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from issue no. 10 - 2007

Abdullah Redouane, General Secretary of the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy

Fruitful event, not only symbolic

by Abdullah Redouane

The Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Shmuel Di Segni, in visit to the Rome Mosque, with Abdullah Redouane, 
13 March 2006

The Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Shmuel Di Segni, in visit to the Rome Mosque, with Abdullah Redouane, 13 March 2006

Only a short time has passed since, for the first time in history, a monarch from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia crossed the threshold of the Holy See, meeting the Supreme Pontiff. His majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud bears the title of Custodian of the Sacred Mosques of Mecca and Medina, His Holiness Benedict XVI is the Successor of Peter.
I still have the long, affectionate handshake between the two before my eyes. The significance of the event is certainly not limited to their official titles, which do however, I believe, sum up very well the exceptional nature, indeed the uniqueness of this meeting, and the sign that it will leave in history and in the heart of believers. A sign that I have no doubt will be fruitful, and harbinger of renewed hope and dialogue. A dialogue that has reached, not only symbolically, one of its highest peaks.
These two men, bearers and representatives of two ancient faiths, close in their way, that inspire and animate the life of billions of human beings, have experienced a great deal, and reflected a lot. Their age, which means they carry with them experiences of the past century, with its dramas and its hopes for rebirth and peace, brings them now, at this beginning of the new century, to be guiding figures in times of torments and misunderstandings. In their final statements we read the importance that they attribute to the value of collaboration between Christians, Muslims and Jews for the promotion of peace, justice, spiritual and moral values, especially in support of the family. That family that constitutes the basis of ordinary life both in Islam as in Christianity, that is the foundation of society and that is so threatened today. During the meeting King Abdullah, spoke of the Jews who, like Christians and we Muslims, believe in the one God, and have their father in Abraham. I couldn’t then but return to the memory of another visit, in which I played a leading role and that, with the due proportions, found its completion I believe in the one which we are speaking of today: the visit of the Chief Rabbi of Rome to the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy. Jews and Muslims together.
The Pontiff and King Abdullah wanted to entrust to their words, and to those who know how to receive them, a message of peace. Peace for men, peace for the Middle East. They wanted to testify that to speak is not only possible, but also necessary. That to converse, to exchange ideas, seek solutions, does not involve any diminution, any loss in itself, but rather enriches. Christians and Muslims have made much progess together, have constructed a lot together. If history, as is often said and abused in the saying, is indeed the teacher of life, it teaches us that man, with the help of God, is still able to take his own destiny in hand, and save the world and himself, creature of God, created in the best of forms.

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