We must respect Muslim rights if we want Islamic countries to respect our rights, warns French Catholic Church as it speaks against burka ban
01st February 2010
The French Catholic Church warned Paris today against banning Muslim full-face veils. It said France must respect the rights of its Muslims if it wanted Islamic countries to do the same for their Christian minorities.
Bishop Michel Santier, the top French Catholic official for inter-religious dialogue, said very few women in France wore full veils and Muslim leaders agreed it was not obligatory in Islam.
A parliamentary commission last week urged the National Assembly to pass a non-binding resolution condemning full veils and then work out a law banning them.
Deputies say a total ban may not be legal but certain limits could be approved.
If Paris passed a law, Santier said, ‘the result could be the opposite of what is desired and lead to a reaction that increases the number of women wearing this garment.
‘The French, including the Catholics among them, should not let themselves be gripped by fear or a “clash of civilisations” theory,’ he said in a statement calling for distinctions between the majority of peaceful Muslims and a minority of radicals.
‘If we want Christian minorities in Muslim majority countries to enjoy all their rights, we should in our country respect the rights of all believers to practice their faith.
‘A dialogue in truth among believers will help us go beyond mutual mistrust. The path will be long and hard,’ he said.
The Vatican has long pointed to the rights of Muslim minorities in Western countries when pressing Muslim countries to allow more religious freedoms for Christian minorities there.
French police say about 1,900 women wear the full veils, known as burqas although almost all are Arab-style niqabs showing the eyes.
What the Vatican is doing is not working as things are getting worse for Christians in the Middle East, and Islam continues to advance across the West.
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