» 09/19/2006, 00.00
PALESTINE - VATICAN
Armed guards in Bethlehem churches, but Christians are on pope's side
After the attacks in Gaza and West Bank that followed the address of the pope in Germany, strong security measures have been put in place around sensitive targets. Palestinian Christians say Benedict XVI does not need to apologize; at the most, he only needs to clarify. But meanwhile, out of fear, some people have hidden their photos of the pontiff.
Bethlehem (AsiaNews) Christians in Palestine have defended the pope in the wake of intense controversy worldwide surrounding his intervention at the University of Regensburg. From this land, symbol of coexistence between Islam and Christianity, AsiaNews gathered different views from the two communities; the people who gave them will remain anonymous for security reasons. Some speak in favour of Benedict XVI, saying he "does not need to apologize to anyone, perhaps rather to clarify some things". Others appreciate the misunderstanding created over his address on 12 September in Germany but fear an increase in tension with Muslims. Among Muslim believers, meanwhile, the most widespread sensation is "incredulity" about the "out of place" words of such an "important religious leader".
After the attacks last weekend against Christian churches in Gaza and West Bank, the Palestinian Authority tightened security around places of worship. Armed guards are keeping an extra watchful eye on churches in Bethlehem. Since 17 September, sources said, there have no further attacks against churches or Christians' property. Christians "are getting on with their lives": they go to mass, they pray, but for the moment, some "prefer to hide the photos of Benedict XVI they had at home."
Alongside fear, there is also irritation among Christians about the position taken by some within the community, who are "too critical about the pope". A lay source said: "Many of us are calling for more unity among Christians in support of the pope: we think there is nothing to apologize for, but probably just some points to clarify and perhaps tomorrow Benedict XVI will refer to the matter once again in his general audience."
"More explanations" are precisely what believers of Islam appear to want. Among Muslims, "even the most moderate", there is widespread "incredulity" about the "out of place" words of "such an important" religious leader, who could not have failed to be well aware of Islamic sensitivities about Muhammad and the Quran.
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, ranged himself on the pope's side when he appeared as a guest last Sunday on a local Christian TV channel, al-Mahed. Speaking for 35 minutes, the patriarch defended the pope "very strongly", according to viewers, and he called on the Muslim community to react in a "logical and not irrational way" to the address in Regensburg.
Sabbah then appealed for dialogue between Christian and Muslim leaders, urging them to avoid violence and clashes in society. He also called for more courage from Europe, inviting it not to be afraid of Islam. It seems his appeal has not fallen on deaf ears. Yesterday, the European Union referred to tensions linked to the pope's address. The spokesman, Commissioner Barroso, described as "unacceptable any reaction that is disproportionate and contrary to freedom of expression".
14/05/2009 VATICAN - ISLAM
The Pope, Arabic Islam and the West
The Islamic media’s criticism of Benedict XVI is nothing in the face of the wealth of his proposal. Dialogue with science is essential for the Arab world, at a standstill for centuries; it is crucial that the West does not close itself into relativistic ideologies that despise faith.
02/10/2006 PAKISTAN - VATICAN
Muslims in Pakistan: "We respect pope; his speech was used"
When interviewed, Muslim clerics and scholars accused the media and "forces against peace" of using the pope's words to sow seeds of hatred among Christians and Muslims. There were calls to dialogue and great appreciation for the explanation of Benedict XVI and his meeting with Muslim ambassadors.
Manila: Muslim MP urges understanding, not criticism, of pope
Faysah RPM Dumarpa, elected in the district of Lanao del Sur, has encouraged the global Muslim community to understand the pontiff's words in Regensburg and to celebrate Ramadan in peace and understanding.
Pope with ambassadors: much praise and some "buts" from Muslim world
In general, newspapers underlined the will to dialogue and respect for Islam. But a few still insist on apologies and recall the Crusades.
Pope: I was misunderstood about Islam, may my words become an opportunity for dialogue
At the general audience, Benedict XVI said that at Regensburg, while tackling the topic of faith and reason, he had maintained that "not religion and violence but religion and reason go together". It was a call "to dialogue both among religions and between modern reason and Christian faith".
VATICAN - USA
Pope to Trump: America’s greatness is measured by its attention to the poor
Pope Francis exalts the "rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people” and the nation’s “commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide ". Concerns " for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door ". The oath Trump preceded by various prayers of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish Representatives. The slogan "America first" will guide political choices. String criticism of the establishment. China’s caution and the enthusiasm of the president of Taiwan.
CHINA - UNITED STATES
The Trump era begins: The China-US relationship and the risk of war
As the inauguration ceremony of the Trump presidency approaches, the Propaganda Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party has banned all journalists from “unauthorized criticism" of Trump’ words and deeds. According to the great dissident Wei Jingsheng there is a chance that Trump will force China into fair trade deals, possibly leading to political and legal reforms. A trade war is an option.
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