Vatican urges dialogue with Islam

Pope Francis Leads Confraternitis Mass - 5 May 2013Dialogue is needed with Islam “now more than ever”, the Vatican said , stressing that most Muslims abhor violent acts perpetrated in the name of religion.

“Recent events have caused many to ask if there is still room for dialogue with Muslims,” the Vatican’s interfaith dialogue body said in a statement.

“The answer is yes – now more than ever,” added the statement.

Recently, a purported Islamic State (IS) video showed 30 Egyptian Christians being beheaded and shot in the head on a beach in Libya.

“Sadly, today, the world ‘religion’ is often associated with the word ‘violence’,” the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue stated.

“Killing in the name of a religion is not only offending god but is also a defeat for humanity,” it added.

The massacre of the Egyptian Christians was condemned by Pope Francis on Monday, who said he learnt of their deaths “with great distress and sadness”.

IS militants beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya in February and gunmen from the Somali militant group Al-Shebab allegedly singled out Christians in an attack in early April that killed 147 people at a university in Kenya.

Pope Francis has issued several statements condemning the targeted massacres of Christians.