Muslims in Assisi Commit Themselves to Respect Other Religions

Statements of Rome´s Imam to Muslim Delegation

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ASSISI, Italy, JAN. 25, 2002 ( Muslim representatives who attended the Day of Prayer in Assisi appealed to Islamic faithful to respect the beliefs and practices of other religions.

The appeal, addressed to all Muslims present was made by Imam Mahmoud Sheweitah of Rome, at the end of the Muslim prayer meeting, which was held in a hall with Giotto frescoes. On hand were delegations from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Libya, Kazakhstan, Albania, Turkey and Iran, among others.

He was followed by Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric of Bosnia-Herzegovina, who emphasized the historic roots of the Islamic faith in the West.

«Muslims are not just immigrants; we are a native reality who have endured so many wars and massacres,» he said.

They also addressed the situation of the Muslims in Italy, many of whom differ on a number of questions, such as integration. Some expressed their opposition to Muslims who have requested the removal of the crucifix from Italian schools and hospitals.

«We do not share such demands,» the Muslims leaders at Assisi said in a statement. «Instead of reprimanding those who deride religions, these extremists attack Christian believers, offending religious symbols. We have no problem with Italy maintaining its own Christian traditions, as Saudi Arabia maintains its Muslim traditions.»

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