Muslims and Christians together pray in St. Peter’s Square, each with the words of their own religion. For many it is a “miracle” born by the appeal of Pope Francis who encouraged fasting for peace against the war in Syria. In St. Peter’s square, in the late afternoon, a hundred thousand people came to accept the appeal of the pope. A silent ceremony, with flags ranging from the Syrian flag to those of the color of the rainbow of peace and the Chinese flag to Argentinian flag, the country of the Pope.
An atmosphere of silence, made almost surreal by the presence of Syrians and Muslims in the square: several hundred according to the Arab Community in Italy. Some of them recited the Qur’an: while at the same time came Ave Maria rising from the square. A fusion of faiths and prayers in the name of peace. The verse recited says that Allah has set up a people and a community so that we can know each other – explains Salameh Ashour a Palestinian – The noblest man who loves and fears God refrains from any violence.” Egyptians, Libyans, Syrians, Palestinians, Iraqis and other Arabs mixed on the streets with African, South American and Italian.
For many it was a moment of peace. “Today we have fasted” says Ismael, wrapped in a flag of Syria “we are here because Francis has shown an understanding for our people.” “Unprecedented” for many Catholics “the sort of miracle of Pope Francis.”
Minas, a Syrian wearing the chador and honeymooning in Rome went to St. Peter with her husband for the event: “I just hope” he says “that when we return we will not find Damascus destroyed by bombs.”