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Eid al Fitr Greetings

Greetings to the worldwide Muslim community from Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC

26 June 2017

Geneva, June 26, 2017

Eid al Fitr Greetings

I am delighted to be able to send to you, the worldwide Muslim community, greetings in the name of God as you prepare to celebrate the Feast of Eid Al Fitr. The importance of the marking of special times through celebration is a feature of many religions: it is certainly something that Christians and Muslims share in common.

It was only a few weeks ago that I was privileged to be in Jerusalem to mark the Christian festival of Pentecost, when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower the disciples of Jesus to share his message of joy and righteousness and peace with all people. With a number of other Christian leaders in Jerusalem we were keeping this sacred season as a time of special prayer for peace in our world, and particularly in the Middle East. Praying to God makes us accountable to one another as God’s creation, created in the image of God. The One God calls us to unity and to justice and peace with one another. The Spirit helps us to pray for the wounded life of our common home, the planet Earth. The Spirit helps us to pray together to overcome fragmentation, polarization, conflict, violence and injustices. The Spirit helps us to pray for life together in unity, in just peace. Within the unity given to us through our common humanity, we can, indeed must, also celebrate the different aspects of our human diversity, respecting the dignity and the rights of the other. I am aware that in the Holy Qur’an there is an important affirmation that God created human beings in different ‘nations and tribes’ and that this diversity is also seen in positive terms.

One of the tasks that the World Council of Churches needs to fulfil is to challenge the spirit of xenophobia that seems to be growing in so many places these days, and which many Muslims unfortunately experience.

As General Secretary of the World Council of Churches I have a special concern at this present time for vulnerable Christian communities in the Middle East, and I have been very grateful to be able to work during the past year with significant Muslim dialogue partners such as the Sheikh Al Azhar to state our joint affirmation of the need for the countries of this region to foster a vision of ‘common citizenship’ to be shared by all. In many nations of Asia there are also tensions – with adherents of the majority religion or culture, whether it be Muslim, or Buddhist or Hindu or Christian, unwilling or unable to offer full civic justice and peace to other groups.

We all know the importance of resourcing our young people, Christian and Muslim, and followers of other religions as well, to become visionaries for peace. During the last year we have had the privilege of welcoming a group of young Shia Muslims to spend several days at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey to learn more about the work of the World Council of Churches, and I am grateful to those whose own vision made this possible. Another exciting development has been the setting up of a course in Cairo, jointly organised by Al Azhar Al Sharif and the World Council of Churches, in which young Muslims and Christians have come together to learn from and about each other. We know that such initiatives are vital examples of the paths we, as Christian and Muslim leaders, need to encourage and celebrate.

I pray that as you celebrate this holy time of Eid Al Fitr that God may be with you and those whom you serve, and that he may indeed ‘guide your feet in the way of peace’.

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

General Secretary

Download : Eid-Greetings-WCC-GS.pdf