Shiite Imam Says Pope Shows That There Is No War of Religions

Lebanese Hails "Historic Importance" of John Paul II's Words

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ROME, MARCH 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A Lebanese Shiite leader says the words and conduct of John Paul II demonstrate that there is no war of religions, despite the Iraqi conflict.



A member of one of the families that descend from the prophet Mohammed, Imam Mohammed Hassan Al Amin said in an interview on RAI, the Italian state broadcasting station: "All that the Vatican has done or that the Pope has said, has deprived of legitimacy in everything the fear or idea of a war of religions."

"I do not hesitate to express the historic importance of what the Pope has said; historic because those words have value not only for Christianity, but for the whole of humanity," Al Amin said. "His words help us to understand how all the sacred texts of monotheisms are based on love."

In regard to Muslims who think of recourse to violence in non-Islamic countries, Al Amin noted: "I wish to address an appeal to them so that they will understand, share and make their own the Pope's words, which point out the road that the whole of humanity must follow."

"They are words addressed to the religious meaning of love and, therefore, must be accepted in the behavior of the faithful," the imam said.

"We Muslims are the link in a chain before which is the link constituted by Christianity; Muslims who live in these countries must become an integral part of the process of dialogue, understanding and integration," the Shiite said.

Al Amin also emphasized that "a Muslim who lives in a non-Islamic country is part of a great project, that of the overcoming of divisions, of the creation of a new understanding, of coexistence."

Because of this, "he must respect the men and laws of the country in which he lives or which accepts him and allows him the free exercise of his faith," he concluded.