German bishops call Muslim interpretation of controversial papal discourse “unjust”

.- The Bishops’ Conference of Germany, gathered for the plenary assembly, has called the interpretation by many Muslims of the lecture Pope Benedict XVI gave at the University of Ratisbona “unjust.”

According to the bishops, the Pope’s words were misconstrued by some to be “an unjust affirmation of scorn for the Muslim religion.”

The bishops issued a statement strongly rejecting the attitude of some who were stoking the controversy by making “accusations, demands, and even threats.”

“The Catholic Church and all persons, in Germany and throughout the world, who respect freedom of expression and defend it, will never be intimidated,” the bishops noted, expressing their hope that “Muslim leaders throughout the world will refrain from contributing in any way to exacerbating the situation again,” because “any ambiguity only leads to discord and should be avoided.”

The bishops deplored the attacks upon Christian minorities in some Muslim countries, especially the killing of Catholic nun in Somalia.  They likewise noted that in Germany, Muslims enjoy religious freedom, and they called on Muslim organizations to be committed to promoting religious freedom in their countries of origin.

Underscoring that “insulting or profaning religious faith is an abuse of freedom,” the German bishops explained that there is a fragile balance between the right to freedom of expression and the right to have one’s religious convictions respected.

They also emphasized the need, “now more than ever,” for Christian-Muslim dialogue in order to “purify the memory and give credit to the common witness of the religions in favor of peace and against violence.”

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