15 June 2018
Rome, 15 June 2018 – On the occasion of ‘Id al-Fitr, the feast marking the end of the month of Ramadan, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) joins our Muslim friends in thanking the Almighty for the blessings brought by this sacred time. The days of fasting and the nights of prayer during Ramadan have traditionally been a time for Muslims to deepen their gratitude for God’s gifts, and to share those gifts with the poor.
In his message for the 51st World Day of Peace in 2018, Pope Francis speaks of refugees and migrants as “men and women in search of peace”. The arrival and presence of refugees can often result, however, in conflict and discord: in many places, instead of encountering peace, they are met with xenophobia, rejection, and discrimination.
Pope Francis reminds us that the social doctrine of the Church invites us to recognize that all of humanity belong to one family, and that the refugees and migrants who seek safety and protection, and the receiving communities that welcome them, “all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth.” Solidarity and sharing are built on this foundation of the earth as our common home.
The most common greeting used by Muslims when they meet anyone is “Assalamu ‘alaykum”, “Peace be upon you.” It is this peace, in action, that JRS continues to witness in countless acts of generosity and sacrifice by individuals and communities who welcome refugees into their home, who share what they have with them, and who refuse to listen to the siren voices of fear and hatred telling them to turn away from these, their sisters and brothers.
In Lebanon during Ramadan, Syrian refugee students and their parents came together for an Iftar at the JRS Frans van der Lugt Centre in Bourj Hammoud. The event was also attended by the centre’s Iraqi Christian families, who brought homemade biryani for their Muslim community members to enjoy – a gesture of peace and solidarity.
We send all our Muslim friends our warm wishes for a joyful ‘Id. May the God who is merciful to all, and compassionate to each, bring peace to all of us.
- Fr Aloysious Mowe SJ, Director of Advocacy and Communications