ASIA/PAKISTAN - “May the 'feast of sacrifice' be source of reconciliation and brotherhood on the occasion of the annual Muslim feast of Eid-ul-Azha Catholic Bishops of Pakistan send good wishes message to Isalmic leaders and communities in the country

Thursday, 20 January 2005

Lahore (Fides Service ) - Through its Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan sent a message of good wishes to Muslim individuals and communities in Pakistan for the annual feast of the sacrifice Eid-ul-Azha. The message was signed by the president of the Commission, Archbishop Andrew Francis of Multan who said the message intended to intensify ‘understanding and harmony’ between the Christian and Muslim communities in Pakistan.
The celebration of Eid-ul-Azha (o Bakr-Id), the ‘feast of the sacrifice’ or ‘of the lamb’ comes at the end of the annual pilgrimage to the Mecca. This major feast commemorates Abraham, the common father of Jews, Christians and Muslims, and the sacrifice of his son (Ismaele for Muslim Isaac for Christians) demanded by God but then miraculously saved by His same hand. On this feast day in memory of the sacrifice Muslim families cook lamb and some of the meat is given to the poor.
In the message Archbishop Francis said he hopes the figure of Abraham would bring together the “Believers of the Religions of the Book”. “May this important Muslim feast be a source of brotherhood, reconciliation, harmony and understanding for all humanity”.
Pakistan has a population of 155 million 97% Sunni Muslim, 20% Shiite, 2.5% Christianity, including 1.2 million Catholics.
(PA) (Fides Service 20/1/2004 righe 26 parole 248)