If religious leaders teach their adherents about other religions in an "objective way," they can have "a decisive impact" on the peaceful coexistence of religions, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran wrote to the world's Muslims on Friday as Ramadan came to a close.
In a note sent to Muslims to mark the end Ramadan, which falls on or around Sept. 10 this year, the president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Religious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, expressed his hope for efforts to overcome violence among followers of different religions.
Speaking to all Muslims, Cardinal Tauran and the secretary of the dicastery, Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, greeted the upcoming conclusion of the month-long Muslim time of fasting as "a favorable occasion" to convey to Muslims with their "heartfelt wishes of serenity and joy."
Cardinal Tauran wrote that he was "delighted" with the results of "various friendly meetings" that have taken place recently and have brought believers from different religions, especially Christians, spiritually closer to Muslims.
Noting this year's theme for Christian and Muslim dialogue as that of cooperating to overcome inter-religious violence, the council president pointed to several causes of this phenomenon that have come to light during discussions so far this year.
The cardinal and archbishop also detailed many of the reasons for violence among believers of different religions, including: "the manipulation of the religion for political or other ends; discrimination based on ethnicity or religious identity; divisions and social tensions." They also cited ignorance, poverty, underdevelopment as "direct or indirect sources of violence among as well as within religious communities."
Cardinal Tauran consequently called upon civil and religious authorities make efforts to remedy the situations that fuel inter-religious violence. He particularly focused on the government's duty to uphold the law and ensure true justice, thus putting "a stop to the authors and promoters of violence!"
"Important recommendations" in this context, said Cardinal Tauran, are the needs to open hearts to mutual forgiveness and reconciliation as well as recognizing common ground and respecting differences for peaceful coexistence." Additionally, he underscored, there is a need for recognition and respect for the dignity and rights of every man, just laws which guarantee fundamental equality and proper education in social and religious arenas to improve relations.
In these ways, he highlighted, "we will be able to oppose violence among followers of different religions and promote peace and harmony among the various religious communities."
Concluding his recommendations, Cardinal Tauran wrote, "Teaching by religious leaders, as well as school books which present religions in an objective way, have, along with teaching in general, a decisive impact on the education and the formation of younger generations."