(from Scutari) Time for intense dialogue this morning in Scutari where Sunni Imam Lauren Luli, Vice President of the Muslim community in Albania, took the floor at Meeting of the National Delegates of the European Bishops’ Conferences for Relations with Muslims. In his speech, he outlined the fundamental traits of the Muslim believer and the way in which he lives his relationship with God. The Imam spoke of the believer as one who believes in Allah, who makes his faith shine forth in good works. “Were it not so – he insisted -, he would be like a lamp burning in the middle of a desert that risks being blown out by the winds”. The Imam also pointed out that the believer is one who turns away from all sins, and cited hatred as an example of practice contrary to the Quran in that it “damages not only the individual but also the whole of society”. “The high morality of the believer – he added – radiates simplicity, loyalty, honesty, love, patience, detachment from unnecessary things, solidarity, respect for parents and respect for the different. The believer must also respect those who disagree with him”. And in this regard, the Imam expressed his profound gratitude to all those who in the past have worked for “tolerance and coexistence”.
Another speaker at today’s conference was Loreta Aliko, President of the State Committee of Faiths. “Migratory flows and demographic movements caused by wars and economic development have prioritised the role of religions in our society, not only as a matter of security, but as an imperative matter of integration”, Mrs Aliko said. And – she added – this is not “the time for isolation and hatred” but “to find common ground to serve society”, learning what Pope Francis is asking of us, that is, the “art of dialogue and listening”.