Arab and Western Popes unite against anti-Islamic movie
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi stressed on Thursday Pope Benedict XVI will call from Lebanon for peace among Christians and Muslims in the Middle East as they share a common destiny, criticizing a film mocking Islam.
The papal visit to Lebanon “is a call on Christians in the east to unite among themselves and with others and to develop their countries as they are native residents and not minorities,” al-Rahi told reporters in a press conference in Bkirki.
He pointed out that Benedict’s call for holding a special synod and the signing of the apostolic exhortation in Lebanon is aimed at urging people in the Middle East to drop their arms, stop the vortex of violence and to sit together at a dialogue table.
The apostolic exhortation represents the conclusion of a Middle Eastern synod in 2010 that emphasized the defense of Christian minorities in the region.
Concerning the situation in neighboring country Syria, al-Rahi called on all parties to end the turmoil as it “has no benefits.”
The pope is due to leave on Friday for a three-day visit to Lebanon, which has been battling to contain an eruption of violence triggered by Syria's bloodshed, including a spate of mass kidnappings.
Benedict is expected to bring a message of peace for the Middle East.
Al-Rahi said that Christians in Lebanon are not divided rather than they have different points of view.
“This is the value of freedom in Lebanon, we hope that we all unit again,” he stated.
The patriarch also denounced a low-budget movie, "Innocence of Muslims" in which actors have strong American accents, which portrays Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.
It pokes fun at the Prophet Mohammed and touches on themes of pedophilia and homosexuality, while showing him sleeping with women, talking about killing children and referring to a donkey as "the first Muslim animal."
“The movie offends us all,” al-Rahi said.
He called on authorities to withdraw it from all communities, noting that “the United Nations and International community should take a firm stance against these kinds of offenses.”
Mystery has deepened over the film, with conflicting accounts from backers and promoters but no one owning up to having actually directed it.
U.S. media initially cited someone claiming to be an American-Israeli calling himself Sam Bacile as saying he made the film on a $5 million budget with the help of 100 Jews, but no record of such a person has been found.
What are your thoughts on the controversial film? Do you think the Pope's call for peace among Christians and Muslims in the Middle East will make any difference? Leave us your comments!
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