Pope Benedict XVI: 'Dialogue between Christians and Muslims is a necessity'

From his meeting on 20 Augustwith representatives from leading German Muslim organisations in Cologne, Germany
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Terrorism of any kind is perverse and cruel. It shows contempt for life and undermines the foundations of civil society. Those who instigate these attacks evidently wish to poison our relations, making use of all means, including religion, to oppose our attempts to build a fair and peaceful life together.

If we can all succeed in eliminating rancour from our hearts, in resisting intolerance and in opposing every manifestation of violence, we will turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many and hinders progress toward world peace. You guide and train Muslim believers in the Islamic faith. You, therefore, have a great responsibility for the formation of the younger generation.

In particular, the message that every human life is sacred must be heeded and communicated. Should it ever cease to find an echo in people's hearts, the world would be exposed to the darkness of a new barbarism.

How many pages of history record wars that have been waged, with both sides invoking the name of God, as if fighting and killing could be pleasing to Him? The recollection of these sad events should fill us with shame, for we know only too well the atrocities that have been committed in the name of religion. Today, interreligious dialogue between Christians and Muslims is a vital necessity, on which our future depends in large measure.

I am profoundly convinced that we need to reaffirm the values of mutual respect, solidarity and peace. There is no room for apathy and disengagement, and even less for sectarianism. We must not yield to fear or pessimism. Rather, we must cultivate hope. As Christians and Muslims, we must face together the many challenges of our time.