Italian officials, Catholic figures join Eid Al-Adha celebrations

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Representatives of municipal authorities and of the Catholic Church attended on Wednesday morning celebrations organized in several Italian cities for Eid Al-Adha.

To mark the occasion, Avvenire, the daily newspaper owned by the Italian Catholic Episcopal Conference, published on Wednesday a message for Eid Al-Adha by Jordan’s Prince Hassan bin Talal, chairman of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies.

“This represents another clear sign of the increasing dialogue between Catholics and Muslims, which represents one of the priorities for Pope Francis,” Father Giuseppe Ciutti, a Catholic priest who worked in Iraq for several years, told Arab News.

“The pope believes that we’re all called to work together to build a better society, and religion must boost engagement to promote the common good.”

Ciutti said Catholics “cannot agree more” with Prince Hassan’s call “to nurture the spirit of unity among believers so that they can represent a moderate community, a grace for the entire world.”

More than 2.5 million Muslims live in Italy. The biggest squares and parks in the main Italian cities hosted prayers for Eid Al-Adha on Wednesday morning.

A large gathering took place in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele in Rome, a big park in the center of the city, where thousands of Muslims congregated.

Several priests from the nearby Catholic basilicas and churches, as well as a mayoral delegate, attended the event.

In Bari, the central piazza Massari was covered since dawn with hundreds of prayer mats. Prayer went on for one hour, and it was attended by Francesca Bottalico, city commissioner.

A similar scene took place in Palermo, the capital of Sicily, where Archbishop Corrado Lorefice joined the prayer led by the city’s Imam Badri El-Madani.

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