Bristol: Catholics and Muslims exchange greetings for Eid

 Father Robert King, the Clifton Diocese Interfaith Officer, visited representatives of the Bristol Muslim community yesterday and delivered a greeting from the Vatican for the end of Ramadhan. The greeting written by Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, in Rome is entitled 'Continuing on the Path of Dialogue'. The Vatican's greeting invites Catholics and Muslims to strengthen their "engagement in building up good relations among people of different religions, to promote cultural dialogue and to work together for greater justice and enduring peace." Fr Robert said: "Archbishop Fitzgerald's greeting 'Continuing on the Path of Dialogue', is certainly representative of the relationship between Muslims and Catholics in Bristol. As the warm welcome that I received from Radio Ramadhan indicates, the ongoing dialogue between our two communities in Bristol has proven fruitful. It is yielding not only increased theological understanding and mutual respect, but also a goal in that Abdul Haq, Radio Ramadhan's Station Manager, spoke of a culture in Kenya in which people of different backgrounds and faiths live and work together as the norm. The growing diversity in twenty-first century Britain makes this as much a necessity in our culture as in the environment in which he grew up. My recent experiences with the Bristol Islamic community indicate that - through our ongoing dialogue - we are well on the path to realising this." Farooq Siddique of the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society said: "The Bristol Muslim community warmly welcomes the greeting from the Vatican, marking the end of the Holy Month of Ramadhan. It is part of an ongoing and increasing dialogue between the Christian and Muslim communities. It is important that we stand together, not only in times of sorrow as we did, earlier this year when Pope John Paul II completed his earthly life and again after 7/7, but also in times of joy, as today, to celebrate the festival of Eid." Fr Robert and Farooq took part in a 30 minute live programme on Bristol's Radio Ramadhan. Farooq was then presented with a framed photograph of himself and Bishop Declan Lang exchanging the sign of peace in Clifton Cathedral at the Requiem Mass celebrated on the Sunday following the 7 July attacks in London. Far Robert had preceded his Radio Ramadhan broadcast with a similar interview with Vatican Radio. BBC Radio Bristol reported on the special event. The greeting, (published this week on ICN), will also be personally delivered in Bath, Gloucester and Swindon indicating the importance placed upon interfaith relations throughout the Clifton Diocese which covers Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and the city of Bristol. Source: Clifton Diocese

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