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Archbishop's 2010 Eid message

Thursday 9th September 2010

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has sent his annual greetings to Muslim communities for the festival of Eid Al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.

The Archbishop's greeting celebrates the many positive examples of Christian Muslim encounter, including collaborative relief work in response to the recent flooding in Pakistan.

The Archbishop also acknowledges recent threats to desecrate Quranic scriptures saying: "These are challenges that we must respond to with a consistent message: that we oppose collectively all such provocations and insist that there is no place in our traditions for violent response."

The full text of the greeting is below:

To Muslim friends and fellow workers on the occasion of 'Id Al-Fitr 2010

I am very glad to join with others in sending to Muslim colleagues and communities in this country and around the world, my warm greetings as 'Id Al-Fitr comes around again this year. The time of Ramadan is for many an occasion for renewal of the spiritual life and for the service of humanity. These times of fasting, prayer and reflection which are at the heart of the religious life, can provide a positive stimulus to generosity in relationships both with our fellow believers and also with people of other religions. I hope that the spiritual fruits of Ramadan will be shared around the world as we continue to face many complex and difficult matters together.

This year Ramadan has brought the people of Pakistan to the forefront of our attention with the heartbreaking images of devastation from the unprecedented floods that have swept the country. Ramadan has provided a stimulus to Muslims to be generous in their response, but it is heartening to see so many agencies and individuals, including strongly Christian as well as Muslim collaborating in the work of relief. I hope that this will continue in the time to come when the need remains but public attention has moved on. I shall shortly be meeting with the Minister for Religious Affairs and will be able to express personally to him my solidarity with the people of Pakistan in relation to the floods.

During the past twelve months I have been able to meet with the President of Pakistan and to encourage a delegation from the Church of England, together with Muslim colleagues, to visit Pakistan and to meet many senior politicians and religious leaders engaged in the work of ensuring a just society in which all are valued equally as fellow citizens.

The year ahead brings a particular opportunity and challenge for the message of Justice and reconciliation to be applied. The negotiations which are beginning for a just settlement between Israel and Palestine will be assailed by many words and deeds aimed not at peace but at a continuation of the misery of the past decades. My prayer is that by the prayer and fasting which is at the heart of our religious practice, a just and peaceful outcome will come.

At the present time our religious communities face many challenges and many provocations. In this country there are those who speak maliciously about religion in general and often against Islam in particular; demonstrations in many of our cities are intended to provoke; and in other parts of the world the threat to desecrate scriptures is deeply deplorable and to be strongly condemned by all people. These are challenges that we must respond to with a consistent message: that we oppose collectively all such provocations and insist that there is no place in our traditions for violent response. In solidarity with each other we will resist all attempts to induce violence by a constant message of peacefulness and reconciliation.

I wish you the joy of celebrating 'Id Al-Fitr.

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