2020 Eid Greeting
It is a great privilege, on behalf of the World Council of Churches, to greet our many Muslim friends and colleagues, and indeed all Muslims around the world, at this time when you celebrate Eid al-Fitr.
I am aware that for Muslims, just as for Christians and other communities, the restrictions made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it impossible to live out the normal pattern of our religious practices, and that during the month of Ramadan this will have been very difficult for you.
It has often been noted recently that religious differences are totally ignored by the COVID-19 virus. While we should do all we can to minimize the suffering brought about by the virus, and to protect the lives of those who are most vulnerable, we also pray that God will bring good out of all the trials that so many have endured. Especially, we hope that on the far side of this traumatic experience we will all live with a greater awareness of our shared humanity. Belief in the dignity of every human person, regardless of race or religion, strongly discourages the scapegoating of other communities that can be all too common during crises such as this.
As Acting General Secretary of the WCC, following the recent departure of the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit to become the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Norway, I assure you of the ongoing commitment of the WCC – and of myself personally – to our work in the vital field of dialogue and cooperation between Muslims and Christians. At a time when in the wider human family there is too much evidence of the failure to handle well the differences between us – including religious differences – the importance of this work is as pressing as ever.
I have been glad to have contact with Muslim friends during these difficult recent weeks. Among many other nations that have suffered acutely in the context of the pandemic, our hearts have gone out to the people of Iran because of the particular difficulties they have faced due to the sanctions imposed upon them. The WCC, along with other Christian organisations, recently called on the President of the USA to lift the sanctions impeding public health responses in a number of countries, including Iran. https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/global-religious-leaders-urge-us-to-lift-crippling-sanctions-against-iran-in-face-of-covid-19
We at the WCC look forward to the day when the current necessary restrictions on our work are lifted and we can resume planning towards the many activities in which we value working with partners from Muslim and many other communities. Together, let us continue to seek the justice and the peace that are pleasing to God and a blessing to all people.
With best wishes,
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca
Acting General Secretary