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» 09/13/2012 17:45
LEBANON - VATICAN
Patriarch Rai: pope calling for peace in Syria, anti-Islam movie offends everyone
by Paul Dakiki
For the head of the Maronite Church, Benedict XVI comes as a witness of peace in the Middle East, demanding governments, interested parties and mercenaries to stop buying and using weapons. Together, Christians and Muslims can build for a real Arab Spring. The movie that denigrates Muhammad is an insult to all religions. It is unclear who the director and producer are.

Bkerke (AsiaNews) - During his visit to Lebanon, Benedict XVI will c all for peace in Syria and an end to arms sales to the region, said Patriarch Bechara Rai, at a press conference this morning. The head of the Maronite Church said the anti-Islam movie that caused demonstrations, acts of violence and deaths in Libya, was "shameful".  For him, "this movie offends everybody."

The pope's visit on 14-16 September is designed "to stop the spiral of violence and hatred," the patriarch explained, and "ask arms merchants to stop selling to either group."

Tensions in Syria developed as part of the Arab Spring but turned into an all-out civil war that has left tens of thousands of dead.

Together with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Western governments are providing rebels with money and weapons. Russia, China and Iran back Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

"The war is not fought in the name of Islam or Christianity, but on behalf of states by interested parties, mercenaries," Rai said.

"Christians and Muslims must come together around some values to build a real Arab Spring," he said.

The pope is coming to Lebanon to sign and promote the Apostolic Exhortation he wrote following the Synod of the Middle East held in Rome in October 2010 that discussed some aspects and values found in the movements that are changing the Arab world.

"The pope's visit is a plea for peace in the Middle East, the separation of state and religion, acceptance of others and diversity within unity," the patriarch added.

Speaking about the anti-Islam movie 'Innocence of Muslims,' produced by an American Jew, the patriarch said that "the movie is offensive towards Muslims, but towards all religions."

"The United Nations and the international community must take a strong stance against such insults," he added.

The low quality movie appears to have been made to offend Muslims. According to the actors who play in it, the plot had nothing to do with Muhammad. The original dialogue was instead changed.

Shown only once in Hollywood, it depicts Muhammad as homosexual, a violent man, a paedophile in favour of child abuse.

The identity of the movie's director and producer is still unclear. It is supposed to be a certain Sam Becile, but in Los Angeles, that is a common alias.


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See also
09/14/2012 SYRIA - LEBANON - VATICAN
Nuncio in Damascus: Benedict XVI a beacon for the Middle East
09/14/2012 LEBANON - VATICAN
Pope: yes to Arab spring, no fundamentalism and weapons
by Amina Makhlouf
11/23/2012 VATICAN - LEBANON
Pope remembers his Lebanon visit during meeting with President Sleiman
09/12/2012 VATICAN - LEBANON
Vatican slams anti-Muslim provocations, cites pope's positive example in Lebanon
06/30/2006 LEBANON
Card. Sfeir: only regular army should undertake Lebanon's defence

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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