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Friday, February 23, 2024

Celebrating diversity: How Catholic archbishops in Italy are promoting unity during Eid Al-Fitr

Catholic archbishops in Italy send warm wishes to Muslims for Eid al-Fitr, promoting interreligious harmony and dialogue.

Catholic archbishops all over Italy have sent warm wishes to representatives of local Islamic communities on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr. The messages were sent to promote interreligious harmony in the country. 

Interreligious Dialogue

Archbishop Mario Delpini of the Archdiocese of Milan sent a message to the 150 Islamic communities in his area. Milan is home to nearly 50,000 Muslims. In his message, the archbishop emphasised the importance of interreligious dialogue, stating that it is not just about aspiring for peace, but also about the awareness that God reveals himself to us in the melting pot of differences. The archbishop recalled the many interactions between Christian and Muslim communities over the past year that helped to nurture dialogue. He added that dialogue consists of a spiritual journey and asked people to give thanks to God for this journey. The letter from Archbishop Delpini has been translated into Arabic, and Catholic priests will deliver it to Muslim leaders and cultural centres during Eid Al-Fitr celebrations.

Chairman to Deliver Message in Milan

Don Giampiero Alberti, who chairs the Centro Ambrosiano di Dialogo con le Religioni, a centre for religious studies and interfaith exchange, will personally deliver Archbishop Delpini’s message at Milan’s Via Padova Islamic Center on April 21. Additionally, all parish priests are expected to visit Islamic centres in their respective territories on the day, which shows a united effort to create a sense of community and respect for diversity. Such initiatives can help build trust and understanding between different religious groups, promoting a peaceful and harmonious society.

Read more: Soaring inflation dampens Eid holiday spirit in crisis-hit Pakistan

Appeals for Fraternal Dialogue

Archbishop Roberto Repole of Turin appealed to Christians and Muslims alike to persevere in fraternal dialogue between believers in God and to collaborate together. In his message for Eid Al-Fitr, he referred to the Document on Human Fraternity, signed in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 4, 2019, by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayyeb. He expressed hope that all people would be able to welcome this important message of brotherhood and universal peace that God gives us.

Muslims in Abruzzo 

The gesture of local farms and factories in Abruzzo to give a day off to Muslims for the celebration of Eid Al-Fitr highlights a growing trend of promoting interreligious harmony in Italy. The presence of religious leaders and public figures, such as the bishop and the mayor of L’Aquila, at local mosques for prayers is also a positive step towards building trust and understanding between different religious groups. These initiatives can help create a sense of community and respect for diversity, promoting a peaceful and harmonious society in Italy.

Prayers in Palermo

In Palermo, the capital of Sicily, over 20,000 faithful are expected to join early-morning prayers on Friday at the Foro Italico, a vast open-air area facing the sea. Prayers will be led by Mustafa Boulaalam, imam of the mosque of Piazza Gran Cancelliere, which before 1998 was a church and was donated to the Muslim community by Palermo’s late Cardinal Salvatore Pappalardo. Palermo’s Archbishop Corrado Lorefice will attend the prayers.

Read More: Eid-ul-Fitr to be celebrated in Pakistan on this date

The warm wishes sent by Catholic archbishops to local Islamic communities on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr in Italy highlight the importance of interreligious dialogue and cooperation in promoting peace and harmony. Such initiatives can help build trust and understanding between different religious groups, promoting a peaceful and harmonious society. Additionally, the granting of a day off to Muslim workers in Abruzzo and the attendance of bishops and mayors at prayers in mosques demonstrate a united effort to create a sense of community and respect for diversity.