Lebanon News

Rai urges U.N. to ban insult to religions

Religious figures take part in a Christian-Muslim summit headed by Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai in Bkirki, Lebanon, on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai called Monday on the United Nations to issue a resolution that bans insult to religions at the opening of a Christian-Muslim summit in Bkirki, northeast of Beirut.

“‘Innocence of Muslims’ is offensive to Christians as well as to every religion. A resolution must be adopted at the international level to prevent the insult to religions,” said Rai, speaking at the opening of the summit to address the anti-Islam film that sparked violent clashes throughout the region.

He was referring to the film that originated in the U.S. and outraged Muslims around the world for insulting the Prophet Mohammad.

The summit kicked off under the prelate at 11 a.m. in Bkirki, seat of the Maronite Church.

It will also discuss Lebanon’s deteriorating economic situation as well as the Apostolic Exhortation for the Middle East which was signed by Pope Benedict XVI during a visit to Beirut in mid-September.

“Tampering with the [economic] situation is no longer acceptable because if the economy collapses then everything will collapse; and we won’t know what will be left of Lebanon if the economy deteriorates [further],” Rai told reporters before the close-door meeting commenced.

Political and religious leaders have called for international legal action over “Innocence of Muslims.”

The summit was a response to a call by Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani to discuss frequent attacks on Islam.

Rai has repeatedly called on the United Nations to issue a resolution on the film.

“We call on the U.N. to issue a resolution because respecting God and religions is necessary for world peace,” Rai said in a recent statement.





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