Beijing tightens COVID-19 restrictions as long holiday begins

ROME: Prayers at the end of Ramadan are an “occasion for strengthening the ties of solidarity and peace,” Milan’s archbishop wrote in a letter to the Italian city’s Muslim community on the eve of Eid Al-Fitr celebrations.

In a letter to the nearly 50,000 Muslims who live and work in Milan, Mauro Delpini said all believers, regardless of faith, “must strengthen their wish of peace and solidarity that religions are able to offer to the world.”

This is even truer as Europe experiences the “new emergency” represented by the Ukraine war, he added.

As he recalled that this year Lent and Easter coincided with Ramadan, Delpini said: “Christians and Muslims in Milan and around the world have lived this period in prayer. This will allow us all to recover together all those spiritual energies that are necessary for a true restart after the painful time of the pandemic.”

He thanked the Muslim community for its engagement in charity and for providing help to the needy in the city, especially during Ramadan.

The letter, which has been translated to Arabic, will be symbolically delivered to Muslim leaders and cultural centers by Catholic priests during Eid Al-Fitr celebrations on Monday.

An interfaith prayer will be held at the Islamic Cultural Center in the city of Saronno, and prayers will be held in several parks and sports centers throughout the Lombardy region.

In Palermo, capital of Sicily, over 20,000 faithful are expected to join early-morning prayers at the Foro Italico, a vast open-air area facing the sea.

Prayers there will led by Mustafa Boulaalam, imam of the mosque of Piazza Gran Cancelliere, which before 1998 was a church and was donated to the Muslim community by Palermo’s late Cardinal Salvatore Pappalardo. Mayor Leoluca Orlando will represent the city at the event.