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Monday 20 August 2018

'The world is at war': Pope Francis calls for unity

Pope Francis is flanked by heavy security as he waves to the crowds on his way to the royal Wawel Castle in Krakow, Poland. Photo: Reuters
Pope Francis is flanked by heavy security as he waves to the crowds on his way to the royal Wawel Castle in Krakow, Poland. Photo: Reuters

David Kearns

"The world is at war." Pope Francis, who was starting a trip to Poland, said yesterday that the string of attacks indicated a war not about religion, but rather one of domination of peoples and economic interests.

"The word that is being repeated often is 'insecurity', but the real word is 'war'," he said.

"Let's recognise it. The world is in a state of war, in bits and pieces."

The murder in Normandy of Father Jacques Hamel, who on Tuesday was forced to his knees by suspected terrorists, who then slit his throat, along with other attacks in France, Germany and Syria, was similar to the attacks that were seen in world wars, the Pope said.

"Now, there is this one (war). It is perhaps not organic, but it is organised and it is war. We should not be afraid to speak this truth.

"The world is at war because it has lost peace."

Meanwhile, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has described relations between Muslims and Christians in Ireland as "good" and said the murder of the French priest was "something that no religion would stand over".

He stressed that education was the basis for real tolerance, as well as knowledge and respect for other religions.

The atrocity in the small parish church of Saint Etienne du Rouvray had been "horrifying to everyone" and people had been "absolutely stunned by the brutality".

"Long-term solutions will come from education," the archbishop said.

When his representative was asked by the Irish Independent if the archdiocese would be considering a review of its security, as is being considered by church officials in the UK, they said no such review was planned.

Separately, Mudafar Al Tawash, of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland, said that while he welcomed any dialogue to increase co-operation and understanding between faiths in Ireland, security concerns should not be the driving force.

"We are involved in the Dublin City Interfaith Forum. Security worries have never come up and I hope they never do. Fear is not the way forward," he said.

"(While) we do increase our security at the mosque whenever there is news of attacks like those in France in recent months, we've thankfully never had any problems here on the South Circular Road."

Mr Al Tawash said he had a lot of trust in gardaí, who often increased their patrols around the mosque following attacks.

A representative for the Jewish Council of Ireland said it was "a matter of community policy" not to discuss security arrangements.

Irish Independent

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