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September 12 2011 | BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI

Immigration- Mons. Vegliò: “Cultural crossbreeding is a characteristic of the European identity”

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“The history of Europe as a continent is marked by the heritage handed down by several different peoples, producing an evident cultural hybridization. Therefore, cultural diversity is not only the consequence of modern-day immigration, but a characteristic of the European identity”, according to Mons. Antonio Maria Vegliò, President of the Pontifical Council for Migrants, in a speech to the ongoing International Meeting of the Community of Sant’Egidio in Munich.
The archbishop also noted that if “this period can be defined an era of immigration” we have also witnessed a revival of an era of nationalism “marked by episodes of a sometimes violent systematic rejection of minority peoples, as well as the adoption of policies hostile to cultural differences which, in a more or less visible manner, have incited a fear of diversity”. “In all of these cases – Mons. Vegliò continued – migrant flows have been perceived as a threat to the identity of native populations”.

According to the archbishop, “the meeting of diverse cultures and their serene  knowledge of each other , without prejudice, is rather a fortune, a positive element, independently of the difficulties that the coexistence of peoples of different cultures  can breed”. To that end “it is all the more necessary that educational models be renewed and there is a need – Vegliò concluded – to teach respect and appreciation for various cultures, discovering positive elements…; help change a behaviour of fear or indifference towards diversity; teach hospitality, equality, freedom,  tolerance, pluralism, cooperation, respect, responsibility and non discrimination”.

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