Pope Francis calls on Islamic leaders to condemn violence

(AGI) Rome, Jan. 12 - Pope Francis called on Islamic leaders tocondemn all violence in his annual address to the diplomaticcorps accredited to the Holy See. The Pope said he hoped"religious, political and intellectual leaders, especiallythose of the Muslim community, will condemn all fundamentalistand extremist interpretation of religion attempting to justifythese acts of violence". The Pope then called on the diplomatsto pray together for peace, following the example of theextraordinarily intense prayer by former Israeli President,Shimon Peres, and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, in thehope that negotiations between the two parties

(AGI) Rome, Jan. 12 - Pope Francis called on Islamic leaders tocondemn all violence in his annual address to the diplomaticcorps accredited to the Holy See. The Pope said he hoped"religious, political and intellectual leaders, especiallythose of the Muslim community, will condemn all fundamentalistand extremist interpretation of religion attempting to justifythese acts of violence". The Pope then called on the diplomatsto pray together for peace, following the example of theextraordinarily intense prayer by former Israeli President,Shimon Peres, and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, in thehope that negotiations between the two parties might soonresume, putting an end to violence and achieving a solutionenabling both populations to finally live in peace, within theclearly established and internationally recognised borders, andfor the two-State solution to finally become effective. "Howmany persons lose their lives during these cruel journeys, thevictims of unscrupulous and greedy thugs? I raised this issueduring my recent visit to the European Parliament, where Iinsisted that 'we cannot allow the Mediterranean to become avast cemetery'. Then too there is the alarming fact that manyimmigrants, especially in the Americas, are unaccompaniedchildren, all the more at risk and in need of greater care,attention and protection", he said. He continued: "Then too,the family itself is not infrequently considered disposable,thanks to the spread of an individualistic and self-centredculture which severs human bonds and leads to a dramatic fallin birth rates, as well as legislation which benefits variousforms of cohabitation rather than adequately supporting thefamily for the welfare of society as a whole". The Pope went onto recall: "Together with immigrants, displaced people andrefugees, there are many other 'hidden exiles' living in ourhomes and in our families. I think especially of the elderly,the handicapped and young people. The elderly encounterrejection when they are considered a 'burdensome presence',while the young are thrown away when they are denied concreteprospects of employment to build their future". He concluded:"Indeed, there is no poverty worse than that which takes awaywork and the dignity of work, or which turns work into a formof enslavement. This is what I sought to stress during myrecent meeting with popular movements working to findingadequate solutions to some of today's problems, including thescourge of rising unemployment among the young, illegal labour,and the dramatic situation of so many workers, especiallychildren, who are exploited out of greed". In this climate ofsocial, political and economic uncertainty that continues topenalise our country, the Pope expressed the hope that "Thebeloved Italian nation...will rediscover those values of sharedconcern and solidarity which are at the basis of their cultureand civic life, and are a reason for confidence both now and inthe future, especially for the young". (AGI) . .