Christians should embrace Muslim migrants with affection and respect, in the same way they expect to be received and respected in Islamic countries, Archbishop Charles Scicluna said during a homily that he delivered yesterday.

Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence, Archbishop Charles Scicluna said during a Victory Day commemoration. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli[/attach]

He was celebrating Pontifical Mass to mark Victory Day at the Mellieħa parish church.

This year’s commemoration, the archbishop said, should serve as a reflection on current pertinent issues, mainly those of migration and the growing threat by Islamic extremists.

“Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence,” he said.

“Where faith and reason are concerned, there is no place for violence, for force, for aggression.”

While noting the importance of celebrating victory over those who came to enslave the Maltese during the Great Siege in 1565, the Archbishop said the celebrations should not serve “to renew a belligerent spirit or to humiliate those who came, saw and returned home empty-handed”. Mgr Scicluna also underlined the importance of people of different and diverse cultures living together in harmony.

“The true Christian strives for peace among nations, and also defends his liberty. Above all, he executes the law of love.”

Where faith and reason are concerned, there is no place for violence, for force, for aggression

Pointing to the Islamic State (also known as Isis), the Archbishop said that it was unfortunate that religion was becoming an instrument and an excuse for a military campaign of war and aggression. “It is a great pity that many human atrocities which are being performed by the Islamic State are being justified by a cruel interpretation of the Koran.

“As Pope Francis rightly teaches us: Our relationship with the followers of Islam has taken on great importance, since they are now significantly present in many traditionally Christian countries, where they can freely worship and become fully a part of society.”

Archbishop Scicluna concluded yesterday’s homily by calling for a spirit of reconciliation and solidarity among nations and religions.

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