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» 02/04/2011
ISLAM - EGYPT
Bishops of North Africa: Egypt and Tunisia claiming freedom and dignity
The Bishops of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Western Sahara appreciate demonstrations by young people. They are an opportunity for dialogue between Christians and Muslims. So far the demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia have not taken on Islamist connotations.

Algiers (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The demonstrations that are "shaking Tunisia and Egypt today" are "a vindication of freedom and dignity" in the opinion of the Conference of Bishops of North Africa (CERNA).  The group published a statement last night at the conclusion of their annual meeting, held in the Algerian capital.

CERNA includes the bishops of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Western Sahara. Yesterday's was their first public pronunciation on what is happening in the Arab countries of North Africa, where popular demonstrations, driven by poverty and corruption of dictatorships are shaking political systems. Stressing the "demands for freedom and dignity," the bishops make no difference between Muslims and Christians. For them, it comes "especially from the younger generations of our region and is expressed in a will that demands they be recognized as responsible citizens."

The astonishing fact for many international observers is that the demonstrations that have taken place in Tunisia and Egypt see Christians and Muslims protest together. Their unity is a "secular" one and is based on together being victims of poverty, high prices, corruption, unemployment. In their statement the bishops do not comment on the recent anti-Christian attacks in Egypt and Iraq, and instead see "more and more opportunities" for growth of ties between Christians and Muslims as citizens. "Yes - they say - Muslim-Christian dialogue is possible."

In Egypt, Coptic Christians appear next to young Muslims, although the Coptic Orthodox hierarchy has suggested the faithful "keep calm".

So far, the demonstrations in Cairo have not taken on an Islamist hue. According to many young Copts, the Islamist threat was exploited - and nurtured- by the Mubarak regime to divide the population and control it.


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See also
02/07/2011 EGYPT
Egypt’s revolution belongs to the young people, not the Muslim Brotherhood
by H. Boulad - S. Chafik
01/29/2011 EGYPT
Cairo: anti-Mubarak protests continue, at least 50 dead from clashes
11/10/2011 EGYPT
Shenouda III urges Copts to vote en masse for moderate Muslims if need be
08/16/2013 EGYPT - ISLAM
Muslim Brotherhood calls for 'Friday of Anger' as Cairo death toll rises along with number of torched Christian buildings
10/22/2005 EGYPT
Two killed and dozens wounded in anti-Christian demonstration in Egypt

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SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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