The Catholic Church is growing uneasy about the increase of persecution and violence against Christians in the Middle East. Following the Islamic attack on the last night of the year, which killed 23 Egyptian Christians praying in a Coptic church in Alexandria, religious leaders on both sides tried yesterday to lower the tension, appealing for peace and mutual respect.
The political element is crucial, according to Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco. “They are persecuted for speaking of the dignity and equality of people?”
A large magnet says that Christians of the East are vital to their societies “The extremists do not distinguish between Christianity and the West”
The president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), Angelo Bagnasco, requested on behalf of the Pope to the international community, especially the European Union, to intervene and make their voices heard “loud and clear so that the right to religious freedom is respected everywhere and without exception.”
During the homily at a Mass in the cathedral of Genoa, Cardinal said that the CIS and the Pope “are stunned by so much religious intolerance and violence.” He added: “We wonder why sore. Why so much blood spilled in many places on Earth.”
The political element to the Vatican is one of the Gordian knots of the case, as made clear Bagnasco picking up the thread of the speech by the Pope on January 1st. “Christians are persecuted because they speak of the dignity and equality of persons, whether men or women?” He asked looking the grounds of persecution. “They are persecuted because, in the name of Christ, preach against those who also love their enemies say? Why speak of forgiveness, reject violence and work as peacemakers? Why preach justice and the rule of law ? Perhaps that is why the judge what some dangerous and unacceptable, worthy of persecution and death? “.
Meanwhile, from Rome, Benedict XVI sent his “warmest wishes to the Eastern Churches that morning [of today] celebrate Christmas,” referring to the embattled Coptic community in Egypt. Before a packed St Peter’s Square of the faithful, the Pope appealed to “the goodness of God appeared in Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, strengthened in all faith, hope and charity, and give comfort to the communities that are within proof.”
The voices of the Islamic world also grew louder. The great Imam Ahmed El Tayeb, spiritual leader of the Al Azhar in Cairo, the most prestigious institution of Sunni Islam, the Pope asked, through an interview with Il Corriere della Sera, “a message of peace that can reopen bridges trust and dispel misunderstandings.”
El Tayeb, who was appointed in March by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, had complained to Benedict XVI after his harsh condemnation of the attack in the city of Alexandria, who had not reported with equal emphasis on the massacres of Muslims in Iraq. Yesterday, more conciliatory, described the attacks on Christians as “terrorist actions directed not only against this segment of the population, but against the whole Egypt,” with “the aim of destabilizing the country and threaten the safety and national unity.”
El Tayeb was convinced that relations between Muslims and Christians in Egypt will be normalized soon because “the attacks have raised the collective consciousness against common dangers.” In his view, “the Eastern Christians are an essential component companies of belonging and a source of wealth of the oriental civilization and the Arab-Islamic tradition.” And said his protection and security are guaranteed by their rights as citizens.”
Meanwhile, moderate Islamic religious leaders are finalizing a fatwa condemning the attacks against churches, which equate these actions to the suffering of Muslims and mosques. The adoption of the decree will be held in Lebanon in the coming days, said yesterday at Radio RAI general secretary of the Islamic Spiritual Summit, Mohamed Sammak, one of the Muslim leaders who spoke at the Middle East last Synod held in the Vatican.
“The agreement on the text is ready,” he said Sammak, who announced that the meeting will also take the Centre for Islamic Studies in Cairo. According Sammak, this is the “answer of Islam extremists who attack Christians because they do not distinguish between the West and Christianity and, thinking they are in conflict with the West, attack Christians because they can not directly perpetrate their actions in the West” .