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    » 08/12/2014, 00.00

    VATICAN - ISLAM

    Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue slams Islamic Caliphate crimes and barbarism



    Caliphate militants are responsible for inhumane actions like public executions, humiliation of women, and terror towards Christians, Yezidis and members of other religions. The Vatican body calls on Islamic religious leaders and governments to condemn these crimes and prosecute their authors to boost their credibility and willingness to engage in dialogue. The goal is to strengthen the coexistence between Christians and Muslims that has lasted for centuries amid the ups and downs.

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue deplores in no uncertain terms the acts of violence by the militants of the Islamic caliphate in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria.

    The Vatican body calls on the members of all religions and on the international community to join in the condemnation. It also calls on Islamic religious leaders to condemn the use of religion as a false justification for terrorism and to make the culture of coexistence and dialogue that has developed in the past few years more real and credible.

    The full translation of the statement issued by the Pontifical Council is presented below.

    The whole world has witnessed with incredulity what is now called the "Restoration of the Caliphate," which had been abolished on October 29, 1923 by Kamal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey.  Opposition to this "restoration" by the majority of religious institutions and Muslim politicians has not prevented the "Islamic State" jihadists from committing and continuing to commit unspeakable criminal acts.

    This Pontifical Council, together with all those engaged in interreligious dialogue, followers of all religions, and all men and women of good will, can only unambiguously denounce and condemn these practices which bring shame on humanity:

    -the massacre of people on the sole basis of their religious affiliation;

    -the despicable practice of beheading, crucifying and hanging bodies in public places;

    -the choice imposed on Christians and Yezidis between conversion to Islam, payment of a tax (jizya) or forced exile;

    -the forced expulsion of tens of thousands of people, including children, elderly, pregnant women and the sick;

    -the abduction of girls and women belonging to the Yezidis and Christian communities as spoils of war (sabaya);

    -the imposition of the barbaric practice of infibulation;

    -the destruction of places of worship and Christian and Muslim burial places;

    -the forced occupation or desecration of churches and monasteries;

    -the removal of crucifixes and other Christian religious symbols as well as those of other religious communities;

    -the destruction of a priceless Christian religious and cultural heritage;

    -indiscriminate violence aimed at terrorizing people to force them to surrender or flee.

    No cause, and certainly no religion, can justify such barbarity. This constitutes an extremely serious offense to humanity and to God who is the Creator, as Pope Francis has often reminded us. We cannot forget, however, that Christians and Muslims have lived together - it is true with ups and downs - over the centuries, building a culture of peaceful coexistence and civilization of which they are proud. Moreover, it is on this basis that, in recent years, dialogue between Christians and Muslims has continued and intensified.

    The dramatic plight of Christians, Yezidis and other religious communities and ethnic minorities in Iraq requires a clear and courageous stance on the part of religious leaders, especially Muslims, as well as those engaged in interreligious dialogue and all people of good will. All must be unanimous in condemning unequivocally these crimes and in denouncing the use of religion to justify them. If not, what credibility will religions, their followers and their leaders have? What credibility can the interreligious dialogue that we have patiently pursued over recent years have?

    Religious leaders are also called to exercise their influence with the authorities to end these crimes, to punish those who commit them and to re-establish the rule of law throughout the land, ensuring the return home of those who have been displaced. While recalling the need for an ethical management of human societies, these same religious leaders must not fail to stress that the support, funding and arming of terrorism is morally reprehensible.

    That said, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is grateful to all those who have already raised their voices to denounce terrorism, especially that which uses religion to justify it.

    Let us therefore unite our voices with that of Pope Francis: "May the God of peace stir up in each one of us a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated by violence. Violence is defeated by peace."

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    See also

    29/11/2007 VATICAN
    Pope to 138 Islamic scholars, continue dialogue on the basis of respect of the person
    In a letter signed by Cardinal Bertone, Benedict XVI expresses his appreciation for the initiative by the Muslim scholars, inviting its initiator and a delegation of signatories to the Vatican. Jointly, both sides must promote mutual respect and acceptance amongst the younger generations.

    30/05/2008 RUSSIA – VATICAN
    Pope writes Aleksij II who still says no to Ravenna
    Cardinal Kasper handed Aleksij II a message in which the Pope expressed his esteem and gratitude to the Russian Patriarch. According to the Vatican the meeting took place in a cordial atmosphere; invariably though the Patriarchate highlighted all the unsolved problems that come between the two Churches like the Uniate Church, Catholic orphanages and the Ravenna Statement.

    27/08/2010 VATICAN - ISLAM
    Message for end of Ramadan: Overcoming violence between religions
    The theme of the message - signed by card. Tauran - is shared by the Al-Azhar Permanent Committee for Dialogue. Condemning discrimination and political manipulation of religion, he asks civic authorities to respect the law and justice, religious authorities to educate the young, even in textbooks, to respect others.

    18/07/2014 VATICAN - ISLAM
    Christians and Muslims should work fraternally for "justice, peace and respect for the rights and dignity of every person"
    The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue issues a message for the Muslims of the world to mark the end of Ramadan. "Despite being aware of our differences, [. . .] We perceive the importance of promoting a fruitful dialogue built upon mutual respect and friendship. Inspired by our shared values and strengthened by our sentiments of genuine fraternity, we are called to work together for justice, peace and respect for the rights and dignity of every person."

    09/11/2007 VATICAN – JAPAN
    Cardinal Hamao dies, Pope remembers his love for the poor
    Born in Tokyo, the prelate was 77 years old. In his telegrams of condolences, Benedict XVI refers to his “generous service” as President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants.



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