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Pope seeks freedom of religion in Mideast

Nov. 11, 2010 at 4:51 PM
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VATICAN CITY, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI Thursday called for all Islamic countries to offer the same religious freedoms Muslims enjoy in Christian-majority countries.

The pope said interfaith dialogue will fail without "the ability of all to freely practice their religion in private and public," ANSA reported.

''Religion can never justify intolerance or war. One cannot use violence in the name of God," the pope wrote in the ''apostolic exhortation'' document published Thursday.

The Vatican in recent months has grown increasingly concerned with the fate of Christians in Middle Eastern nations after an October suicide bombing in a Baghdad church killed 52 people.

"Every religion should encourage the proper use of reason and promote ethical values that build civil coexistence," the pope said.

In a letter to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, the pope called on the world's economic powerhouses, meeting at the Group of 20 summit in Seoul, to acknowledge the "deeper reasons" for the economic crisis and the ''primary and central value of human dignity."

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