The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has through the Christian Council in The Gambia sent Ramadan and Id al-fitr greetings to all Gambian Muslims. The yearly message is sent to the Islamic community on the occasion of the month of Ramadan and Id al-fitr. The message was sent through the Catholic Bishop of Banjul and passed on to the chairman of the Banjul Muslim Elders, Alhaji Alieu Mboge.
The message reads: “For us, your Christian friends, it is a propitious time to further strengthen relationships with you, by greeting you, meeting you on this occasion and, where possible, buy sharing in any iftar with you. Ramadan and Id al-Iftar thus are special occasions to foster fraternity between Christians and Muslims. It is in this spirit that the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue offers its prayerful best wishes and hearty congratulations to you all.
As we all know, the places of worship occupy an important place in Christianity and Islam, and in other spaces reserved for prayer, personal and communitarian alike. They are constructed and furnished in a way that favours silence, reflection and mediation. They are spaces where one can go deep in himself/herself, so favouring is at a house of prayer
In this regard, it is worthwhile to recall what Pope Francis said when he made a visit to the Heydar Aliyev Mosque, in Baku, Azerbaijan on Sunday, 2 October 2016: “Meeting one another in fraternal friendship in this place of prayer is a powerful sign, relations and on the good will of those responsible.”
In the context of recent attacks on churches, mosques and synagogues by wicked persons who seem to perceive the places of worship as a privilege target for their blind and senseless violence, it is worth noting what the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, in Abu Dhabi, on 4 February 2019, said: ”The protection of places of worship – synagogues, churches and mosques – is a duty guaranteed by religious, human values, laws and international agreements. Every attempt to attack places of worship or threaten them by violent assaults, bombings or destruction, is a deviation from the teachings of religious as well as clear violation of international law.”
“While appreciating the efforts done by the international community at different levels for the protection of the places of worship worldwide, it is our hope that our mutual esteem, respect and cooperation will help strengthen the bonds of sincere friendship, and enable our communities to safeguard the places of worship to ensure for coming generations the fundamental freedom to profess one’s own beliefs. With renewed esteem and fraternal greetings, in the name of the Pontifical Council for interreligious Dialogue, we convey friendly wishes for a fruitful month of Ramadan and a joyous Id al-Fitr,” the message concluded.