Vatican: Pope speaks out against 'violence in God's name'

Vatican City, 11 Oct. (AKI) - Pope Benedict XVI at a Rome meeting of Middle East bishops and other religious leaders on Monday lashed out against violence "in God's name". The pontiff also told the 246 people attending the conference to guarda against the spread of "terrorist ideology" in the modern world.

"It is supposedly in God's name that this violence is committed, but this is not God, these are false divinities that have to be unmasked," Benedict told the bishops who are gathered in Rome for a two week summit, or synod.

Benedict on Sunday kicked off the meeting at the Vatican by talking the future of Christians in the Middle East. War and poverty in places like Iraq and Palestine have sparked an exodus of believers from their homes.

He encouraged Christians to look past their harsh conditions to take part in talks with Jews and Muslims.

The synod talks began on Monday and are due to end on 24 October.

Rabbi David Rosen, director for inter-religious affairs of the American Jewish Committee and the Heilbrunn Institute for International Inter-religious Understanding in Israel, is due to attend the synod, along with representatives of the region's 14 churches and religious communities, the Vatican said.

Also taking part in the synod are Muhammad al-Sammak, political counsellor to the Grand Mufti of Lebanon, representing Sunni Islam; and Ayatollah Seyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Ahmadabadi, law professor at the Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran and member of the Iranian Academy of Sciences, representing Shia Islam.


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