07/03/2023, 21.11
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Pope: Outraged and disgusted by Koran burning in Sweden

In an interview with the Emirati daily al-Ittihad, the pontiff warned, "Any book considered sacred must be respected." Recalling the Document on Human Brotherhood signed in Abu Dhabi, he called for its translation into concrete gestures and praised the initiative of the Abrahamic House. At Cop28 in Dubai the call to listen to "the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "I feel outraged and disgusted by these actions":  This is Pope Francis response to a question about the burning of a copy of the Koran in Sweden in recent days, during an interview with the UAE daily al-Ittihad.

Dialoguing with editor Hamad al-Kaabi, the pontiff admonishes, "Any book considered sacred by its authors must be respected out of respect for its believers, and freedom of expression must never be used as an excuse to despise others, and to allow this must be rejected and condemned."

In the interview Pope Francis returns to his 2019 trip to the United Arab Emirates and the Document on Human Brotherhood signed in Abu Dhabi together with Imam of al Azhar Ahmad al Tayyeb.

"I think it is an important text not only for dialogue between religions," he explains, "but for peaceful coexistence among all human beings. There will be the civilization of brotherhood or the civilization of enmity, either we build the future together or there will be no future."

"Our task," Francis further adds, "is to transform the religious sense into cooperation, into fraternity, into concrete good works. Today we need peacemakers, not arms manufacturers; today we need peacemakers, not instigators of conflict; we need firefighters, not arsonists; we need advocates of reconciliation, not people who threaten destruction."

And this commitment must be concrete: "It is easy to talk about brotherhood, but the true measure of brotherhood is what we actually do in concrete ways to help, support, rescue, feed and welcome my brothers and sisters in humanity. All good by its very nature must be directed toward everyone indiscriminately. If I do good only to those who think or believe as I do, then my good is hypocrisy, because good knows no discrimination or exclusion."

In the interview, the pope praises the Abraham's House initiative, which precisely in the spirit of the Human Brotherhood document sees St. Francis Church, a mosque and a synagogue side by side in Abu Dhabi.

"It is a place to respect diversity, willed by God, and not to turn difference into contempt or a reason for conflict," the pontiff explained. "It is a place of coexistence, tolerance and faith. Each of us can live our faith while respecting the faith and freedom of the other. Only those who are not sure of their faith live in fear of meeting the other and rush to confrontation." 

Finally, when asked about the appointment of Cop28-the World Climate Conference to be held in Dubai at the end of the year-he hoped it would represent a significant date in the effort to give "answers to the environmental crisis and to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor who can wait no longer. The only effective way to address this crisis," he concluded, "is to find realistic solutions to the problems. We must turn statements into action before it is too late."

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