Holy See Encourages Muslims to Educate for Peace

Message of President of Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See invited Muslim believers worldwide to cooperate in the promotion of peace and the rejection of violence through education.

The proposal, dated Oct. 1, was presented today by Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, in a message sent for the end of Ramadan. The Vatican Press Office published the message entitled «Christians and Muslims and the Ways of Peace.»

The message considers that situations «where war prevails are like an open wound in the heart of humanity, above all those conflicts which have been going on for many years, whether in the Middle East, in Africa or in Asia.»

After recognizing that the «origin of the causes of conflict is often to be located in hearts which refuse to be open to God,» the Vatican message states: «While the ultimate causes of wars are well known, we need above all to explore together the ways to peace.»

«As believers in the one God we see it as our duty to strive to bring about peace,» it says. «Christians and Muslims, we believe that peace is above all a gift from God. This is why our two communities pray for peace; it is something they are always called to do.»

The British archbishop said that in «bringing about peace, and maintaining it, religions have an important role to play, one which in these days more than ever is being recognized by civil society and by governments.»

In particular, Archbishop Fitzgerald said that religions can contribute in a special way through the field of education.

«We are indeed convinced that the ways of peace include education, for through it one can learn to recognize one’s own identity and that of the other,» the message stresses. «Education for peace also involves recognition and acceptance of diversity.»

Lastly, the archbishop expresses the satisfaction of Catholics «to see that in several countries there is increased collaboration in this field among Muslims and Christians, especially as regards the equitable revision of textbooks for schools.»

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