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Holy Land Custos calls on Muslim clerics to confront extremism, Christians to stay in Syria

February 04, 2016

Stating that it is impossible for jihadists “to control such large parts of Syria and Iraq for such a long time without support from the general population,” the Custos of the Holy Land called upon moderate Muslim clerics to confront the links between Muslim theology and extremism.

“It is surely a deviation, but there are links to the established theology,” Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the minister provincial of the Middle East's Franciscans, told Aid to the Church in Need. “They have to ask themselves: What in our doctrine led to modern fundamentalism?”

He added:

After all, you have to ask yourself where the hundreds of thousands of fundamentalists suddenly came from. They kill Christians and persons of different religions. Why are they doing this? This needs to be answered by non-radical theologians.

Father Pizzaballa also urged Syria’s beleaguered Christians to remain in their homeland.

“Under no circumstances would I encourage the Christians to emigrate,” he said. “I would tell them: Go to a safe part of the country, but stay in Syria. Fleeing is not a solution. Because the Christians belong here. They have a calling here. And Europe is not a paradise.”

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