Thursday, February 23, 2006

Vatican to Muslims `Practice what you preach'

The Vatican is now calling for Islamic countries to reciprocate for
the Vatican's call for tolerance and respect for Islam with tolerance for Christians.My Way News

"If we tell our people they have no right to offend, we have to tell the others they have no right to destroy us," Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican's Secretary of State (prime minister), told journalists in Rome, referring to the Vatican's stance on the Mohammed cartoons.

"We must always stress our demand for reciprocity in political contacts with authorities in Islamic countries and, even more, in cultural contacts," Foreign Minister Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Christians in many Muslim countries are subject to harsh restrictions under Sharia law. Saudi Arabia, for instance, bans all public and private observance of any non-Muslim religion, and non-Muslims can be arrested even for possesion of a Bible.

Christians are not even allowed to testify in a court of law and have virtually no rights in much of the Muslim world. Muslims who attempt to leave Islam under Sharia are apostates and can be subject to a death sentence.

"Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It's our duty to protect ourselves," Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican's supreme court, thundered in the daily La Stampa.

"The West has had relations with the Arab countries for half a century, mostly for oil, and has not been able to get the slightest concession on human rights," he said.

Bishop Rino Fisichella, head of one of the Roman universities that train young priests from around the world, told Corriere della Sera the Vatican should speak out more.

"Let's drop this diplomatic silence," said the rector of the Pontifical Lateran University. "We should put pressure on international organizations to make the societies and states in majority Muslim countries face up to their responsibilities."

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