Muslim Wire

Russian priest urges European Muslims to learn Russian traditions of respectful attitude to Christians

Posted in Politics, Society by muslimwire on October 21, 2009

Moscow, October 21, Interfax – The Moscow Patriarchate believes that Muslim communities of Europe should learn respectful attitude to Christian clergy from experience of their Russian coreligionists.

“The problem persists, and it needs settling. Christianity is a traditional religion of Europe, core of the European civilization and Christians have right to feel secure in their own home,” Deputy Chairman of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Hieromonk Philipp (Ryabykh) told Interfax-Religion.

Thus, he commented on the recent attack on Russian priest Alexy Rybakov in the German city of Bochum. Father Alexy was dressed in a cassock and was carrying a suitcase with bread and wine for a communion service. The assailants began yelling insults, and one of them spat at the priest and hit him in the chest. They fled when Father Alexy called the police from his cell phone.

Father Alexy has already been the target of insults in the Bochum neighborhood, which is populated mostly by people from Muslim countries, a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church’s representative office in Germany said.

Fr. Philipp believes this incident illustrates “the problem of relations between local population and migrants,” actual for majority of European countries. Though, according to the priest, the problem lies not only in unwillingness of local society to accept foreigners, but “communities themselves don’t integrate, don’t accept local rules and try to act due to their own ideas about relations in society.”

“Fortunately, Russia shows another model as Orthodox and Muslims, being centuries-old neighbors, worked out rules of mutual respect. Muslim communities of Europe could have followed Russian example and respect representatives of Christianity, clerics in the first place, regardless of their religious beliefs,” Fr. Philipp said.

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