Political Islam ‘a threat for all’

VATICAN CITY – THE rise of political Islam in the Middle East is ‘a threat for all,’ the main rapporteur for this month’s Vatican synod conference of Christian leaders from the region said on Monday. The inhabitants of the Middle East – Christians, Jews and Muslims – should all ‘confront these extremist currents together,’ Antonios Naguib, who is the Coptic patriarch of Alexandria in Egypt, told reporters.

He said many Christians were emigrating from the Middle East because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq, the economic situation, the rise in Muslim fundamentalism and restrictions of freedoms.

Mr Naguib also criticised the situation in the Palestinian Territories. ‘Life is very difficult and sometimes unacceptable’ there and ‘the position of Christian Arabs is very delicate,’ he said, adding that the current conditions in the area ‘favour fundamentalism.’