Imams say meeting the pope is "one of the most powerful messages for Muslim world"

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05/04/2017
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With a ever-complex Muslim situation in the UK in the wake of Brexit and the recent terrorist attacks, four Muslim Imams have accompanied UK Card. Nichols to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis. 

SHAYKH IBRAHIM MOGRA
Co-Chair Christian Muslim Forum
'I think it's going to be one of the most powerful messages that will go out to the Muslim world that the Christian communities of the world are our friends. Here they are welcoming us into the holiest of places to meet the greatest leader that they have within their tradition, and being hospitable, and showing true Christian hospitality and good neighborliness. And I think the Muslim world ought to reciprocate that.'

MOULANA MUHAMMAD SHAHID RAZA
Chairman, British Muslim Forum
'We will be thanking him [Pope Francis] for his great support that has always been received by the Muslim community, along with all other communities, having faith or having no faith.'  

The acceptance of others by Pope Francis is also practiced by Card. Nichols. He said there is a pathway to be walked toward tolerance of religions in the UK and right now, Catholics want to share their story with the Muslim world.  

Cardinal Nichols explained that in the UK, Catholicism was originally a banned faith, then persecuted against, reluctantly given space, and now finally is an accepted faith and a major contributor to society.  

CARD. VINCENT NICHOLS
Archbishop of Westminster
'I think at this time that Christian-Muslim dialogue is particularly important and in a strange way, Catholic-Muslim dialogue in Britain is very important, because the history of the Catholic community in Britain is one of being a minority and of having lived with 400 years of anti-Catholic prejudice.'  

The goal of the visit is to engage in inter-religious dialogue with the Muslim community, allowing both religions to not only speak, but be heard by the neighboring party, both on the part of the Imams, and Pope Francis and Card. Nichols.  

MOULANA MUHAMMAD SHAHID RAZA
Chairman, British Muslim Forum
'Similarly, the cardinal who is with us, his hospitality and generosity and his wisdom has made it possible that [tomorrow] the Muslim community of the United Kingdom is going to make history.'

History has been made at the Vatican and there are many more opportunities for this to continue as the pope has trips to Egypt and Bangladesh planned this year, to carry on this dialogue with the Muslim community at large.   

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