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ASIA/SYRIA - The Grand Mufti desires to be in St. Peter's with the Pope to pray for peace in Syria: Muslims and other groups join in the appeal

Damascus - The Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddin Hassou, the spiritual leader of Sunni Islam in Syria, is deeply affected by the Pope’s appeal for peace in Syria during yesterday’s Angelus and expressed the desire to be present in St Peter's for the prayer vigil for peace in Syria, which was announced by Pope Francis for Saturday, September 7. As learned by Fides Agency, an exploratory request to that effect was sent by the Islamic leader to the Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, His Exc. Mgr. Mario Zenari, and in coming days the feasibility of this desire will be evaluated on both sides. Although, for logistical reasons this event will not occur, the mufti told his community in Damascus to "welcome the appeal to pray for peace in Syria extended by the Pope to all religions". The Syrian Muslims will be invited to pray for peace on September 7, simultaneously and in communion with the Pope, in mosques in Damascus and across the country.
According to the mufti, "everybody warns that the Pope is a father who cares about the future of the Syrian people and wants to protect the whole Syrian society, in its various components, so that it is not destroyed by religious divisions and radicalism". The Syrian Muslims see the Pope as "true spiritual leader, free from political, individual or collective interests, as a leader who speaks for the true good of the Syrian people". As Fides learns from local sources, Muslim groups, tribal communities, the Druze, the Ishmaelites and other components of Syrian society will join in the prayer.