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Islam in Europe: CCEE Meeting in Albania. Mgr. Massafra (Scutari), “to avoid prejudices the knowledge of the other is fundamental”

Arcivescovo Angelo Massafra

(From Scutari) “To avoid prejudices the knowledge of the other is fundamental”. Mgr. Angelo Massafra, Archbishop of Scutari-Pult, explains the contribution that Albania can give to Europe on the occasion of the 5th Meeting of national delegates for relations with Muslims in Europe that is being held in Scutari from 7 to 9 February. A theological-spiritual reflection on Islam today and the exchange of good practices to foster relations with Muslims in Europe will be at the core of the meeting, entitled “Faith and Spirituality in Relations between Christians and Muslims”. Archbishop Massafra recalled St John Paul II’s Message to the Albanian nation on 25 April 1993, in which he invited us to “learn the art of dialogue and listening, even when this means fatigue” and recalled that dialogue and listening are “the price of freedom, the secret of authentic moral and civil progress”. “On the 25th anniversary of this historic speech in the Skanderbeg Square in Tirana – the Archbishop pointed out -, I would like to say that it is precisely this art of dialogue and listening that the religious communities of Albania can offer to the other religious communities present in Europe”. Today in Albania, a land mangled for a long time by atheistic totalitarianism, “there is a climate of dialogue and acceptance – and in some cases also of collaboration. It is possible to live together only if one respects the other and the laws of the State”, Mgr. Massafra stressed, recalling again the words of John Paul II: “Sincere faith, in fact, does not divide men, but unites them, even in their differentiations. Nothing like faith reminds us that if we have a single Creator, we are also all brothers!”. The meeting will start this afternoon with a speech by Monsignor Akasheh Khaled, Head of the Office for Islam at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, who will inform participants about Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Egypt, which culminated in the meeting with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. On Thursday, 8 February, the Sunni Imam Lauren Luli, Vice-President of the Muslim Community in Albania, and His Grace (Haxhi) Baba Edmond Brahimaj Kryegjyshi, Leader of the Bektashi community, will take the floor in two public sessions. On the morning of Friday, participants will visit the Bektashi Shrine of Croia (Krujë), the spiritual centre of the same confraternity.

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