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Enabling Christians join the 'Arab Spring' insurgents

Catholic World News - August 15, 2011

Catholic prelates in several Arabic countries have defended the incumbent regimes against the insurgents of the “Arab Spring,” notes John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

(The most conspicuous case, Allen observes, is that of Bishop Giovanni Martinelli, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli, who has issued a long series of statements denouncing the NATO-backed effort to unseat Colonel Qaddafi.)

Church leaders have reason to fear abrupt political change in the Middle East, Allen concedes. Iraq provides a vivid example of the suffering Christians can face if political instability unleashes Islamic militants. But Christians should also have an interest in curbing corruption and oppression, he argues.

To help encourage Arab Christians to join in the campaign for political reform, Allen says, “Western governments should make it clear that protection of religious minorities, including Christians, is a sine qua non of diplomatic recognition and material assistance.”

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