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Farah Pandith (F95) Speaks About Pope Francis' Ramadan Greetings to Muslim Community

The Huffington Post

Pope Francis’ Ramadan Greetings For Eid Al-Fitr Sets Interfaith Example

Pope Francis personally reached out to Muslims around the world with Eid al-Fitr greetings for the holiday that concludes the holy month of Ramadan. While the message has been traditional since 1967, usually the greetings are sent by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, except for Pope John Paul II's similarly personal good wishes in 1991.

Pope Francis explained that he wanted to personally write this year's message as a mark of his "esteem and friendship" for all Muslims, citing the example of his namesake Saint Francis, who "loved every human being deeply."…

… His sincere and friendly greetings will hopefully be warmly received by leaders of the Muslim community, many of whom felt uneasy with the last pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, after he quoted an anti-Islamic remark in his 2006 Regensburg lecture and sparked worldwide outrage.

"In issuing a personal, heartfelt and meaningful message to Muslims around the world at the end of Ramadan, we see a genuine effort on behalf of Pope Francis to send a message of good will and compassion. Focusing on youth and 'mutual respect through education,' Pope Francis underscores the critical components of cohesiveness -– that people of all faiths should respect the other and learn about 'the other,'" said Farah Pandith, the U.S. Department of State's Special Representative to Muslim Communities. "His important message of mutual respect will no doubt have a powerful impact on how the next generation of Muslim and Christian youth view and interact with each other."

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