Italy's Islamic Center, Islam is not terror but religion of peace

Boldrini at Rome grand mosque, no to violence in God's name

17 October, 20:03

    The inside of the Grand mosque in Rome The inside of the Grand mosque in Rome

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, - ''No to violence in the name of Islam'', ''no to terrorism, Islam is a religion of peace'', are among the determined appeals made Friday by the Italian Islamic Cultural Center of the grand mosque in Rome and by Italian institutions represented by Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini. The Muslim community in the Italian capital and authorities together gathered to say no to the violence of extremists from the Islamic State (ISIS) and make the right distinctions between ''terror and the Muslim religion''.

    ISIS, Boldrini said, ''is not only a threat to the West and the entire world, it is most of all a threat for the Muslim world''. Those who are damaged are ''Muslim civilians, targeted in their souls by those using Islam to exercise power''. ''They are discredited, making the lives of millions of people difficult'', said the House speaker.

    Boldrini spoke determined words when addressing participants including several ambassadors of Muslim countries to Italy, a few MPs - from Khalid Chaouki to Senator Luigi Manconi, and former Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno - and several members of the Muslim community in Rome gathered at the center, the only Muslim entity legally recognized in Italy on the day of Friday prayers.

    Many outside the mosque in Rome's upscale Parioli district condemned ISIS's violence and demanded the media and the Italian public opinion to make the distinction between terrorists and Muslims.

    And the center's leaders harshly condemned terrorism. ''It is our duty to have a clear and non-negotiable position against anyone favoring these threats, anyone fostering conflict or aiding terror'', said secretary general, Abdellah Redouane. The phenomenon of ''foreign fighters is alarming'', he admitted. ''There are thousands of people who left Europe to go fight in Syria. But 20 million Muslims have instead remained home with their families in Europe, which is their home and which they want to protect with all those who live here. We have to be the ones to preserve it''.

    There will never be ''room for those who sow hatred'', Redouane concluded. ''Our religion does not recognize itself in this violence. We must take a stance but we must be the first to be aware and have the intellectual honesty to recognize the genetic mutation that has occurred in some minorities''.

    This concept was also stressed in a message by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. ''A religious community that sees a not indifferent number of followers from different ethnic groups and various countries commit in its name inhuman, criminal and odious acts, cannot fail to reflect on the reasons why its members strayed''. (ANSAmed)

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