05/05/2010, 00.00
INDIA - ISLAM
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Muslim preacher: Christians have the right to preach their faith in Muslim countries

Abdul Rasheed, of Tablighi Jamaat, supports reciprocity. He appreciates the Pope and the Synod for the Middle East, that will speak of religious freedom in Islamic countries. The Sunni Muslim has travelled twice to Europe to preach Islam in Sweden, Spain and Portugal.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Abdul Rasheed, a Sunni Muslim preacher, believes in reciprocity. And since he is free to come to Europe to preach Islam, he sees nothing wrong in allowing Christians to preach the Gospel in Muslim countries.

Abdul Rasheed, a small businessman in the district of Thane (Maharashtra), is a member of Tablighi Jamaat, an international organization for the revival of Islam and its spread worldwide. In recent months, for the second time, he travelled through Europe, preaching and teaching groups of Muslims in Sweden, Spain (Barcelona) and Portugal.

"In these countries – he told AsiaNews - there are no restrictions on prayer and there are no government restrictions on following the precepts of Islam. Even the burqa is not prohibited in these three nations. "

Rasheed specified: "In Sweden our people pray in specific locations. I held my lessons in these places, in residential areas made available by the government for sport and entertainment. " In fact in Sweden and Barcelona, he was able to meet other Swedish converts to Islam, who have become " devoted and practicing Muslims."

In all Muslim countries proselytism and the mission of Christians are prohibited. In several natins faithful are forbidden to even wear a cross, or gather for prayer in private. Abdul Rasheed argues instead for reciprocity and affirms that it is right for Christians to have the freedom to preach the Gospel, especially in the Middle East. "Unfortunately - he says - there is a lot of politics mixed up in these restrictions. In many Middle Eastern countries, many things contrary to Islam are legal, such as selling alcohol, or allowing certain forms of entertainment. If governments allow things like that, why are they set against the Gospel preached by Christians? ".

The Synod of the Churches of the Middle East, which will be held at the Vatican in October, will focus on full religious freedom for Christians in Islamic countries and their right to preach the faith on par with Muslims.

Abdul Rasheed welcomed the Synod and Pope Benedict XVI. "Respect for religious leaders - he explains – is part of the teaching of Muhammad"  

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