VATICAN (CWN) -- The grand Iman of Cairo has condemned "every form of terrorism" in a broadcast aired by Vatican Radio. The Egyptian Islamic leader also voiced his support for cooperation between Christians and Muslims in promoting justice and peace.

      In the Vatican Radio interview-- which was timed to coincide with the end of the Islamic observance of Ramadan-- Sheik Tantawi of the Grand Mosque in Cairo responded positively to a Vatican plea for Catholic-Muslim cooperation. That plea was lodged at the beginning of Ramadan by Cardinal Francis Arinze, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue.

      "We condemn terrorism in all its forms," the sheik said. "We condemn terrorism in Algeria, in Egypt, in every part of the world." He continued: "We condemn those who seize the territory of others, and those who violate the rights of others, because such acts are contrary to the right which Allah has commanded us to respect." He concluded: "We are allies for everyone who fights against injustice and oppression of all forms."

      In response to the invitation to cooperative efforts, the Iman said that all genuine religions "welcome those who work for peace." He made a particular reference to Pope John Paul as a man noted for his pursuit of peace. And he said that Christian-Muslim cooperation would undoubtedly serve the cause of society, by "struggling against evil, sins, and all that Allah forbids, and for the progress of nations and the welfare of the whole world."

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:To subscribe to Catholic World News Service, available daily by e-mail, click here .

January 30 - February 1, 1998 volume 9, no. 22          DAILY CATHOLIC