09/20/2004, 00.00
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International community should unite against terrorism, Cardinal Ruini says

Muslims who do not subscribe to the 'clash of civilisations' ideology should collaborate.

Rome (AsiaNews) – In the opening session of the Permanent Bishops' Council, the President of the Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI), Card. Camillo Ruini, spoke again about terrorism. For him, the upsurge in terrorist activities means that the international community must put up an active and determined opposition and absolutely refuse kowtowing to blackmail. It must also fight terrorism's moral and social causes by forging ties with its "main allies" in the Islamic world, i.e. those Muslims who do not subscribe to the 'clash of civilisations' ideology and even less adhere to a strategy of terror".

According to Cardinal Ruini, Iraq may be the "main source of destabilisation" in the world but it is not the only one. There are other places breeding conflict like Beslan, whose tragedy represents "a qualitative change in terrorism's brutal strategy", or Jakarta.

Whilst appealing for the liberation of Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, two Italian aid workers abducted in Iraq, the Cardinal laid emphasis on two additional aspects of the problem. Firstly, "it would be wrong," he said, "and counterproductive" to generalise and see terrorist violence "from within a single conceptual framework with a single set of motives. It would mean brushing aside the many situations and factors" that cause it. Secondly, "it is of fundamental importance" to personally and collectively acknowledge "our past and present responsibilities in causing injustice in the world. We must not be reticent to do so. Never the less," Cardinal Ruini added, "this cannot be done by forgetting or despising our own roots, belittling the greatness and beauty of the Christian faith, and its extraordinary contribution to the civilisation to which we belong. We must never forget nor despise what it has contributed to the world, nor what it still can. Its contributions may make the world a more peaceful place, one that is free and shared by all, one that is finally respectful of the dignity of Man."

Speaking about the 9/11 attacks three years after they took place, Cardinal Ruini said: "it is sad to say but we can see that the destructive designs and omens of that terrible event are still unfolding in the world. Lately," he added, "we see them happening more often and with greater intensity" so much so that murder has been turned into a "spectator sport".

Despite hopeful signs in June when the UN Security Council passed a resolution on Iraq and the new provisional government took office, that country is far from pacified. Clashes are intensifying; abductions like that of Simona Torretta and Simona Pari, too. These two women "are in no way, shape or form involved in the conflict," the Cardinal said. "Their extraordinary courage and generosity led them to volunteer their help to people in need. For this reason, we unequivocally call for their liberation and renew our prayers that it may soon come to pass."

Last but not least, Cardinal Ruini told his audience not to forget "the fate of Iraq's Christian communities so profoundly wounded by recent attacks" nor neglect the Holy Land "where another cycle of attacks and reprisals brought to an end the relative calm that prevailed hitherto and done little to assist the parties in their tentative and uncertain steps to restart negotiations".

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