The following correspondence follows on the death of Fr Jacques Hamel.
FROM THE CENTRAL MOSQUE, GLASGOW
Dear Honourable Archbishop Emeritus Mario Joseph Conti,
We are writing to offer our sincere condolences following the horrific murder of your colleague, FatherJacques Hamel of Rouen. This barbaric attack on the Church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray during morning Mass on 26th July shocked and saddened our congregation.
Father Jacques Hamel served the Catholic Church for over 50 years and had been a positive ray of light in many peoples lives. His loss will be deeply felt by his family, friends and congregation and our thoughts remain with them in these difficult times.
The Covenant of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in the 7th Century to the Christian Monks of Saint Catherine Monastery of Mount Sinai was a pioneering document. It promised freedom of worship, movement as well as security, protection and civic rights.
In a similar spirit, the Muslim Community pledges to work together with the Christian Community in the Abrahamic way of love and mutual understanding to build bridges and overcome the great challenges of our time.
Yaa Rabb Arhamnaa - “My Lord, Have Mercy On Us”
May peace be with you.
Habib ur Rehman Mohammed Ashraf
ARCHBISHOP CONTI'S REPLY
Dear Imam Habib ur Rehman,
Dear President Mohammed Ashraf,
I acknowledge most gratefully what my colleague Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of our Scottish Bishops’ Conference, described as a most kind and thoughtful letter.
I received your letter of 8th August recently in my capacity as Chair of our Conference’s Committee for Interreligious Dialogue, and I am assured that copies of it will be sent to each of the bishop members of the Conference on whose behalf we operate. I am certain that they will be moved, as we were, by the terms of the letter in which you expressed shock and sadness at what you rightly called the “horrific murder of your colleague”, Father Jacques Hamel of Rouen, by those purporting to act in the name of Islam.
What was most deplorable in the attack was that it took place in a church during an act of worship of the God we severally worship and to whom we are ultimately accountable for our deeds, and in whose name we strive to do good. Your letter comforts us above all in the conviction it engenders that we have a common interest and a shared commitment to work together for the respect that our Faiths deserve in our society as agents of reconciliation and of peace.
The aim of our Committee for Interreligious Dialogue is precisely so motivated, and I am glad of the opportunity to assure you of this and to express the gratitude of the Catholic Church to the many we have encountered in our work to date whose words and example have increased our knowledge of and respect for the genuine heart of Islam, of which your letter is further testimony.
I warmly reciprocate your good wishes, with a like prayer for God’s blessing on you and your community,
Yours very sincerely,
Archbishop emeritus of Glasgow,
Chair of the Bishops’ Conference’s
Committee for Interreligious Dialogue.