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Pope Francis: No Fear Of Islam In Europe

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La Croix, May 17, 2016

VATICAN CITY — In a rare interview, Pope Francis told French Catholic daily La Croixthat there is no "fear of Islam" in Europe, and that the freedom to practice religion must be protected "not outside, but inside society."

The wide-ranging interview, published Tuesday, covered the Pope's views on the refugee crisis, Islam, France's rigid brand of secularism — known as laïcité — and a pedophilia scandal currently plaguing one of France's largest dioceses.

"Coexistence between Christians and Muslims is possible," Francis declared, calling on Europe to play its part in welcoming and integrating migrants, often from predominantly Islamic countries. He also pointed out what he deemed to be the root causes of the refugee crisis: wars ravaging the Middle East and Africa, and the global economic system, which has "fallen into the idolatry of money."

Francis denied that there is a "fear of Islam" in Europe, though he acknowledged strong concerns about terrorism carried out by the Islamic State (ISIS).

The Pope supported separation of church and state, noting that history has shown that a theocracy always "ends badly," he told La Croix. Still, he strongly defended religious freedom and the right of individuals to "practice their faith, not outside, but inside society," be they Muslim women wearing headscarves or Catholics wearing crucifixes.

Francis also expressed support for French Cardinal Philipp Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, who has been accused of not reporting to legal authorities several child abuse cases involving French priests under his jurisdiction.

The Pope told La Croix that the resignation of the archbishop of Lyon, who is "a good and devoted man," would be "a mistake, an imprudence." He nonetheless emphasized that a zero tolerance policy should be applied, as "through these abuses, a priest … spreads evil, resentment and suffering."

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The West Has An Answer To China's New Silk Road — With A Lift From The Gulf

The U.S. and Europe are seeking to rival China by launching a huge joint project. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States will also play a key role – because the battle for world domination is not being fought on China’s doorstep, but in the Middle East.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Indian Prime Minister Narendra and U.S. President Joe Biden shaking hands during PGII & India-Middle East-Europe Economics Corridor event at the G20 Summit on Sept. 9 in New Delhi

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Indian Prime Minister Narendra and U.S. President Joe Biden during PGII & India-Middle East-Europe Economics Corridor event at the G20 Summit on Sept. 9 in New Delhi

Daniel-Dylan Böhmer


BERLIN — When world leaders are so keen to emphasize the importance of a project, we may well be skeptical. “This is a big deal, a really big deal,” declared U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this month.

The "big deal" he's talking about is a new trade and infrastructure corridor planned to be built between India, the Middle East and Europe.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the project as a “beacon of cooperation, innovation and shared progress,” while President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen called it a “green and digital bridge across continents and civilizations."

The corridor will consist of improved railway networks, shipping ports and submarine cables. It is not only India, the U.S. and Europe that are investing in it – they are also working together on the project with Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia is planning to provide $20 billion in funding for the corridor, but aside from that, the sums involved are as yet unclear. The details will be hashed out over the next two months. But if the West and its allies truly want to compete with China's so-called New Silk Road, they will need a lot of money.

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