Italian Muslims Pray for John Paul II's Health

ROME, FEB. 4, 2005 ( Muslims from various Italian mosques are praying for John Paul II who has been hospitalized this week in the Gemelli Polyclinic, suffering from complications due to flu.

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The idea was launched by Imam Abdullah Amar of Naples and promoted by Feras Jabareen, leader of the Muslim religious community of the province of Sienna, who invited fellow Muslims to «express our solidarity with this great man.»

A mosque in Milan is also joining the prayer campaign.

Today Imam Zargar Zahoor, president of the Muslim community of Italy’s region of Liguria, dedicated some moments in a religious service to comment on the Pope’s current state of health and to recall his commitment to peace and to the poor. «He has always struggled for them and against war,» he said.

A special prayer was recited for the Pope’s health and his speedy recovery.

Zargar Zahoor recently wrote a letter to thank John Paul II for all he has done to promote dialogue between Catholics and Muslims.

John Paul II was the first Pope to address Muslim crowds during his historic trip to Morocco in 1985. He was also the first to invite Muslims, together with religious leaders of other confessions, to Assisi to pray for peace. Additionally, he was the first to visit a mosque, May 2001 in Damascus, where there are relics attributed to St. John the Baptist.

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