Rome (NEV), November 2, 2018 – “No mosque is illegal”. This was the motto of the XVII Ecumenical Day of Christian-Islamic dialogue celebrated throughout Italy on 27 October, 2018.
“Our society – reads the appeal 2018 – is affected by a fierce Islamophobia. It is a racism on religious basis […] We want to reaffirm that no mosque is illegal” – say the promoters remembering that religious freedom can not be “subordinated to urban planning regulations”, as established by recent regional laws significantly called “anti mosques”, and that in reality affect all religions indiscriminately -, and can not be “subject to referendum”.
Also Protestant churches adhered to the Day, promoting initiatives throughout Italy. A Day that is “an opportunity to continue and consolidate mutual knowledge, reflection and common commitment on various issues that question consciences as citizens and as believers”, explained Pawel Gajewski, Waldensian pastor in Terni and Perugia and coordinator of the Dialogue Commission of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI).
The Day was born from the initiative of a group of intellectuals, religious people and university professors who in 2001, following the tragedy of the Twin Towers, decided to launch an appeal for the dialogue with Islam. They intended to avoid “a worrying alarm”, namely that what happened could “question or slow down the dialogue with the Muslim brothers, fellow travelers on the path of building a pluralistic, welcoming society, respectful of human rights and democratic values”.
That invitation gave birth to the first national day of Christian-Islamic dialogue in the wake of two documents, the “Nostra Aetate” and the “Charta Oecumenica”, the last one signed only a few months earlier in Strasbourg by European Christians. A Day that came this year to its seventeenth edition and which is celebrated on October 27 following “the spirit of Assisi”: the first and great world meeting of the Religions for peace, wanted by Pope John Paul II in 1986.