Ai´d al Fitr 1428
The celebrations in Egypt starts today, some countries got an early start on friday. In Iraq, the ultimate symbolic gesture of reconciliation, the Sunnis and Shiítes celebrating together, was not forthcoming this year either. Sunnis started celebrations at sunset Thursday and their fellow countrymen of the shiíte denomination had to wait an additional 24 hours.
In New York the Empire State Building will go green during aid al Fitr! Thanks to moi for bringing that to my attention!
I´ve been following the last month demonstrations in Burma closely, and was very happy when i found this story in Arabic of Aid celebrations in Burma this year(audio).
A Common Word - a call for dialogue
On the fringes of the Aid al Fitr celebrations an open letter was sent to Christian religious leaders of all denominations, from Muslim religious leaders and scholars of prominence, calling for a Common Word between the Muslim and Christian faiths, among the recipients of the letter was Pope Benedict, the Archbishop of Canterbury and of course Pope Shenouda III and Theodoros II in Egypt.
The letter was a call for greater and common understanding and dialog between the two great religions, to focus on the things that they share , rather than the conflicting views. To use the common ground as a way of promoting peace, pointing to the fact that together the two religions make up more than half of the world´s population.
The most interesting part of this letter is the wide spectrum of the Muslim leaders signing the document, all in all , 138 signatories, from practically all denominations within Islam and a truly global representation to match that.
Among the international Muslim leaders signing are people like the former deputy PM in Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, the Pakistani scholar Akhbar Ahmed, several Grand Muftis , among them from Syria, Lebanon, Russia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Grand Mufti of Istanbul and the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Among others Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, the famous scholar Dr Seyyid Hossein Nasr , the General Secretary of the OIC(Organization of Islamic Countries, Ekmeleddin Insanouglu, Sayyed Jawad al Khoi , Ahmad Kubaisi , the former Prime Minister of Sudan Sadiq al Mahdi.
Among Egyptians signing is Mufti Ali Gouma,Abla Muhammed Kahlawi, Selim al Auwa , Hassan Hanafi and Amr Khaled.
This initiative was a follow up on an open letter from 38 Muslim leaders last September(PDF) in response to Pope Benedict XVI speech in Regensburg.
Hopefully this is one way to foster greater understanding,consensus and trust - and this only one of many similar projects of dialogue. Our own Sheikh Muhammed Sayyid al Tantawi(Sheikh al Azhar) has been trying to help bridging the gap in the last year by opening up for dialogue directly with the Vatican, and President Mubarak met the Pontiff in Rome as one of the first leaders after Pope Benedict XVI claimed the office.
I would like to extend an Aid Mubarak to all my readers on the occasion of Aid al Fitr, or as they say in Indonesia, Hari Raya Idul Fitri!
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The photo is from the BBC, here are some more photos.