Vatican-Muslim Joint Condemnation of Attacks

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 13, 2001 ( The Holy See and important Muslim religious leaders have jointly condemned Tuesday´s terrorist assaults on Washington, D.C., and New York.

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In a statement, distributed today by the Vatican Press Office, the Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee condemns «the horrifying acts of terrorism,» expresses «great sorrow at the number of victims,» and offers «condolences to their families.»

«Such acts of violence are not the way to bring peace to the world,» the committee adds. «As religious leaders, we wish to emphasize that the true basis for peace is justice and mutual respect.»

The objective of the Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee, created in May 1998, is to promote interreligious dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

It is composed of representatives of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, presided over by Cardinal Francis Arinze, and of the Al-Azhar Permanent Committee for Dialogue with Monotheist Religions.

Al-Azhar University is more than 2,000 years old, and the most prestigious center of Islamic Studies and Research in the world.

The press statement is signed by the president of the Committee, professor Hamid Ahmad Al-Rifaie, of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue, and by its secretary, Bishop Michael L. Fitzgerald of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

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