Peace Requires Christian-Muslim Dialogue, Says Pope

Receives New Ambassador From Algeria

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 1, 2005 ( The future of peace calls for dialogue between believers of the different religions, especially between Christians and Muslims, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope expressed this today when receiving the letters of credence of Idriss Jazairy, the new ambassador of Algeria to the Holy See.

Algeria, a country of 32.5 million inhabitants, 99% of whom are Muslim, endured the scourge of fundamentalist terrorism and repression between 1992 and 1998. In those years, 19 men and women religious were killed, including seven Trappist monks, as well as Bishop Pierre Claverie of Oran.

The Holy Father presented to the new ambassador the example of Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), who went to live in the Algerian desert to “become close to all, as a ‘universal brother.'”

“The Church hopes to continue an open and sincere dialogue with believers of other religions, in search of the authentic good of man and society,” said Benedict XVI.

“The meeting in truth between believers of different religions is an imperative challenge for the future of peace in the world, and this calls for much perseverance,” he contended.

“To surmount the reciprocal ignorance and prejudices,” the Holy Father added, “it is important to create bonds of trust between persons, sharing in particular daily life and work in common, so that the free expression of different confessions is not a reason for mutual exclusion, but rather an occasion to learn to live, each one respecting the other’s identity.”

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