Vatican City, October 20: The credibility of Christianity and Islam are at risk if believers do not make a stand against terrorism, a top Vatican cardinal said on Friday.
In a message of greetings to Muslims at the end of their annual Ramadan fast, the Vatican’s head of inter-religious dialogue said Christians and Muslims ‘respect and value each other’.
The Vatican greets Muslims at the end of every Ramadan, but this year’s message comes at a particularly sensitive time for relations between the two religions after Pope Benedict made a speech last month which offended many in the Islamic world.
Cardinal Paul Poupard said in his message the two religions, which ‘give great importance to love, compassion and solidarity’, had to fight the ‘particularly painful scourge’ of violence and terrorism.
“Without doubt, the credibility of religions and also the credibility of our religious leaders and all believers is at stake,” the message said.
“If we do not play our part as believers, many will question the usefulness of religion and the integrity of all men and women who bow down before God,” it said.
The Pope made a speech in September in which he quoted 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who said the Prophet Mohammad commanded ‘to spread by the sword the faith he preached’.
The Pontiff has many times expressed regret for the reaction to the speech and held an extraordinary meeting with Muslim representatives to assure them of his respect.