08/02/2013, 00.00
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Tokyo, Abe hosts iftar to revive dialogue with Islamic world

The Japanese Prime Minister has invited diplomats of Muslim nations to the meal that breaks the fast imposed by Ramadan. The purpose of the meeting is "to promote collaboration between Japan and the Arab world." Among the guests Osunaarashi, the Egyptian sumo wrestler among the worlds greatest at the martial art.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - Japanese Prime Minister invited diplomatic representatives of Islamic countries to an iftar, the ritual meal that breaks the fast of Ramadan, with the stated aim of "deepening mutual understanding between Japan and Muslim nations." The Prime Minister has expressed his desire to "soon" visit to these countries, emphasizing the "continuous bonds" that unite Tokyo and the Middle East.

The prime minister has presented guests to Osunaarashi, the first non-Japanese sumo wrestler to reach the rank of "sekitori" (the highest level in the two major Japanese divisions), whose real name is Abdelrahman Ahmed Shaalan [left in photo while shaking Abe's hand note].

The wrestler comes from Egypt, and is a practicing Muslim won the Grand Tournament in Nagoya last month despite being in the middle of Ramadan. According to Abe, Shaalan "should be taken as an example. He can be a bridge of understanding and dialogue between the Japanese and the Islamic world."

Ketrandji Ali, the Algeria Ambassador to Japan, led the delegation present at the Prime Minister's office for dinner. The diplomat said the "Our two worlds have a lot in common. Hopefully we can develop a fruitful partnership for all in the economic, social and scientific spheres."



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