Holy See to Press for Christians’ Rights in Muslim Lands

Archbishop Lajolo Urges Reciprocity for Religious Freedom

VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See confirmed its intention to mobilize within the international community in the defense of Christians’ fundamental rights in predominantly Muslim countries where religious freedom is denied.

Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican secretary for relations with states, confirmed this decision when addressing the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers on the topic “Migration and Mobility from and to Countries of Islamic Majority.”

Speaking on Vatican Radio, Archbishop Lajolo commented on Benedict XVI’s appeal on Monday to Muslim countries to practice reciprocity in the recognition of religious freedom.

Reciprocity, as understood by the Holy See, means that, if Christian countries recognize Muslims’ freedom of worship, then Islamic nations should likewise recognize a similar right for Christians.

However, in many Muslim countries this concept seems to be foreign, lamented Archbishop Lajolo. Such countries, he said, invoke “for their citizens abroad the fullness of rights that, on the contrary, they do not recognize for immigrants of other confessions in their own territory.”

The situation is forcing Christians to abandon countries of Muslim majority, the Vatican official noted.

Thus, the archbishop said that the Holy See will make its voice heard in international organizations and conferences to promote respect for the human rights of immigrants and recognition of a juridical situation proper to the dignity of every person.

Archbishop Lajolo added that the Holy See will continue to state its opposition to the use of religion to justify terrorism and violence.

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