Friday, May 12, 2006

Religion is Solution to Terrorism

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York yesterday participated in a series of informal consultations of the plenary of the General Assembly on counter-terrorism strategy.

The archbishop began his English-language talk by recalling how, at the beginning of this year, the Pope had called on all men and women of good will to unite their efforts in order to overcome the phenomenon of terrorism and build a just and peaceful coexistence.

In analyzing terrorism, said Archbishop Migliore, the Pope feels that "consideration should be given not only to its political and social causes but also to its deeper cultural, religious and ideological motivations." for this reason, the Holy See "is pleased to note that" the United Nations report on the subject "incorporates a cultural and religious component in its global strategy."

"The Holy See," he went on, "is willing to support initiatives that encourage believers to be agents of peace. ... Moreover, when religion's true nature is rightly understood and lived out, it can become part of the solution rather than the problem." Therefore, the United Nations should "encourage religions to make this important contribution on their own terms: that is, religions are called to create, support and promote the precondition of every encounter, every dialogue, and of every understanding of pluralism and cultural difference. That precondition ... is the dignity of the human person.

"Our common human dignity is a true precondition because it comes before every other consideration or methodological principle, even those of international law. We see it in the 'Golden Rule,' found throughout the religions of the world."

"Encouraging awareness and experience of this common heritage ... will surely help in the translation of this positive vision into political and social categories which will, in their turn, inform the juridical categories linked to national and international relations."

The permanent observer also recalled how "the political, social and economic exclusion of immigrant communities stokes the frustration of young people and has led to breakdowns in order in some places; but the demand for a just solution to these questions remains a legitimate one.

"By resolving such questions, swiftly and justly, nations can rob terrorists of the oxygen of hatred and of grievances, real or imagined, by which they attempt to legitimize their evil deeds and recruit the impressionable."

Archbishop Migliore concluded his talk by highlighting the fact that "counter-terrorism must be characterized by denying the moral high ground to terrorists. This is just one reason why the treatment of terrorists and suspects should be according to international humanitarian norms."

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