is not clear whether praying has been “ruled out entirely” or “will be minimal", the cardinal said.

    The details of the day’s programme will be made public tomorrow at a press conference at the Vatican. (NC)
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    See also

    28/10/2011 VATICAN - ASSISI 2011
    Pope: Assisi represents the millions of men who are committed to promoting peace and justice
    Benedict receives the delegations who participated in the Assisi Day. Meetings of this kind "are a clear expression of the fact that every day in the world, people of different religions live and work together in harmony."

    14/10/2011 VATICAN-ASSISI 2011
    Assisi 2011: pilgrimage, not prayer, of all religions and non-believers
    Programme for day announced by Benedict XVI to commemorate the first meeting in Assisi on October 26, 1986 begins to take shape. The official launch of the event on Oct. 18 at the Vatican. Participants also include staunchly non-religious people.

    26/10/2011 VATICAN - ASSISI 2011
    Pope: peace is not built by the sword, but by being ready to suffer rejection and persecution
    On the eve of the Assisi Day, Benedict XVI invites us to pray that "in a world still torn by hatred, division, selfishness, war," it may "encourage dialogue between people of different religious affiliation and bring a ray of light that can illuminate the minds and hearts of all men, so that rancor give way to forgiveness, division to reconciliation, hatred to love, violence to gentleness, and peace reign in the world. "

    13/10/2011 INDIA - VATICAN - ASSISI 2011
    Baha'i on pilgrimage to Assisi: education, ecology and dialogue against fundamentalism
    A.K. Merchant, national administrator of the Baha'i community of India, highlights the themes that he will bring to the 25th international meeting for peace in Assisi, on 27 October. An interview with AsiaNews.

    27/10/2011 VATICAN - ASSISI 2011
    Julia Kristeva: The humanism of the Enlightenment must dialogue with Christian humanism
    After the Holocaust and the Gulags, man can not be the "end". Secularization remains silent regarding the role of the woman and mother. "The diversity of our meeting here in Assisi, shows that the hypothesis of destruction is not the only possibility". The intervention of the representative of the non-believers at the Assisi Day



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