Turkish Bishop Troubled by Muslim Expansion
According to the Times, Giuseppe Germano Bernardini, archbishop of Izmir, characterized the spread of Islam as “a growing challenge to Christianity on its home ground” and “a campaign of expansion and conquest.”
“‘The domination has already started … [Government money] is being used not to create jobs in poor countries in North Africa and the Middle East, but to build mosques and cultural centers in Christian countries … including Rome, the center of Christianity. Who cannot see in this a clear program of expansion and re-conquest?” Cardinal Bernardini is reported as saying.
The Nando Times saw noted a difference in tone between this and the Holy Father's statements about Islam. “The dire tone of his warning contrasted with repeated overtures to the Islamic world by Pope John Paul II, whose comments on Islam frequently stress the values it shares with Christianity,” the news daily said, adding, “The archbishop was one of several at the synod to express frustration in dealing with the Islamic world, however. Others in the weeklong session have spoken of the need for cooperation between Muslims and Christians.”
Pope's Visit Fuels India's Fear of Conversions
Some political groups have organized protests in different places against the Church and its activities, The Hindu reported. These protests are ill advised, The Hindu article said, because they would serve only to “raise political and communal temperature in the country during the Pope's visit.
“We want to send a clear message to the Pope that during his visit here he must condemn religious conversions, for there are many ways to worship God.
The idea that only one way, the Christian way, is right goes against the very spirit of this country,” said Indian official Vishnu Hari Dalmia, in an interview with The Hindu, adding, “My party would welcome and greet the Pope with garlands if he were to clarify that he was against religious conversions and that he believed that there were different ways of worshipping God.”
The Hindu said that because Dalmia did not believe that such a condemnation would be forthcoming, he is getting his political ammunition against the Church ready. There is no indication so far that any steps have been taken to restrain the party represented by Dalmia, the VHP, The Hindu reported.