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Mohammad Sammak: "Pope Francis offered himself as a spiritual leader for all humanity when he said that there is no criminal religion"

September 19 2016

Assisi 2016#Thirst4peacePeace Meeting Assisi 2016

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“Pope Francis has offered himself as a spiritual leader for all humanity when he said that there is no criminal religion, but that there are criminals in all religions”.  This is what Mohammad Sammak, political adviser to the Grand Mufti of Lebanon, said during the inauguration of the International Meeting Peoples and Religions, which opened today in Assisi.

Sammak also described the ISIS as a "vengeful group, desperate and extremist who have hijacked Islam and   only use vindictive purposes, while for Islam - referring to the destruction of churches and monasteries in Syria and Iraq - for example, nobody is allowed to use the stones of a Church to build his house. "

He also recalled his father Dall'Oglio as one who "devoted his life to serving Muslims and Christians in Syria" and also the bishop of Aleppo kidnapped three years ago, Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, whom he has known in the prayer meetings for peace organized by Sant'Egidio in years past. He also quoted the priest killed in July in the church in Rouen saying: "Fr. Jacques Hamel is a victim not only for your Church, but also for our religion. "

Finally, with an implicit reference to his Lebanon, he said that «relationship between people of different religions can not be based on the elimination of the other - as the ISIS would like - or even tolerance. They must be based on faith in pluralism and diversity, and respect for ideological and intellectual foundations that underpin the diversity.» «Citizenship - concluded - can not be based on tolerance, but on rights.».