In a warm Ramadan message, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue addresses our “dear Muslim brothers and sisters” in an appeal for mutual collaboration and overcoming differences.
“A spirit of competition has too often marked past relations between Christians and Muslims, the negative consequences of which are evident: jealousy, recriminations and tensions,” writes council president Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran in a Ramadan message released Friday.
“In some cases, these have led to violent confrontations, especially where religion has been instrumentalized, above all due to self-interest and political motives,” he said, probably referring to Islamist terror groups such as the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, Hamas, the Taliban, and others.
“Such interreligious competition wounds the image of religions and their followers,” the Cardinal said, “and it fosters the view that religions are not sources of peace, but of tension and violence.”
In past years, it has been precisely during the month-long period of Ramadan when jihadists have increased their terror activity, particularly against Christians.
According to a Breitbart News analysis last year, Ramadan 2017 marked one of the bloodiest holy months in recent history, with casualties at the hands of Islamist terrorists totaling 3,343 (1,639 deaths and 1,704 injuries).
In a video message released last Sunday, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called on Muslims to jihad during the month of Ramadan, while al-Shabaab in Somalia urged al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to escalate attacks.
Muslim extremists have depicted Ramadan as a time when martyrdom and jihad are especially rewarded in paradise, which has generated a spike in terror attacks during the period every year.
“To prevent and overcome these negative consequences,” Cardinal Tauran continued in his message Friday, “it is important that we Christians and Muslims recall the religious and moral values that we share, while acknowledging our differences.”
“In his Providence, God the Almighty has granted you the opportunity to observe anew the fasting of Ramadan and to celebrate ‘Id al-Fitr,” he said, while insisting that the Vatican “appreciates the importance of this month and the great effort by the Muslims throughout the world to fast, pray and share the Almighty’s gifts with the poor.”
“By recognizing what we hold in common and by showing respect for our legitimate differences, we can more firmly establish a solid foundation for peaceful relations, moving from competition and confrontation to an effective cooperation for the common good,” he said.
“So that we may further peaceful and fraternal relations, let us work together and honor each another,” Tauran added.
“In this way we will give glory to the Almighty and promote harmony in society, which is becoming increasingly multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural,” he said.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliams