Agenzia Fides REPORT - “The Church, since she was born, also and especially in the person of Jesus Christ, lives in the shadow of the Cross. But this is the strength of Christians, from the persecutions of the early martyrs to the time of the Roman Empire”, Bishop Joannes Zakaria of the Catholic Copts in Luxor revealed to Fides, in an initial comment about the Message by Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of World Day for Peace 2011 (which is celebrated on 1 January). “That said, we cannot remain silent on religious freedom violations taking place in different parts of the world. I think not only to some Arab and Muslim countries, but also what happens in the Hindu world and even in Europe, where extreme forms of secularism undermine the Christian message. The Holy Father has noted this problem well in his Message for Peace,” Bishop Zakaria went on.
He added that “to live in peace and harmony among people of different faiths we must overcome our fear and mutual distrust and be open to dialogue. I will make a personal example. Some years ago I noticed a neighbour manifest his distrust of me. I did not lose heart and started to visit him on the occasion of Muslim holidays. Gradually the suspicion disappeared and a relationship of deep friendship was born. He then told me that his distrust toward me stemmed from the fear that I wanted to convert him to Christianity. I told him that what I ask is simply to be a good Muslim and to respect my faith.”
“I think finally that many problems, including interreligious relations, derive from the political world which, instead of promoting dialogue between peoples, cultures and faiths, instead promotes the interests of a small number of large financial groups, which tend to reduce man to a mere tool and a simple consumer. We all need to regain our full humanity, also for the good of creation that is threatened by the exploitation of natural resources, which not only pollutes but is also inhuman,” concluded the Bishop of Luxor.