Pope Urges Solidarity and Respect for Life to Defeat Terrorism

Following Attacks in Istanbul and Iraq

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Following the bloody attacks in Istanbul and the numerous terrorist attacks in Iraq, John Paul II made an appeal to overcome terrorism and violence with solidarity and respect for life.

«No one can give in to the temptation to discouragement and retaliation,» the Pope said. «Respect for life, international solidarity, observance of the law must prevail over hatred and violence.»

The Holy Father made his appeal today before praying the midday Angelus with several thousand pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

He spoke in the wake of a week of tragic attacks. On Saturday, in Turkey, attacks against two synagogues ended in the death of 23 people. That same day, two U.S. helicopters collided, causing the death of 17 American soldiers.

On Wednesday, a car bomb exploded in front of an Italian military base in the southern Iraqi town of Nasiriyah, killing 33 people, including 19 Italians.

«While I continue to pray for the victims, I renew the expression of my spiritual closeness to the many families that mourn their dead,» the Pope said, his voice clearer than in recent weeks. «I express at the same time my heartfelt solidarity with all those involved in caring for the wounded and remedying the damages caused.»

As soon as John Paul II heard the news of the attacks on the synagogues in Istanbul, he sent a telegram urging «once again the men and women of the whole world to mobilize in favor of peace and against terrorism.»

«Religious membership should never be a source of conflicts, which bloody and disfigure humanity,» the Holy Father said in his message to the Turkish nation.

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