09/24/2012, 00.00
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Patriarch Rai tells Muslim leaders: no insults against religions

by Paul Dakiki
The head of the Maronite Church calls on the United Nations to issue a resolution condemning insults against religions. The anti-Muslim movie “is not only offensive to Muslims and the prophet, but also to Christians.” Lebanon’s economic situation and Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente were also discussed at the meeting.

Bkerke (AsiaNews) - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai has called on the United Nations to adopt a resolution told ban all insults against religions. The patriarch made his proposal public today at a Christian-Muslim meeting held behind closed doors in Bkerke, See of the patriarchate.

"The movie, 'The Innocence of Muslims,' is offensive not only to Muslims and the prophet, but also to Christians and all other religions," the patriarch said before the meeting. "We shall not simply accept a condemnation, but shall ask the international community to issue a United Nations resolution that will ban denigrating religions."

The patriarch had already condemned the blasphemous movie about Muhammad on 13 September. "The movie," he had said at that time, was not only "offensive towards Muslims, but [also] towards all religions." Instead, "The United Nations and the international community must take a strong stance against such offences".

The meeting at Bkerke was organised on the request of Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Kabbani, Lebanon's (Sunni) grand mufti, to discuss the attacks against Islam.

Today's meeting also comes at a time when Lebanon's economy is facing difficult challenges. It also closely follows the release of Benedict XVI's Apostolic Exhortation 'Ecclesia in Medio Oriente' during his recent trip to Lebanon.

When he was in the country, the pope was warmly received by Lebanon's Muslims, who insisted on the importance of the Lebanese model based on Christian-Muslim coexistence, issues also covered in the apostolic exhortation.

Over the recent past, Patriarch Rai has been sending warnings about the country's poor economic situation, accusing the government of being silent on the matter.

"The country's economic situation cannot continue," he said. "We must stops things from getting worse because if the economy collapses, so will everything."


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