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Muslim theologian agrees with Pope on Mary

An Iranian Islamic theologian has affirmed the Pope's assertion on Sunday that Muslims venerate Mary.

Pope John Paul was speaking about common elements of Christianity and Islam in connection with the prayer and fasting for peace he is proposing for this Friday, which is also the end of Ramadan.

Iranian Muslim theologian Sherazade Hushmand told Vatican Radio that there are verses in the Koran that include a significant prayer to God by Mary's mother.

He said: "She is very present in the Koran, which presents her, specifically, as Mary Immaculate. In the third sura, beginning with verse 34 and subsequent ones, the Koran speaks about this aspect of Mary, about her total purity.

"Speaking of Mary, one of the verses talks about freedom. The woman of Hemram, who is Mary's mother, prays to God saying: 'God, I dedicate to you the one I have in the womb, and I dedicate her so that she will be free, absolutely free.'

Hushmand also spoke of Mary as a model for life: "She is the example of confidence, total confidence in the Absolute, in the God who is Supreme Perfection and Beauty."

Angelus at St Peter's Square (9/12/01)