New Humanity Movement

Ethnicities and Cultures

Moschea

A meeting with the Secretary General of the Italian Islamic Cultural Center, Dr. Abdellah Redouane, a really special Roman citizen. He tells us about his relationship with the Eternal City, the life of the islamic community, which in particular works in Rome, so that integration can really become an opportunity of growth for the whole city. A look at Project City.

 

 

Interview by Paolo Balduzzi- Rome

Anyway, Rome is always the capital city of Catholicism...
“I think this is a positive asset. We have talked a lot with Rome Municipality about religious practice in the city of Rome, that is justly pictured as the “capital city of Catholicism”. We see this fact every single day, and it is a particular feature, that no other city in the world has. Rome needs to make its own the religious fact, its peculiar religious fact, and then she will become the capital city of dialogue. These are features that Paris or London do not have. It is a specific vocation that the Eternal City has, because of its history, of its geographic position, and she must discover it again and properly enhance. The fact that the Vatican, the Synagogue and the largest Mosque in Europe are here is a very important thing for the three Faiths, if we succeed in taking advantage of everybody's riches, in order to convey unity signs, that enhance each identity”.

What is then diversity?
“In order to understand diversity, we need to understand identity, which is not contained in a single definition. Identity is born out of direct contact with other persons, and also with what our personal story built within us. I am not the same I used to be when I was 18, because all the experiences piled on in me and had a definite effect on my personality. Therefore there are faith, religious, and historical elements that grow up in time and make us perceive our personal identity in a different way. It would be insulting for human intelligence, to think that we are all the same, and that we never change. In the way I see life, with what I said before, I am other than you, but it's you that allows me to change, and get closer to, or further away from you”.

Hence, is diversity a value, in relation with the other person?
“Definitely. You see, I tour a lot of churches in Rome, also from the purely touristical point of view; when I enter a church, I consider it a House of God, because I know that for a Christian it is a House of God; therefore I take a seat and I start praying myself, without disturbing those that sit close to me. Prayer takes the creature closer to the Creator, and in a church I feel peace, exactly because I am different”.

Your words convey a different idea, with respect to the stereotype of the Muslim person, and of the sense of dialogue in a city..
“Muslims not only go to the market; they also go to places where nobody expects to see them, they tour Rome, in order to discover all its beauties, they visit the churches, and all the places everybody visits, because they feel and love their city, as everybody else does. Those are extraordinary moments, that would be very nice to share also with you all”.

fedelemoscheaIs Islam a religion right for a city?
“If you study history, you can surely learn how important the city is, religion actually creates cities. There are studies, that show that the House of God usually is, where people gather, to discuss all the problems of their community. Islam can also be lived in the desert, but flourishes in the cities, and gives a fundamental contribution in linking together all the different components of a community. Mecca and Medina, very important cities for all of us, show exactly this. In Koran the verses composed in Mecca are linked with the rebuttal of paganism, in order to convey the knowledge of God. However the verses composed in Medina talk about family relationships, and among people, through their living together in a city”.

According to your experience, can you say there are seeds of fraternity here in Rome?
“I would definitely agree with this, there are no doubts, the experiences of these years prove it, and Project City needs to give a contribution in this sense, which is essential. I already consider myself part of this project, because we have ever been working with the community along this path, together with the City of Rome, those that live close to our houses, and all those that visit with us, or with whom we visit. The problem is individualism, that hinders people from meeting and understanding one another. We have to revert to this specific dialogue, to a mutual knowledge, in order to take together the measures of the city, and act, each of us indeed giving the contribution that comes from diversity. We all have an important role to play, there is no doubt about it”.

What is fraternity for Abdellah Redouane?
It is the desire to wish for the others, what I wish for myself. Frozen definitions scare me, because they can turn out to be masks, that hide something. But a desire foresees a consequential behaviour, and this is new and different every time,  according to who is in front of you. It is understanding who the other is, what he needs, and then acting consequently”.

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