October 24, 2013
On the occasion of the XII Ecumenical Day of the Christian-Islamic dialogue, celebrated throughout Italy on October 27, the national organizing committee wrote an appeal to all of Italy. The committee consists of a series of pacifist and nonviolent associations, which are representative of the Christian and Muslim world. The appeal this year is entitled: “Religious freedom, the basis of civil society. One God, one humanity, human rights for all and all.”
To define this issue, the Committee started with a reflection on the “endless war,” which started on 11 September 2001 and is still in progress. The text of the stresses that “the war, with the related issue of unclean production of armaments, is the dramatic emergency of our time, as seen by the recent events in Syria. Religions still provide cultural – religious motivations in an event, especially war, which can not be defined as solely political and economic.”
For the promoters of the Day there is no doubt that peace is a valuable asset and must be safeguarded at all costs. Many who celebrate the day participated in a day of prayer and fasting for peace, which was supported on September 7 by Pope Francis.
Also urgent is the issue of religious freedom on which little attention is given, and despite the provisions of our Constitution it is still largely unimplemented. “Freedom of religion” says the appeal “is the subject of conflict in many regions of our country, especially in the north, and not just for Muslims who are systematically denied permission to erect their own places of worship. Missing is a law implementing the constitutional rules.
Hence the need to reflect on these urgent issues. The hope is that this appeal can be widely distributed so that October 27, 2013 may continue, as has already happened in the last eleven years, a positive encounter between Christians and Muslims but also with other religions and with civil society more generally.