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Canadian bishops press Saudis on religious tolerance

June 01, 2012

Bishop François Lapierre of Saint-Hyacinthe, the Quebec bishop who chairs the Human Rights Committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has asked the Saudi Arabian government to disassociate itself from a sheikh’s call to destroy all churches on the Arabian Peninsula.

“In a statement on March 12, 2012, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, reputedly one of the most influential voices in the Islamic world, said that ‘only one religion,’ Islam, ‘should exist in the Arabian Peninsula,’ and thus ‘it is necessary to destroy all churches in the region,’” Bishop Lapierre said in a letter to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Canada. “Although this was widely circulated by news agencies more than two months ago, there have been no reports yet indicating that Saudi Arabian authorities have since corrected or denounced this call to religious violence.”

“We strongly urge you to express to His Royal Highness [King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud] our concerns about the statement by Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, particularly in view of the urgent need for religious harmony and tolerance in the Middle East,” the prelate added.


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