02/07/2006, 00.00
Turkey - Vatican

Nuncio in Turkey : "there is a master mind behind all of this"

Fr. Santoro's assassin confesses and claims to have been provoked by the Muhammad cartoon strips.

Rome (AsiaNews) – The assassination of Fr. Andrea Santoro came about in the light of the climate provoked by the publication of the Muhammad cartoon strips, but "there is a mastermind behind it all".   Speaking to AsiaNews via telephone, Msgr. Antonio Lucibello, apostolic nuncio in Turkey says he is also convinced of this, commenting that "in the tense and overheated climate created in the aftermath of the publication of these cartoons, it obvious that people can also be killed.  But still, I am convinced that there is a mastermind behind all of it ".

According to Turkish press,  the youth arrested for the murder of Fr. Santoro confessed to having been moved to violence by the vignettes against Muhammad.  The Nuncio tells of his being "struck by reaction in official circles".  He cites the declarations made by the deputy minister for religious affairs, Mehmet Gormez, who condemned the killing of Fr. Andrea "a man of God".  Msgr Lucibello, adds that there has been an outpouring of condolences and highlights the meaningful declarations of some young Muslims, who say that "they are ashamed by what has happened".

However, demonstrations and protest continue to rock the Islamic world.  The fact that the most violent episodes are accredited to countries where police reaction is severe, such as Syria and Iran, gives some comfort to Msgr Lucibello.  Sunday last in Damascus and Beirut "spontaneous" demonstrations targeted the Danish diplomatic seats (most of those arrested after the attack in the Lebanese capital were Syrian), also in Teheran, where protests continue also today. While Iraqi Shiites have requested their religious leaders to issue a  fatwa, authorizing the murder of the cartoons authors.  

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