Muslims explain significance of papal trips to Egypt and Bangladesh
Pope Francis will travel to Egypt in April and also has the promise of a trip to Bangladesh, which has not yet officially been confirmed for later on this year. His mission for this trips has been communicated by the pope himself as one of peace, dialogue and listening.
We sat down with Muslim Imams to see exactly what their expectations are for these future outreaches of inter-religious dialogue.
SHAYKH IBRAHIM MOGRA
Co-Chair, Christian Muslim Forum UK
"It's a great honor for those Muslim populations to be able to welcome a great Christian leader. A leader of more than a billion people from all over the world to come and visit them and to learn about them and to share his thoughts and his hopes and his aspirations for a better and peaceful world. Both these countries, Egypt and Bangladesh are home to millions and millions of Muslims. Those Muslims need to see and to hear the message of Christian leaders.”
While the pope has expressed this desire for peace on numerous occasions with leaders from other religions, these Imams express their hopes for the visits. Imam Raza says he believes the message that will be transmitted is one of trust and confidence, extending to all religious communities.
MOULANA MUHAMMAD SHAHID RAZA
Chairman, British Muslim Forum
"For example, in Egypt and Bangladesh, although it is largely a Muslim country, but there are Christians also living as minorities in Egypt and Bangladesh. Whenever the leader of the minority community, in respect of these Muslim communities, arrives in that country to visit, they are most welcome. And their visit is largely so cheerful and respectful that I hope it will create a confidence and trust between religious communities all over the world.”
The Imams expressed their delight in the papal visits and believe, among other things, it will strengthen the relations between both religions. When both the Catholic and the Muslim world are open and can speak freely with one another, one can only hope peace in one way or another will soon follow.