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Question of the Day
Pope: Mideast peace is possible, urgent
Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday called for greater religious freedom in the Middle East and said that peace there is possible, urgently needed and the best remedy to the exodus of Christians from the region.
Benedict celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday to mark the end of a two-week meeting of Mideast bishops, called to discuss the future of embattled Christians in the largely Muslim region.
He called freedom of religion “one of the fundamental human rights, which each state should always respect” and said the issue should be the subject of dialogue with Muslims.
The pontiff said that, while freedom of worship exists in many Mideast countries, the space given to the actual freedom to practice “is many times very limited.” Expanding this space, he said, is necessary to guarantee “true freedom to live and profess one’s faith.”
The exodus of the faithful from the birthplace of Christianity has been a major theme of the meeting, which gathered about 185 bishops from Latin and Eastern rite Catholic churches across the region and from the diaspora. In addition, two imams and a rabbi were invited to address the synod.
The Catholic Church has long been a minority in the Middle East, but its presence is shrinking further as a result of conflict, discrimination and economic problems.
WikiLeaks papers scoured for Danish troop misdeeds
COPENHAGEN | Denmark’s military said Sunday it would study hundreds of thousands of leaked U.S. military documents on the war in Iraq amid reports that the classified files reveal wrongdoings by Danish soldiers.
“We want to see the documents for ourselves and compare them to our own information,” Danish Defense Command spokesman Torben Kjedsen told Agence France-Presse.
Late Friday, whistleblower website WikiLeaks published nearly 400,000 classified U.S. military documents on the war in Iraq, presenting a grim snapshot of the conflict, especially of the abuse of Iraqi civilians by Iraqi security forces.
According to Danish media, the documents reveal how Danish troops deployed in Iraq between 2003 and 2007 had, among other things, handed over 62 prisoners to Iraqi authorities, despite warnings that the prisoners would very likely face abusive treatment and torture while in police custody.
“While the Danish government has spoken of promoting human rights in Iraq, the leaked documents indicate that the Danish troops have in fact made possible serious human rights violations in the war-torn country,” reported news website Information.dk, which had advance access to the files.
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