Pope: Mid East Christians suffering

2010-06-06 22:33
Sufi mystic Sheikh Nazim talks to Pope Benedict XVI before the mass led by the pontiff at the church of the Holy Cross, in Nicosia, Cyprus. (AP Photo/Osservatorio Romano)

Sufi mystic Sheikh Nazim talks to Pope Benedict XVI before the mass led by the pontiff at the church of the Holy Cross, in Nicosia, Cyprus. (AP Photo/Osservatorio Romano)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Nicosia - The Vatican said on Sunday that the international community is ignoring the plight of Christians in the Middle East, and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and political instability in Lebanon have forced thousands to flee the region.

A working paper released during Pope Benedict XVI's pilgrimage to Cyprus to prepare for a crisis summit of Middle East bishops in Rome in October also cites the "extremist current" unleashed by the rise of "political Islam" as a threat to Christians.

In his final Mass in Cyprus on Sunday, Benedict said he was praying that the October meeting will focus the attention of the international community "on the plight of those Christians in the Middle East who suffer for their beliefs".

He appealed for an "urgent and concerted international effort to resolve the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, especially in the Holy Land, before such conflicts lead to greater bloodshed".

The Vatican considers mostly Greek Orthodox Cyprus as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East and invited bishops to come to the Mediterranean island to receive the working paper to counter the exodus of thousands of Christians in recent years because of war and harsh economic conditions.

A meeting between the pope and a Muslim leader was scrapped after the Turkish Cypriot official was delayed crossing the United Nations-controlled buffer zone dividing the island, the Vatican said.

Yusuf Suicmez, the head of Turkish Cypriots' religious affairs department, said he had hoped to pray with the pope for peace and brotherhood.

Benedict briefly met with another Turkish Cypriot Muslim leader on Saturday as part of efforts to talk to both sides of the island's decades-old conflict and help foster reconciliation.

17 million

Cyprus was ethnically split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared an independent republic in the north in 1983, but only Turkey recognises it, and it maintains 35 000 troops there.

A group of around 100 Orthodox Christian demonstrators earlier staged a peaceful protest against Benedict's visit outside the Nicosia sports stadium where the pope presided over Mass, holding aloft banners calling the pope "a heretic".

The Vatican estimates there are about 17 million Christians from Iran to Egypt, and that while many Christians have fled, new Catholic immigrants - mostly from the Philippines, India and Pakistan - have arrived in recent years in Arab countries to work as domestic or manual labourers.

The 46-page document said input from clerics in the region blamed the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories for inhibiting freedom of movement, the economy and religious life, alleging that access to holy places is dependent on military permission that is sometimes denied on security grounds.

It also complained that some Christian fundamentalists use biblical texts to justify Israel's occupation "making the position of Christian Arabs an even more sensitive issue".

It said the rise of "political Islam" in Arab, Turkish and Iranian societies and its extremist currents are "clearly a threat to everyone, Christians and Muslims alike".

It complained that a blurring of the line between religion and politics in Muslim countries is often "relegating Christians to the precarious position of being considered non-citizens, despite the fact that they were citizens of their countries long before the rise of Islam".

The Vatican expects about 150 bishops to attend the October 10-24 meeting in Rome.

- SAPA

Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  benedict xvi  |  cyprus  |  middle east peace
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Cape Town - 16:15 PM
    Road name: Wet Weather
    RAIN across the greater Cape Town area - drive with care and use headlights - Allow Extra Tavel Time
  • Friday Kuils River - 09:28 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2508.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The day may have a fluctuating sensitive energy to begin with, but later when the Moon moves into dramatic and creative Leo you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.