With Christianity dwindling in its Middle Eastern birthplace, Pope Benedict has convened Catholic bishops from the region to debate how to save its minority communities and promote harmony with their Muslim neighbours.
Franciscan Father David Jaeger is one of the Roman Catholic Church’s most authoritative experts on the Middle East. Until a few weeks ago, he was the delegate of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land in Rome. A convert from Judaism who became a Roman Catholic priest in 1986, he is a noted canon lawyer. He was part of the Vatican team that negotiated diplomatic relations with Israel in 1994 and is part of the Vatican team that is still ironing out the final subsidiary details of that accord. He spoke to Reuters and Reuters Television about the upcoming Mideast synod in the atrium of Antonianum University in Rome. Here is a transcript of parts of the conversation.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Muslims must obey the constitution and not sharia law if they want to live in Germany, which is debating the integration of its 4 million-strong Muslim population.
(Photo: Rabbi Menachem Froman (R) holds a Koran given to Palestinians after Monday’s attack in the West Bank village of Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem October 5, 2010/Ammar Awad)
Jewish settlers on Tuesday gave new copies of the Koran to Palestinians in a West Bank village whose mosque was burned in an attack blamed by Palestinians on militants in the settler movement.
(Photo: Verses in an oversized Koran being copied in Leganon, August 30, 2010/Ali Hashisho)
A blogger who filmed himself burning the Koran and urinating on it to put out the flames is to appear in court in eastern France, charged with incitement to religious hatred, legal sources said on Tuesday.
Two Christian men on trial in Algeria for eating during daylight in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan were acquitted on Tuesday, a verdict their supporters said was a triumph for religious freedom.
First the French banned Muslim face veils, now the Dutch have decided to follow suit. With debates about outlawing burqas and niqabs spreading across Europe, a third ban — perhaps even more — may not be far behind.
(Photo: A Hindu priest walks past a mosque during Friday prayers in Ayodhya, October 1, 2010/Mukesh Gupta)
Indian Muslim clerics and leaders rallied on Friday against a court ruling over the disputed Ayodhya site that largely favoured Hindus, raising fears of further alienation of the minority community. The decision has been met with calm throughout India, despite fears the ruling could spark religious riots.