The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Renato Martino, said this week both political and religious fundamentalism can be avoided only through dialogue and religious freedom.
“Only dialogue and religious freedom can prevent fundamentalism, both secular political and religious. All religions are peaceful and are the way to establishing coexistence and collaboration in issues such as social ones,” said the cardinal according to a report in Europa Press.
The cardinal said he was in favor of allowing public schools to offer an hour-long teaching on the Koran to Muslim students, as long as there was a need. “If there is a need, if there are a hundred Muslim children in a school, I don’t see what their religion cannot be taught. This is respect for human beings,” he said, noting that if we expect reciprocity from countries with Christian minorities, “then we will have to put ourselves in the same situation of those who deny us this possibility.”
“Italy and Europe have developed to such a point in democracy and respect that now there is no turning back. Thus if there are persons of other religious, their religious and cultural identity must be respected,” he said.
The Muslim community in Italy recently requested the Italian government allow “one hour of Islamic religion” in public schools attended by Muslim children, and that “text books containing false notions about Islam and Muslims be corrected.”