VATICAN THANKS MUSLIMS FOR FAITH RETURN

A senior Vatican cardinal has thanked Muslims for bringing religion back into the public life in Europe, stressing the need for dialogue between followers of different faiths.

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A senior Vatican cardinal has thanked Muslims for bringing religion back into the public life in Europe, stressing the need for dialogue between followers of different faiths.  “It’s thanks to the Muslims,” Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Catholic Church’s department for interfaith contacts, said in a speech printed in the Vatican’s official daily L’Osservatore Romano. “Muslims, having become a significant minority in Europe, were the ones who demanded space for God in society.” Vatican officials have long bemoaned the absence of religion in secular Europe, where church attendance has dwindled dramatically in recent decades.

The return of religion in the public sphere is seen in Tauran’s native land France, where religious issues have been a major taboo since the 1905 law separating the church and the state. But French Muslims, estimated at six to seven million, Europe’s largest Muslim minority, have brought many religious issues to the forefront with raging debates about issues such as women’s right to wear hijab.