Vatican sends anti-violence message for Ramadan

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VATICAN CITY, Sep 28 (Reuters) The Vatican sent Muslims a greeting today for the holy month of Ramadan together with an appeal for believers of different religious creeds to spurn violence and avoid building ''a deadly chain of hatred''.

''As religious believers, it's up to us to be educators of peace,'' said the Roman Catholic cardinal in charge of relations with the Islamic world, Jean-Louis Tauran.

In the Holy See's annual Ramadan message to ''Dear Muslim Friends'', Tauran said ''violence ... can never be motivated by religion, since it wounds the very image of God in man''.

But he made no direct link between Islam and violence, a touchy issue between the two faiths since Pope Benedict offended Muslims a year ago by quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor as saying the Prophet Mohammad spread faith ''by the sword''.

Instead, Tauran spoke of the responsibility of ''members of different religious traditions'' to teach the way of peace to young people, so future generations ''do not become cultural or religious blocs opposed to one another''.

''We know that violence, especially terrorism which strikes blindly and claims countless innocent victims, is incapable of resolving conflicts and leads only to a deadly chain of destructive hatred,'' said Tauran.

The former Vatican foreign minister was appointed head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in June.

Reuters AE DB2052

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