Rome (AsiaNews) - The need for greater efforts to encourage religious pluralism and cultural diversity by fighting the spread of fanaticism and prejudice was the focus of Friday's audience between Pope Francis and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu (pictured), secretary general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which brings together 57 Muslim countries, this according to a statement released today by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
In the communiqué, Ihsanoglu shared with His Holiness his vision about the need for a "historic reconciliation" between Islam and Christianity "based on the [ir] common Abrahamic roots [. . .] in order to support multiculturalism and harmonious societies. His Holiness commended the proposal of the Secretary General and stressed the need to follow it up."
The press release also "stressed" the point "that interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world, and as such it is a duty for adherents of all faith traditions."
"Concern was also expressed regarding the increase of inter-communal tension between Muslim and Christian communities and over the transformation of communal conflicts in some parts of the world into religiously motivated conflicts, even though the root causes are not religious in nature."
The press release went on to emphasise the need for cultural activities to underpin interfaith dialogue. It also said that "Views were exchanged on regional and international developments, especially the situation in Palestine, and the hope was expressed that the Holy City of Jerusalem be a City where Jews, Christians and Muslims may live and worship in peace and harmony."
"Concern and dismay were also expressed about the continuation of violence in Syria which requires a solution based on dialogue and negotiation."
"During the meeting the OIC Secretary General expressed his appreciation for the audience with Pope Francis and commended his vision to revitalize the dialogue between Christians and Muslims at a time when this dialogue has taken on ever-greater importance, as today the presence of Muslims in historically Christian countries has expanded, while some OIC countries either have native Christian communities or have witnessed in recent years arrival of Christians as guest workers."