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File photo: Pope Francis, left, and Shaikh Ahmad Al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar, exchange a joint statement on “human fraternity” after an interfaith meeting at the Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. Pope Francis has asserted in the first-ever papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula that religious leaders have a duty to reject all war and commit themselves to dialogue. Image Credit: AP

VATICAN CITY: In a message dedicated to the Holy Month of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) has urged Christians and Muslims worldwide to build bridges of brotherhood and promote the culture of dialogue.

“The Vatican is calling on Christians and Muslims worldwide to promote human fraternity and harmonious existence by building bridges of friendship and promoting a culture of dialogue where violence is rejected, and the human person is respected,” reported Vatican News, the Holy See media communications website.

The Vatican is calling on Christians and Muslims worldwide to promote human fraternity and harmonious existence by building bridges of friendship and promoting a culture of dialogue where violence is rejected, and the human person is respected.

- Vatican News, the Holy See media communications website

The message, titled ‘Christians and Muslims: Promoting Universal Fraternity’, quoted the Human Fraternity Document signed in the UAE capital by Pope Francis and Shaikh Ahmad Al Tayyeb on February 4, inviting Christians and Muslims to “remain rooted in the values of peace; to defend the values of mutual understanding, human fraternity and harmonious coexistence; to reestablish wisdom, justice and love.”

Spiritual bonds

The PCID message, issued by its Secretary, Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, wished Muslims worldwide a peaceful and fruitful celebration of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.

“The month of Ramadan with its dedication to fasting, prayer and almsgiving, is also a month for strengthening the spiritual bonds we share in Muslim-Christian friendship,” it added.

Bishop Guixot’s message reminds Muslims and Christians that by opening themselves to others, knowing and recognising them as brothers and sisters, they can “tear down walls raised out of fear and ignorance and seek together to build bridges of friendship that are fundamental for the good of all humanity.”

This way, they can cultivate a new way of life in their political, civil and religious institutions where violence is rejected, and the human person is respected, it added.

The PCID secretary encouraged followers of both communities to continue to promote the “culture of dialogue as a means of cooperation and as a method of growing in the knowledge of one another.”

Three guidelines

Bishop Guixot cited “three fundamental guidelines” that Pope Francis proposes for the promotion of dialogue and knowledge among people of different religions, namely, “the duty of identity, the courage of otherness and the sincerity of intentions”.

“Respect for diversity calls for a dialogue that seeks to promote the right to life of every person, to physical integrity, and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of conscience, of thought, expression and religion,” he added.