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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06VATICAN211 2006-10-03 13:43:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vatican
Cable title:  

ROME'S INTER-FAITH MEETING

Tags:   SOCI KISL PGOV PHUM VT IT 
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DE RUEHROV #0211/01 2761343
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031343Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0509
INFO RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0057
RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 0537
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VATICAN 000211 

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI KISL PGOV PHUM VT IT
SUBJECT: ROME'S INTER-FAITH MEETING


VATICAN 00000211 001.4 OF 002




1. Summary: Rome's mayor Walter Veltroni hosted an inter-faith
meeting on
September 19 attended by Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the
Pontifical
Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Sami Salem, Imam of Rome's
Grand Mosque;
Abdallah Redouane, Secretary-General of Rome's Islamic Cultural
Centre;
Riccardo Di Segni, Rome's Chief Rabbi; Leone Paserman, President
of Rome's
Jewish community; and Andrea Riccardi, co-founder of the
Community of
Sant'Egidio. The meeting, which was originally planned to
launch an
interfaith magazine' did much to address recent tensions between
the
Christian and Muslim worlds. End Summary.



2. Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council
for
Interreligious Dialogue, was the most anticipated speaker of the
event.
He began his address by acknowledging that is was a "difficult,
very
difficult moment," referring to the days following Pope
Benedict's
September 12 lecture in Germany which offended Muslims.
Cardinal Poupard
said that the Pope's recent 'clarification' on Sunday, September
17 was
"sincere." He emphasized that the Pope has great respect for
Islam and is
firmly "engaged in dialogue with Islam." He explained that that
dialogue
is taking place in Rome, but also at the local church level in
all countries.
He concluded with, "It is difficult, but a dialogue of truth on
the
different traditions and religions is necessary. The Pope says
it is
necessary~to move forward with truth, and with great respect and
self-critical dialogue."



3. Sitting on the other side of the podium from Cardinal Poupard
was Sami
Salem, Imam of Rome's Grand Mosque, and a recent arrival from
Cairo.
He opened his remarks with a greeting in Arabic and moved
quickly to
underline that he was sending a message of reconciliation to the
world by
his presence at the meeting. "We are always ready for dialogue,
for
living together, and in the current moment, we have a great
occasion to do
this," he said. He explained that dialogue can not be simply a
word, "but
it should be a pact." He concluded by saying, "In this very,
very
difficult moment, it is necessary to develop dialogue, to come
to know each
other. ~We have to work to explain points of view of other
religions." In
light of Christian-Muslim relations, he recently offered to the
media an
unkind comparison of Benedict XVI to Pope John Paul II.



4. The speaker receiving the most robust applause from the
packed hall was
Secretary-General of Rome's Islamic Cultural Centre, Abdallah

SIPDIS
Redouane. He
stated that the Koran calls for the three monotheistic faiths to
dialogue,
underlining that there is always a need for more professional
dialogue and
leaders. He said this approach is not a privilege, but a
responsibility.
"There needs to be participation in logic and willingness,
between
individuals and society. There is great tension today and the
results have
been monstrous." He went on to say that the Pope's words at the
Sunday,
September 17 Angelus had been "sincere" and he had
"satisfaction." He said
"Cardinal Poupard is here as a strong symbol from the Vatican
for a future
with confidence, a future with dialogue~dialogue on jihad,
serene and with

VATICAN 00000211 002.4 OF 002


mutual respect." He finished with saying, "there aren't
options; we die or
we dialogue."



5. The meeting ended with a symbolic gesture as the participants
left the
dais for a lingering group handshake, much appreciated by the
throng of
media present, and seemingly the brainchild of media savvy Mayor
Veltroni.



ROONEY
SANDROLINI