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Islam in Europe: CCEE Meeting in Scutari. Card. Tauran, “look at Islam and Muslims beyond stereotypes and prejudices”

(from Scutari) “Look at Islam and Muslims beyond stereotypes and prejudices, beyond the wrong images some media outlets spread, such as the extremist and violent behaviour of a minority of Muslims”. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, stressed this in a message to the participants in the Meeting of the National Delegates of the Bishops’ Conferences in Europe for relations with Muslims, sponsored by CCEE, that started this afternoon in Scutari, Albania. In the message read out by Mgr. Khaled Akasheh, Head of the Office for Islam at the Vatican Dicastery, the cardinal reiterated that “a clear stance from Muslim religious authorities as well as from individual Muslims on the issue of violence perpetrated in the name of religion is necessary in order to avoid drawing an unfair connection between Islam and violence. Indeed, there are religious, moral and spiritual resources in Islam, many of which are shared by Christians and Jews”. “As Christians and Muslims – Cardinal Tauran added -, we need to promote mutual respect, objectivity in speaking and writing about the other religion, goodness, compassion and mercy, which is so central in the Islamic tradition and also so dear to Pope Francis”. In addition, “both parties should make a new effort to avoid ‘hatred speech’ which is the source of mutual suspicion, discrimination, exclusion, marginalization and resentment”. The message ends with words of gratitude for Albania, a country – Card. Tauran wrote – that “could be cited as an example of respectful and fruitful relations between Christians, Sunni Muslims and the Bektashis. The religious persecution suffered by all believers in this country under the atheist regime was a unifying factor that drew everyone closer.

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