03/24/2023, 18.57
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Church invites Muslims on Ramadan to fight together social media hatred

The Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue issues a message for the Islamic holy month, noting that Ramadan should be a time to boost “existing friendships” and “peaceful and friendly coexistence”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue released a message to the world’s Muslims at the start of Ramadan, noting that Islam’s holy month “is important for you, but also for your friends, neighbours and fellow believers of other religions, in particular Christians.”

Titled “Christians and Muslims: Promoters of Love and Friendship,” the message is signed by Card Miguel Ángel Cardinal Ayuso Guixot, prefect of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, and Fr Indunil Kodithuwakku Janakaratne Kankanamalage, the dicastery’s secretary.

During Ramadan, “Existing friendships are reinforced and others are built, paving the way for more peaceful, harmonious and joyful coexistence. This corresponds to the divine will for our communities, and indeed for all the members and communities of the one human family.”

Today this path has to deal with many challenges and threats, most notably “extremism, radicalism, polemics, disputes, and religiously motivated violence” fuelled by “a culture of hate”.

For this reason, “We need, then, to find the most appropriate ways of countering and overcoming such a culture, enhancing instead, enhancing love and friendship, in particular between Muslims and Christians, due to the bonds that unite us.”

The message goes on to warn that different attitudes “towards each other, in particular when there are differences between us in religion, ethnicity, culture, language, or politics” could be seen as a threat that might spark negative behaviours, such as “suspicion, fear, rivalry, discrimination, exclusion, persecution, polemics, insults, and backbiting”.

“Social media platforms are common spaces for such harmful behaviours, perverting their role from being means for communication and friendship to being instruments for enmity and fighting.”

The common challenge, then, is to jointly promote on social media the opposite behaviours, that is “respect, goodness, charity, friendship, mutual care for all, forgiveness, cooperation for the common good, help to all those who are in any kind of need and care for the environment, in order to keep our ‘common home’ a safe and pleasant place where we can live together in peace and joy.”

It is a matter thus of promoting “a culture of love and friendship,” based on “a sound education for future generations in all the spaces where they are formed: in the family, at school, in places of worship, and on social media.”

The message ends with the authors of the message extending their best wishes to Muslim brothers and sisters so that they can “enjoy the Almighty’s abundant blessings during Ramadan and celebrate ‘Id al-Fitr in the joy resulting from fidelity and love for the Almighty and all persons you live with or meet.”

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