The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, today met with the diplomatic representatives of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and of the Muslim community at the evening meal of "Iftar", the traditional date-eating ceremony that marks the end of month-long fast of Ramadan, celebrated by the Imam of the Rome Mosque, Salah Ramadan El-Sayed.
In his greeting, Minister Moavero said: "Italy's position at the centre of the Mediterranean, our closeness to the Islamic world, and our centuries-long commercial and cultural exchanges, have shaped our way of approaching the world, which includes the strong friendship relationship and harmony with the Muslim people." He added: "Now more than ever, in an interconnected world, understanding others and other people's points of view is an essential value. Listening to each other is the seed through which to relaunch interreligious dialogue and cooperation, especially in those areas of the world where peaceful coexistence between people of different creed, ethnic origin and cultural belonging is more difficult. The clash is never between religions or civilisations but between men of peace and hate mongers."
The chief Italian diplomat also addressed a personal thought to the people of Syria, Iraq, Libya and Palestine and of the numerous other countries under the threat of conflict and instability, pointing to the need for wider-reaching support by the international community in the stabilisation of the major regional crises and the construction of a stable order in an "Enlarged Mediterranean". Minister Moavero said: "Combating radicalisation and violent extremism, in addition to a security-oriented approach, also requires direct cooperation between civil societies", and expressed appreciation for the actions of different groups of the Islamic Community present in Italy aimed at supporting interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
The Foreign Minister concluded by recalling that interreligious dialogue and defending the freedom of religion are the central themes of the 2018 Italian Chairmanship of the OSCE and of our Country's foreign policy because "the freedom of religion is an essential principle of human coexistence and of the relations between States in order to create conditions of peace and security," he said. The event, now at its 13th edition, testifies to the close relations established with the whole Muslim world as well as the attention and respect with which Italy looks to Muslim Countries, their regional organizations and the promotion of intercultural and interreligious dialogue with the Muslim world.
The ceremony was held in Villa Madama in Rome at the attendance of numerous dignitaries, including the Secretary General of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Italy, Abdellah Redouane; the Imam of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Italy, Sheikh Salah Ramadan; the Secretary of the Commission for Agreements with Religious Denominations at the Prime Minister's Office, Anna Nardini; the Director of the Office of the Muslim World League in Italy, Abdulaziz Alsarhan; the Vice President of the Islamic Religious Community in Italy, Yahya Pallavicini, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Italy, Khalid Chaouqui.