» 02/22/2011, 00.00
EU - ISLAM
Europe’s stuttering timidity in denouncing the persecution of Christians
After nearly three weeks, finally a European text condemns the violations of religious freedom of Christians. The statement suffers from "excessive" balance and distance. The EU's inability to understand what is happening in North Africa and the Middle East is a result of its ignoring its Christian roots. Without a sense of identity the ability to read the situation or offer a way forward. The teaching of Benedict XVI.
Rome (AsiaNews) - After more than three weeks of debate, the EU has managed to produce a text that explicitly mentions Christians as victims of persecution and the object of violent attacks. An earlier text had been prepared in January, after the terrorist attack on the Church in Baghdad and the massacre at the Church in Alexandria, but was it rejected because of the lack of references to Christians, since the EU preferred to use generic term "religious minorities".
The new text approved yesterday explicitly mentions "Christians and their places of worship" victims of "acts of religious intolerance and discrimination," but now hastens to include among the victims of such acts "Muslim pilgrims and other religious communities" as well .
The Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, one of the promoters of the text, had condemned the draft as a sign of 'excessive secularism "present in the EU, but expressed satisfaction with the text adopted yesterday. Moreover, recalling that the European Constitution does not mention the Christian roots among the historic foundations of Europe, yesterday’s statement really is a gigantic departure.
Yet even this text does not satisfy in full. It seeks to balance the anti-Christian violence with those against other religious communities, in an "excess" of balance and equidistance, not taking into account that at least 70% of persecution in today’s world is carried out against Christians. Yet these impressive figures are the result of statistics (from the World Christian Encyclopedia to the Pew Research Centre) and not partisan reports, so much so that Pope Benedict XVI used the word "Christianophobia" for the first time in a papal speech (see the speech Roman Curia on 20 December 2010. See: 12/20/2010 Pope: Future of the World Depends upon Rediscovery "of Truth and Goodness" and 22/12/2010 Benedict XVI and the Synod: dialogue and forgiveness in the face of violence).
Above all, the text approved by the EU does not go beyond some general exhortation on the defense of religious freedom as a universal human right that must be defended everywhere and for all. "
In stark contrast to the EU’s timid text, Benedict XVI's solid address to the diplomatic corps (10/01/2011 Pope: Religious freedom attacked by terrorism and marginalisation). Defending religious freedom for all religious traditions, the Pope addressed the governments demanding security and the repeal of unjust laws (such as the blasphemy law); room for free education; guarantees that the contribution of religious communities to society will be welcomed etc. ...
Europe’s stuttering timidity on religious freedom is underscored by the continents approximation and inanity faced with the riots taking place in North Africa and the Middle East. As an epochal change unfolds before our very eyes - with non-violent demands for justice, equality and democracy - the EU is ineptly concealing its remorse, calling for a "transition" while it secretly sheds tears over all the fabulous economic contracts drawn up with fallen dictators, null and void or hanging in the balance.
It is said that the world and Europe have been taken by surprise by the riots in Tunisia, Egypt, etc. .. We think that this blindness is due to the fact that in all these years, the sole motivation for our Europe’s relationship with these countries was its own its narrow economic interests and thus "stability", not a shared communication of values, attentiveness to social questions, dialogue between cultures and religions. In practice, Europe’s identity was its wallet: and little more.
Benedict XVI’s appeal during his papal journeys to France, the Czech Republic, Malta, the United Kingdom now echoes urgently in our ears: if Europe does not rediscover its Christian roots, it will remain silent in the concert of nations, incapable of identity and true friendships with the rest of the world.
14/02/2009 ISLAM - EUROPE
Fr. Samir: Gagging Fitna and Wilders does not promote dialogue among civilizations
The British government has blocked the Dutch member of parliament from entering the country, because of his controversial opinions about Islam. For some, human rights are being set aside in the West in order to avoid displeasing Muslims; for others, silence is better than provocation. But the problem of the connection between Islam and violence remains a question that no one wants to address. A commentary by the Islamologist Fr. Samir Khalil Samir.
13/09/2006 CHINA - EUROPE
European Christians to the aid of China's young Church
A Colloquium just held in Triuggio (Milan) analyses changes that have taken place in the past 25 years within the Chinese Communist Party but especially within China's Christian communities. There was the revelation of a lively and modern Church, even if subject to persecution.
An "ambiguous" Arab Spring and a "squalid" West
The upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa give rise to hopes, but also to fears of an military or fundamentalist involution. The Churches of Tunisia and Egypt want to live alongside the entire population. The debate on the "secularism" of the institutions and religious freedom. A tired and "cowardly” West is in need of a new evangelization. The outcome of the Oasis Scientific Committee meeting.
Pope, those who want peace must respect the right to be close to God
The World Day of Peace, Benedict XVI reiterates the "dramatic urgency" of respect for religious freedom, marginalized by secularism and targeted by fundamentalism. In October he will go to Assisi where he will invite the leaders of world religions to renew the commitment of "believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace."
21/04/2011 HOLY LAND
The Churches of the Holy Land: reform must lead to freedom for religious minorities
In their Easter message the leaders of Christian churches in the Holy Land speak of developments in Arab countries, and call for "a modern civil society in which freedom of expression, freedom of religion and human rights, including rights of those who are considered a minority are respected. " Peace, they say, "can not be purchased at the price of silence and submission to corruption and injustice."
HONG KONG – CHINA – VATICAN
On “Hong Kong sectors” supposedly "against Francis"
John Mok Chit Wai
A scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who collaborates with AsiaNews, responds to accusations against the agency and people in Hong Kong with respect to criticism of the Vatican’s diplomatic approach towards China. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and a universal value, whether in China, Russia or the Middle East. Between "Right" and "Left", China defines itself as left, yet it practices state capitalism and unfettered capitalism just as "right-wing governments" do. Gaudium et Spes calls on the faithful to engage in politics against the "arbitrary domination by [. . .] a political party,” like in China.
The "enemies" of Pope Francis
The charge made against AsiaNews that we are against the Pope and in favor of Putin, is an opportunity to outline what motivates our commitment to evangelization. And also to ask for greater professionalism from those who write about the Pope. The Pope does not need public defenders. Facilitating dialogue between "conservatives" and "progressives" to realize the Council and concern ourselves with the world so that it encounters Jesus Christ. Christ’s “enemies” were also his "friends."
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