Paramatta (Fides Service) - The Kahlil Gibran Award 2006 promoted by the Arabic Heritage League in Australia, was assigned to Bishop Kevin Manning, Catholic Bishop of the diocese of Paramatta where there is a large Muslim community. The prestigious prize is awarded for outstanding activity in the field of intercultural and inter-religious relations. The Arabic Heritage League is a foundation belonging in toto to the Arab-Muslim community on the Nuovissimo Continent: it is important to understand the viewpoint of the Muslim community and to realise which actions, persons, events Muslim see as useful for building dialogue and harmony between cultures and religions.
League chairman Kamel El-Murr said that since it was founded in 1981, the League has worked to promote respect for the rights of immigrants, full integration in society with respect for civil and religious rights and fundamental prerogatives.
Bishop Manning expressed his personal gratitude for the award and that of the Catholic community confirming his commitment to work for social harmony and a world of justice and brotherhood.
Recently the Bishop called on all Australian citizens to find out more about the Arab-Muslim world and Islam in order to be understanding and tolerant towards a culture different from one’s own and recognise it as a source of reciprocal enrichment.
He said the League showed that Christians and Muslims can work together and that they are called to build good relations between their respective communities. Its important task of cultural mediation fosters reciprocal understanding of the elements of the two religions. “We Christians and Muslims have a great responsibility to work together to ensure that extremists do not destroy the agenda for peace by fomenting conflict and division”. (Agenzia Fides 9/5/2006 righe 27 parole 274)