Friday, 28 November 2014

Pope Francis Urges End to Fundamentalism, Terror...........

Pope Francis called for an end to fundamentalism and terrorism through a greater interfaith dialogue based on all believers having the same rights.
Speaking after a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Friday, the pontiff condemned the Islamic State (ISIL or ISIS) assault on Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
The leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics thanked Turkey for sheltering more than 1.6 million refugees, who have crossed the border to escape fighting and brutality in the areas along Turkey’s southern borders where the insurgents have declared an Islamic caliphate.
He said the international community had a "moral obligation'' to help Ankara provide for them.
The pope also met with  Mehmet Gormez, the top Muslim cleric of the constitutionally secular, but predominately Muslim nation. "Violence seeking religious justification deserves the strongest condemnation," said the pope after the meeting.
Before meeting the Turkish president, Pope Francis visited Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s mausoleum, where he prayed and laid a wreath at the symbolic grave of the founder of the Republic of Turkey and wrote a dedication in the Golden Book kept inside the mausoleum
"I make my most sincere vows for Turkey, a natural bridge between two continents, to be not only a crossroad of paths but also a place of meeting and dialogue and serene coexistence among men and women of good will of every culture, ethnicity and religion," his note read, as reported by The Associated Press.
The presidential complex
The pope met with Erdogan at his newly constructed and hugely controversial presidential palace outside Ankara, becoming the first foreign dignitary to be received at the grandiose complex.
There had been calls for the pope, known for his frugality, not to meet Erdogan at the palace, seen by critics as an authoritarian extravagance - it has 1,000 rooms and cost $615 million (500 million euros) to build.
Muslim-Christian tensions
The pope, who was welcomed at Ankara airport by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, visits Turkey amid new Muslim-Christian tensions and Islamic State militants seizing areas of Iraq and Syria, pushing an estimated 1.6 million refugees across the border into Turkey.
Vatican officials said Francis will not shy from denouncing violence in God's name or voicing concern for Christians targeted by extremists.
The Vatican said Francis will meet no refugee groups as he has done on previous trips to the region.
The 77-year-old Argentine pope will move to Istanbul on Saturday and Sunday, visiting key sites of the city's Byzantine and Ottoman heritage as well as meeting the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.