Skip to comments.Christians second-class in Muslim lands - cardinal
Posted on 12/31/2003 11:37:10 PM PST by miltonim
Too many Islamic countries treat their Christian minorities as second-class citizens and bar them from building churches while Western states let their Muslims build mosques freely, according to a senior Vatican official.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who recently retired as the Vatican's foreign minister, told the French Catholic daily La Croix on Wednesday that Christianity and Islam faced "an enormous task" of learning to live together in mutual tolerance.
Tauran was the latest and highest-ranking Catholic official to voice concern about Vatican relations with Muslims, an issue seen as central for whoever succeeds the ailing Pope John Paul.
"There are too many majority Muslim countries where non-Muslims are second-class citizens," said Tauran, the church's top diplomat for 13 years before he had to step aside on being made a cardinal by Pope John Paul in October.
Stressing the need for respect for minorities, he singled out "the extreme case of Saudi Arabia, where freedom of religion is violated absolutely -- no Christian churches and a ban on celebrating Mass, even in a private home".
"Just like Muslims can build their houses of prayer anywhere in the world, the faithful of other religions should be able to do so as well," the French-born cardinal added.
Leading church figures have increasingly expressed concern about Islam in view of friction between Muslims and Christians in Africa and the Middle East and the difficult integration of Muslim minorities in traditionally Christian Europe.
La Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit journal published with Vatican approval, said last October Islam had a "warlike face" throughout history and charged Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Pakistan discriminated against Christians.
This was seen as a departure from the more balanced approach the Vatican has taken towards the Muslim world, where it usually stressed both positive and negative aspects of its relations.
In Rome that same month to celebrate Pope John Paul's 25th anniversary as pontiff, several cardinals cited relations with Islam as a key issue for the next papacy, akin to the Communist challenge at the beginning of the Polish pope's reign.
The head of the United States bishops' conference, Bishop Wilton Gregory, spoke of potential religious violence.
Referring to Islam in the West and in Africa, he said: "It's growing in places it didn't exist before and it is growing in places where Christianity is growing. The world cannot afford a violence that is born of religious intolerance."
Saudi Arabia has rejected criticism of its ban on churches, arguing the Vatican would not let mosques be built on its land.
Abid Ullah Jan, a Pakistani writer based in Canada, wrote that the Civilta Cattolica article signalled the Vatican had "joined the ranks of intellectual warriors who are battling Islam with renewed zeal since the fall of the Soviet Union".
Since becoming cardinal, Tauran has taken a lower-profile post as Vatican librarian but has also been appointed to several important Church commissions for foreign affairs, Catholic doctrine, Eastern churches and bishops' appointments.
Third, fourth, fifth or even tenth class would be more accurate.
Under the dhimmitude system, Christians (and Jews, if any) are not citizens at asll but treated as enemy aliens.
They cannot have civil service jobs, cannot attend college, cannot get passports or even telephones, cannot have their own newspapers, cannot testify against Moslems, etc. etc. They are not allowed to leave the country for religious pilgrimages, they'd better not complain about their situation to foreigners including their co-religionists in civilized countries, and worship services and teachings are monitors and censored by the Moslem government (in Saudi Arabia, for one, the Christian schools that are allowed are required to use government-published textbooks that denounce Christianity as a false religion.
Their church buildings are limited in size - in Israel those church buildings that existed under the Ottomans or the Jordanians are kept low (inside they have immediate steps into a sort of crater, the only way to get enough space for a raised pulpit and choir loft without a high roof) and unadorned; frequently mosques - even unnecessary and ill-attended ones - are built up against the walls of churches, often on more than one side, to make sure that the church never expands its building (in Egypt it seems to take forever for the Coptic Christians to get govt permission to build a new church - and the moment they finally get permission to build at a particular address a mosque suddenly is thrown up at that spot).
In the Moslem countries it is a serious crime on par with treason, usually a capital offense, to try to proselytize a Moslem - even the relative or spouse of a Christian - to become Christian ... and a capital offense for a Moslem to convert to Christianity.
Hindus, Buddhists and some others that Moslems regard as idol worshippers have it even worse.
To add insult to injury, the Saudis want the mosque to face the Parthenon!
The Greeks were "dhimmitude" (subjugated)under the Ottoman Turks for over 400 years. The first thing the Turks did was to into the villages, cut off the heads of priests, and stick them on poles. During the Greek War of Independence in 1821 from the Turks, there was a battle whereby the Turks were held up in the Parthenon. When they ran out of bullets, they began to dismantle the Parthenon's columns which contained lead running through it. The Greeks, in their love for the Parthenon, sent a message to the Turks and said, "don't dismantle the columns! We will send you bullets!"
During my time in Saudi Arabia, the government wanted the Swiss to remove the Cross from their tail of their aircraft because it was offensive to them. The Swiss said that if they can't land at their airports, then the Saudis' can't land in Zurich and other Swiss airports. Furthermore, when the Saudis asked to build a mosque in Zurich, the Swiss said, "as soon as you let us build a church in Riyadh."
We keep hearing how the Koran instructs Muslims to take care of the people of the book, i.e., Christians and Jews. This, however, can only take place AFTER they have been conquered, and have "subjugated" themselves to Islam as being the superior religion.
What democratic countries do not understand is "Reciprocity!"
That is to say Freeper time, PST.
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