A letter to Muslims on the celebration of ‘Eid ul-Fitri

– Pope Francis
The Malaysian Insider
August 07, 2013

To Muslims throughout the World,

It gives me great pleasure to greet you as you celebrate ‘Eid ul-Fitri, so concluding the month of Ramadan, dedicated mainly to fasting, prayer and almsgiving.

It is a tradition by now that, on this occasion, the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue sends you a message of good wishes, together with a proposed theme for common reflection.

This year, the first of my Pontificate, I have decided to sign this traditional message myself and to send it to you, dear friends, as an expression of esteem and friendship for all Muslims, especially those who are religious leaders.

As you all know, when the Cardinals elected me as Bishop of Rome and Universal Pastor of the Catholic Church, I chose the name of “Francis”, a very famous saint who loved God and every human being deeply, to the point of being called “universal brother”. He loved, helped and served the needy, the sick and the poor; he also cared greatly for creation.

I am aware that family and social dimensions enjoy a particular prominence for Muslims during this period, and it is worth noting that there are certain parallels in each of these areas with Christian faith and practice.

This year, the theme on which I would like to reflect with you and with all who will read this message is one that concerns both Muslims and Christians: Promoting Mutual Respect through Education.

This year’s theme is intended to underline the importance of education in the way we understand each other, built upon the foundation of mutual respect.

“Respect” means an attitude of kindness towards people for whom we have consideration and esteem. “Mutual” means that this is not a one-way process, but something shared by both sides.

What we are called to respect in each person is, first of all, his life, his physical integrity, his dignity and the rights deriving from that dignity, his reputation, his property, his ethnic and cultural identity, his ideas and his political choices.

We are therefore called to think, speak and write respectfully of the other, not only in his presence, but always and everywhere, avoiding unfair criticism or defamation. Families, schools, religious teaching and all forms of media have a role to play in achieving this goal.

Turning to mutual respect in inter-religious relations, especially between Christians and Muslims, we are called to respect the religion of the other, its teachings, its symbols, its values. Particular respect is due to religious leaders and to places of worship. How painful are attacks on one or other of these!

It is clear that when we show respect for the religion of our neighbours or when we offer them our good wishes on the occasion of a religious celebration, we simply seek to share their joy without making reference to the content of their religious convictions.

Regarding the education of Muslim and Christian youth, we have to bring up our young people to think and speak respectfully of other religions and their followers, and to avoid ridiculìng or denigrating their convictions and practices.

We all know that mutual respect is fundamental in any human relationship, especially among people who profess religious beliefs. ln this way, sincere and lasting friendship can grow.

When I received the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See on 22 March 2013, I said: “It is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people. Hence, it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam.

“At the Mass marking the beginning of my ministry, I greatly appreciated the presence of so many civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world.”

With these words, I wish to emphasise once more the great importance of dialogue and cooperation among believers, in particular Christians and Muslims, and the need for it to be enhanced.

With these sentiments, I reiterate my hope that all Christians and Muslims may be true promoters of mutual respect and friendship, in particular through education.

Finally, I send you my prayerful good wishes, that your lives may glorify the Almighty and give joy to those around you.

Happy Feast to you all, from the Vatican. – August 7, 2013.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Thursday, 8 August 2013 - 5:53 am

    What a timely message for all Malaysians from the Vatican!

  2. #2 by Loh on Thursday, 8 August 2013 - 10:49 am

    ///What we are called to respect in each person is, first of all, his life, his physical integrity, his dignity and the rights deriving from that dignity, his reputation, his property, his ethnic and cultural identity, his ideas and his political choices.///–Pope Francis

    Mamakthir should learn this paragraph by heart. When Chinese chose to reject BN, it was not Chinese dilemma. It was just Chinese political choices. Mamakthir does not respect Chinese, and for that matter he does not respect Abdullah Badawi who is as Malay as Mamakthir, or as non-Malay as he is.

    Mamakthir does not respect Chinese because he chose to divide and discriminate against Chinese for wanting to keep practicing Chinese culture and clinging on to Chinese ethnicity. Mamakthir claimed that he chose to forgo his ethnicity, and so he was accepted as Bumiputras. This shows that Mamakthir has no respect for his root, the Malayalee, or his ancestor beginning from his father.

  3. #3 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Thursday, 8 August 2013 - 12:40 pm

    I like Pope Francis’ Message of love and friendship.

    I think Pope Francis would have titled his message (if only he had known), “Love Letter to UMNO” or “Love Letter to Perkasa”.

    Would the Great See of Perkasa, Dr Mahathir ever get down on his knees to write such a pontifical letter. Will he ever be a Pope Francis and wash the beggars’ feet in Chow Kit road?

    I hope Mahathir can do a Francis before he returns to his Maker.

    • #4 by cemerlang on Friday, 9 August 2013 - 6:30 pm

      Unless Malaysia takes over and become the super power of the world.

  4. #5 by silat88 on Thursday, 8 August 2013 - 4:21 pm

    no way, he “walks on water”, a legend in his own mind. the quicker he leaves earth the better.
    when will he be brought to court for giving blue ic’s to illegals to out-vote Sabahans who are true bumis ?

  5. #6 by rjbeee on Thursday, 8 August 2013 - 10:56 pm

    The end is near for mamak

  6. #7 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 8 August 2013 - 11:51 pm

    Many things said are missing or very much needed in this country. And we are not doing anything to get them.

  7. #8 by Noble House on Friday, 9 August 2013 - 2:43 am

    Things that will destroy man: Politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; worship without sacrifice. ~ Mohandas Gandhi.

    Salam Aidilfitri to our Muslim friends. Maaf Zahir Batin.

  8. #9 by Billy on Friday, 9 August 2013 - 6:10 am

    It is really sad that Muslims in this country are forbidden to wish Christians in return during the Christmas season. Now the religious heads say it is ‘haram’.

  9. #10 by shakirinalikram on Friday, 9 August 2013 - 9:42 am

    His Eminence Pope Francis will be a variant of past Pontiffs coming as he did from far flung America. While his personal penning of the Syawal message is a clear declaration of goodwill, understanding and respect – its his flock, worldwide who has embarked on a silent Crusade, thus making inter-faiths co – existence insurmountable and very suspect.

    I would venture further that the simple and humble man that he truly is has the whole of the Christian world to revamp because Catholicism, the only one faith that is still clinging to the near original form and substance is on the wane. There werealready many fraction post Renaissance but by 2013 Scientology, too has following.

    He has a monumental task before him and reaching out to Muslims does not make his position any easier, especially with Political and Economic reasons being the main considerations of Christian leaders co-operation with Muslim nations and its secular or fundamental leaders.

    For example, France, is not helping his quest by continually disregarding our Surah4: Verse16 of the Quran, for the mandatory need for Muslim women to wear headdress. The Quran is Sacred to us as the Bible to all Christians. If they have lost their religion DO not use their phobia of Al-Qaeda to sacrilege the Muslims’ Quran!

    Closer to home, the PAP Government of Singapore and LKY LCT and LSL his son animosity are common knowledge. Malaysians Muslims have resented for years his and the PAP’s inferences on how Islam should be practised. The headdress has been LKY’s favourite target. Loudspeakers of azans have been directed inwards (from sources visiting Singapore mosques) with the reason that the loud amplification have been complained as disturbance.

    LKY recent book has been more than baffling. Why did he focused on Malaysia? Was it regret for a lost opportunity to have his hands on Malaysia, which Singapore left in 1963? He already got Singapore FOC courtesy of a bungling Johore royalty. Even the last vestiges of that royal foothold in the middle of that city state has been removed. There have been many actions taken to belittle and if possible to 100% Singapore to totally non-Malay entity so much so it drove Malays in Malaysia to Sino-phobia as shown in GE13!

    So, thank you Mr LKY you have again shown us Muslims (and Malaysian) Malays your true colours. I pray hard Malays will buy your book and understand your true intent for coming out with it. You have just serve racism on a platter and send Malays back into their defence mode!

    Now, Pakatan will have to work minutes and hours to dispel and drum into Malaysians the LKY has always been a racist and a bigot! He has cobwebs in his brain about Islam.

  10. #11 by good coolie on Saturday, 10 August 2013 - 3:20 pm

    On the day of my retirement from government service, my section head said that he and the rest of the section will always pray for me. I still feel the great warmth that that prayer gives me, especially as the section head was a Muslim man (I was given to understand by some other Muslims that Muslims cannot pray for non-Muslims).

    If any Muslim brother or sister can enlighten me on this issue, please write. And Selamat Hari Raya to all our Malaysian family, especially to our Muslim family.

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