Vatican Urges Muslims to Work for Peace

September 28, 2007


Source: The News Tribune

Wire Service: AP

The Vatican on Friday urged Muslims to reject violence, work with Christians for peace and to teach their children to love and respect all people and not become "cultural or religious blocs opposed to one another."

The Vatican's top official in charge of relations with Muslims, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, issued the traditional message to Muslims to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

In it, he urged Muslims to enter into a dialogue with Christians to "help us to escape from the endless spiral of conflict and multiple tensions which mark our societies."

It was the most pointed appeal to Muslims from Tauran, who was named in June to head the newly reopened Vatican office that specializes in relations with Muslims, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Church relations with Muslims were badly strained last year after a speech by Pope Benedict XVI that linked Islam to violence. Benedict later said he regretted that Muslims were offended by his remarks.

Tauran, the Vatican's foreign affairs chief from 1990 to 2003, has pledged to back the moderate forces within Islam to improve dialogue and help defeat extremist groups that encourage terrorism.