ROME, MARCH 5, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Muslim and Jewish leaders joined in the special day of prayer and fasting for peace and thanked the Pope publicly for the initiative.
Mohammed Nour Dachan, president of the Union of Muslim Communities of Italy, told Vatican Radio that “at this time, as at other times since Sept. 11, His Holiness has made just and correct appeals.”
“I think that he is taking a position that we share fully: No one should use religion for other objectives, especially bellicose ones,” he added.
“Fasting is something very beautiful,” Dachan continued. “In Islam, it is said: ‘Fasting is the secret between the servant and his Lord,’ as no one can know if I have or have not eaten — it is a secret.”
For her part, Tullia Zevi, vice president of the European Jewish Congress, revealed over Vatican Radio her support for the Ash Wednesday fast proposed by John Paul II.
“It is difficult for a conflict today to remain circumscribed to Iraq,” Zevi explained. “In general, observers anticipate that the start of a war against Iraq might extend to the whole Middle East.”
“I also know that in Israel, the majority of the country is under shock from the terrorist attacks against the civilian population, which have created the hardening” of defense measures, she added.
“But my considerations are not dictated by a desire to harm Israel’s position, but by great apprehension over the consequences that an armed conflict might also have for the fate of Israel,” Zevi concluded.