“It is ironic that the most fundamental of all human rights, as our holy Father himself calls it, the right to religious freedom, is being attacked today from hundreds of thousands, even millions of people, in many countries of the world. This has been brought to our attention by Jewish writers like Abe Rosenthal in the New York Times and by a number of others, largely non-Catholic, while our voice has hardly been heard. I think we have been unaware of what has been happening in many parts of the world.

On Friday, for example, Bishop Macram Max Gassis from Sudan visited me. The bishop is now in exile, but he goes back secretly to Sudan, to where his people are, in the Nuba Mountains. He told me about the horrifying brutalities in the name of Islamic fundamentalism.

We have many fine Muslims here in New York. There are many fine Muslims throughout the world. I have met and spoken with many of them here, in Lebanon and Jordan and elsewhere. I have worked side by side with them in the cause of peace. But militant Islamic fundamentalism in certain countries of the world is engaged in the most ferocious barbarities. The women, for instance, from the Nuba Mountains are raped. Little boys are reported sold into slavery and little girls into prostitution because they are Christian. We Catholics [must] make our voices heard …”