Today, Christians and Muslims will pray together in Catholic churches, celebrate the Eucharist. It is the good fruit of the sacrifice made by a man of God, Father Jacques, who was killed – they said – by Islamic religious fanatics. But authentic faith is never fanatic and knows no violence nor horror. God is Love, no matter how you call Him. This is the message of this initiative out of the program today.
The French Muslim community is taking a position of strong condemnation, in the name of the Muslim faith, towards the acts of violence that have sown terror and horror in Europe and towards any other form of violence that “dirties” Islam. Yesterday, the news that the two terrorists who had brutally killed Father Jacques Hamel will not receive burial in the Muslim community. The newspaper Le Parisien reported the statement made by the President of the Islamic Regional Council of Normandy and director of Yahya mosque in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray: “What they did is an impure act. We do not want to stain Islam”. “We will not partake in the washing of their bodies, nor will we attend their burial, if the family asks us to do so” said Mohammed Karabila. Today, the French Council for Muslim Faith (Ihei) and the Italian Islamic Religious Community (Cores) called on Muslims to go to church to pray during Mass as an act of solidarity with the Christians, after the horrible crime in Rouen.
The Muslim community in Italy – reads a statement – “fully supports and shares the position taken by Ihei, the body that actively participates in consultations with the Ministry of Interior of the French Republic, and will implement this initiative of witness to spiritual brotherhood also in Italy.” Therefore, on Sunday, July 31, “before Mass, Coreis delegates will greet the churches, the bishops, and the parish priest of the following cities: Rome, Milan, Novara, Genoa, Verona, Sondrio, Ventimiglia, Brescia, Vicenza, Fermo, Siena, Piacenza, Brindisi, Palermo, and Agrigento.”
“We believe it is essential, in this dramatic moment, to give with this greeting of the Muslims of Italy a concrete sign of deep respect for the sacredness of the Ministers and rites of Christianity, where the faithful and citizens receive the blessings of spiritual communion”, reads the note.
Interviewed by Skytg24, Cardinal Bagnasco, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, said he does not consider churches and Christian places of worship to be greatly endangered in Italy, and that there is no need “to militarize churches.” “Do not be afraid, otherwise you do exactly what these murders fanatics want you to do” said the Archbishop.
As to the choice to take part in the Catholic rituals of Sunday Mass, it was described as “a gesture of high symbolic value” by Omar Camilletti, the Grand Mosque of Rome, who also added that more actions and meetings should follow to reach “true mutual understanding”. In an interview with Vatican Radio, he said: “Here in the mosque, we receive about 30 thousand visitors a year. This year the number has diminished, perhaps even halved. They are schools from Italy and Europe. I think a significant action would be to take some young Muslims, faithful Muslims, to visit churches throughout the year, not only this Sunday, because many boys and girls are ignorant of the fact that this country has thousands of churches and that ‘Christian identity is still the religious identity of the majority of the country.” A lesson of religious civilization for those in Italy, who on the occasion of the main Catholic religious holidays, proposed not to celebrate them publicly, in schools or even in churches, not to “offend” the sensitivity of the Muslims.