August 3, 2013
“We need to train our young people to think and speak in a way that respects other religions and their followers” is one of the key steps of the message that Pope Francis has addressed yesterday to Muslims around the world to mark the end of Ramadan. A very significant gesture, as pointed out by the Muslim theologian Adnane Mokrani, an Islamic theologian from Tunisia who teaches at the Vatican’s prestigious Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Mokrani – First, as a Muslim I am very happy to receive this message of peace and wishes from a great Pope. His name indicates interest in interreligious dialogue: Saint Francis is a symbol of dialogue with Muslims. So, the choice of the same name was a positive sign for interreligious dialogue. And it’s the first time that a Pope signs a letter so alive, so beautiful, open, a plea for mutual respect as a common basis of friendship, then, an appeal to young people respect other religions, and the leaders of other religions …
Pope Francis, who is returning from the experience of World Youth Day in Rio is addressing with particular attention to young people, their training, education …
Mokrani – This special attention to young people is very important to educate young people to dialogue, coexistence, common values for humanity and a more peaceful, welcoming attitude … According to me, this is a common task, a common commitment that should be the goal of interreligious dialogue for the coming years.
How is this gesture seen in the Muslim world, from the media’s point of view, specifically how are these gestures of kindness, by Francis Pope taken by the faithful of Islam?
I believe that they receive positive reaction, despite the fact that the Islamic world today is taken by so many problems and challenges, and then the media is more interested in what is happening in Egypt, Tunisia and Syria: it is an very difficult. But in my opinion, this message may encourage people who are working in the field of interreligious dialogue, to move forward, to have hope and to find new energy. In my opinion, it is a message that gives hope and helps people who work in this field.