"Spirit of Assisi" Needed More Than Ever, Muslim Theologian Says

Insists That Believers Must Get to Know One Another

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ROME, OCT. 31, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A Muslim theologian and biblical scholar says the "spirit of Assisi" is more necessary than ever.



Shahrzad Houshmand Zadeh was referring to the interreligious prayer meeting convoked by John Paul II. This week, the city of San Francisco, California, held several commemorative meetings attended by Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Christian representatives.

Theologian Zadeh was among the participants. She told Vatican Radio: "Following the meeting convoked by the Pope in Assisi, we have seen that interreligious meetings, for reciprocal information, have intensified."

This new era of contacts is known as the "spirit of Assisi," which is especially necessary following the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, the Muslim stressed.

"The ´spirit of Assisi´ is more necessary than ever, because we are at a special moment of history," Zadeh said. "Often, there is talk about the difficulties that religions have among themselves. However, I don´t think that this is the problem at all. The meaning of religions is to bring peace on earth, among men."

"Jesus says this to Christians, but his word is valid for all peoples of the world: ´Love one another, as I have loved you,´" added Zadeh, who publishes books on Islam and Christianity in Italy. "He himself came to make us understand that we are brothers, and that we must love one another.

"The Koran also says this, when it states: ´In truth, all believers are brothers. Therefore, take peace among your brothers.´"

She cited another Koranic verse: "Peace is always better. Believers of religions, even if they are of different religions, must have total peace and fraternity between them, to be able to be true bearers of the message of peace in the world."