Pope calls for Christian-Muslim harmony in Mideast

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Pope Benedict XVI urged Middle Eastern Christians and Muslims on Saturday (September 15th) to forge a harmonious, pluralistic society in which the dignity of each person is respected and the right to worship in peace is guaranteed, AFP reported.

Speaking to political and religious leaders on the second day of a three-day trip to Lebanon, he said people must repudiate vengeance, acknowledge their own faults and offer forgiveness to each other.

Thousands of people, lined the road leading to the presidential palace hoping to catch a glimpse of the Pope.

Among them were Egyptians, Iraqis, Jordanians and Palestinians who came to witness the first papal visit to Lebanon since the late John Paul II came in 1997.

Before talks with Muslim leaders, the Pope met President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and parliament speaker Nabih Berri.

Those who desire to live in peace must have a change of heart, the pontiff said, and that involves "rejecting revenge, acknowledging one's faults, accepting apologies without demanding them and, not least, forgiveness."

Pope Benedict added that Christians and Muslims have lived side by side in the Middle East for centuries and that there is room for a pluralistic society.

On Friday, the pontiff urged the region's religious leaders to strive to "root out" fundamentalism, which he said "indiscriminately and fatally touches" believers of all faiths.

The Pope returns to Rome on Sunday after celebrating an open-air mass at Beirut City Centre Waterfront.

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    رضي عباس

    2012-9-25

    The situation inside the Arab community does not bode well due to what is happening in the Arab arena such as conflicts and sectarian and religious struggles that caused the death of many innocents in all countries without sin or reason. Moreover, it ended many relations and links between the countries which were considered in the past as one bloc, one authority and one entity. Their people were brothers and they loved each other. At one point, they had the same currency and shared the same fateful decisions that determine their fate and the fate of their nations. They shared the freedom and independence but all of these now turned into conflicts and religious struggles that became frighteningly prevalent among the people of the Arab countries which may take different forms. However, the goal is the same based on the same mind that needs to shake the Arab unity and each country stands alone and has become enemies toward each other in order to exploit the points of weakness of each country and use them in a cruel way without the support or help of the other country against the foreign interference in its affairs, interests, and exploitation of its resources. As such, we all have to spread the culture of religious tolerance among the Arab nations, to work strongly to restore the stability among the Arab nations, and to restore their unity.

  • انور علي

    2012-9-25

    There a lot of enmities between the peoples of the Arab nations that most of them are based on the racial discrimination and the religious conflicts that should be treated strongly and quickly to spread the religious tolerance between these nations and to return them back as they were in the past before the religious prejudices and conflicts.

  • علي عبدالعزيز

    2012-9-25

    Religious tolerance is needed now significantly in our Arab world and it has become a necessity to work with it between people with different religions in all Arab countries and the Middle East because there is no doubt that we live on the same earth and with the same customs, traditions, language, and culture. Also, we must not antagonize each other in this way.

  • صفوت عصام الدين

    2012-9-25

    Islam is the religion of positive values and ethics in dealing with human beings having different affiliations. In fact, tolerance is not a slogan or just words in Islam, it is rather the creed and the behavior which must characterize Muslims as one of their laws in dealing with all people. Indeed, the different stances all over history confirm the tolerant nature of Islam in dealing with non-Muslims. For instance, Prophet Mohammed, blessings and peace be upon him, allowed Jews to live next to Muslims in the Muslim State given that Islam has ensured the freedom of religion and convictions for them. It has not obliged them to believe in Islam without being a factor that distinguishes them from Muslims in terms of their rights.