Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sheikh raises spectre of church destruction

Canadian Catholic Bishops send letter to Saudi Arabian government

Saudi Arabian Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah called for the destructon of all churches along the Arabian peninsula.
Middle Eastern Christians, already beleaguered by harassment, have been put under even greater strain by an Islamic leader's callous opinion. Deborah Gyapong reports from Ottawa:
The chairman of the CCCB’s Human Rights Committee Saint-Hyacinthe Bishop Fran├žois Lapierre, PME, referred to a Mar. 12, 2012 statement by Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, who said: “only one religion”, Islam, “should exist in the Arabian Peninsula”, and thus “it is necessary to destroy all churches in the region.”

“There have been no reports yet indicating that Saudi Arabian authorities have since corrected or denounced this call to religious violence,” Bishop Lapierre wrote. He pointed out the Sheikh, who has been described as Saudi Arabia’s “supreme religious official” in news reports, is highly influential in the region. “He is not a small, radical imam. He is an important person,” said Lapierre.

The bishop stressed the importance of reciprocity when it comes to religious freedom. “It has to be recognized,” he said. “Here they can build mosques and it’s okay. It’s good."

Saudi Arabia does not allow any form of public Christian worship, though many Catholics work there. “Even worshipping in private is dangerous for them.”
Read the full story here on the B.C. Catholic website.

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