Mediterranean: Riccardi, 'Italy must increase presence'

'Islamic world is complex, can't be simplified'

05 March, 14:38

(ANSAmed) - ROMA, 5 MARCH - "Italy's presence in the Mediterranean is multi-faceted and includes the State, the Catholic world, businesses and culture. We need to relaunch this presence because the Mediterranean is in movement and now contains lots of individuals, not just a bunch of dictators", said Andrea Riccardi, minister for International Cooperation and Integration.

Riccardi was speaking at a convention entitled "Religion and Democracy in the Arab World and Europe", organized in Rome by the Community of Sant'Egidio.

Opening the conference, in which various religious figures and Islamic parties from North Africa and the Middle East are participating, Riccardi highlighted the importance of avoiding any type of simplifications in the interpretation of a "complex and diverse world, despite homogenizing impulses", such as those from the Arab world. Such simplifications, explained the minister, cause "estrangement" between Islam and the west, "which is impossible in the globalized world." Riccardi suggests that the approach to the post-Arab spring world needs to start from one point: "there's no turning back".

"The hope is that the Mediterranean can reach a moment of prosperity and calm in a new framework and that its complexity can find expression in democracy", he said.