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5-IMAM

Scottish Imam talks refugees and religion with Pope Francis

An Edinburgh Imam who met Pope Francis last Month has said the Holy Father is building a friendship between Christianity and Islam.

Shia Iman Moulana Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi travelled with Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster and three other Muslim leaders to the Vatican as part of an ongoing inter-religious dialogue.

“It was a phenomenal meeting,” he told the SCO. “I was struck by his ability to connect with other people. He is an authentic religious leader who practices what he preaches.”

He said that during the meeting the Pope had ‘spoken profound words of wisdom.’

“He talked about the need to embrace silence and listen to the other, to speak softly and listen most,” he said. “We discussed the refugee crisis, education and the how our communities can better understand each other.”

The Imam said that the Pope was setting an example with ‘his wonderful ability to connect to others’ because the ‘best way of breaking down any barrier is to talk to people.’

“Human beings are afraid of what they don’t know,” he said. “They are afraid of people of different religions, different colours, yet often the minute we start talking to one another those barriers start to come down.”

The imam went with other members of his community to attend Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh last year to ‘show support.’

“If you are not there the conversation cannot begin,” he said. “It may not be easy for some, but it was an important gesture to go and sit as part of that congregation.

“There is no harm in being different. No two brothers are the same. People believe different things, have different understandings of God. We live in a time when religion is often portrayed negatively—to combat that we can work together, help people understand thatwe are all human.”

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