2010-11-03 15:13:34

Attack on Iraq church is intolerance toward Christians

(Nov.03,2010) The attack on a Catholic cathedral in Baghdad on Sunday that left 58 people dead is another tragic incident of the continued intolerance, discrimination and violence directed at Christians, said Vatican's representative in his address at the United Nations in New York on Monday. Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said the incident underscores the need to ensure that all religions and all believers have the most basic right to religious freedom and worship. Archbishop Chullikatt was addressing the U.N. General Assembly's Third Committee, which deals with social, cultural and humanitarian issues. He cautioned against "the over-identification of racial or ethnic identity and religious belief," which he said leads to people facing multiple forms of discrimination. "This linking of race and religion, reinforces the flawed and tragic notion, that religious belief is inherently tied to one's ethnic, national or racial background and thus prevents religious minorities and racial groups from expressing and practicing their faith,"the prelate said. While my delegation supports all efforts to protect believers from unjust hate speech and incitement to violence," he continued, "we remain concerned that the use of the concept of defamation of religions to achieve these aims, has proven counterproductive and, instead of protecting religious believers, it has served as a means for state-sponsored oppression of religious believers." Instead, he said the Vatican delegation supports a call for governments to move away from the concept of defamation of religions and to address intolerance by fostering awareness of religious belief and mutual understanding.
Just as racial and ethnic discrimination occurs around the world, so also do many people around the world lack the freedom to pray in community, to make personal expressions of faith and to exercise their consciences in accord with their religious faith," said Archbishop Chullikatt. "These are men, women and children whose searching for God is a prohibited activity, with many facing serious physical and legal repercussions for the pursuit of such a fundamental human need," he concluded.

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