Jerusalem Latin Patriarch warns against Arab fundamentalism
JERUSALEM - The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem used his New Year message on Sunday to warn against nationalism and fundamentalism in the Arab world, and express hope that the region's Christians will connect "segments of society."
"The Pope asked the young and old to stay away from extreme nationalism or exacerbated fundamentalism," said Archbishop Fuad Twal, 71, the highest Roman Catholic authority in the Holy Land.
"The Arab Revolution was a reawakening of consciences for democracy, peace and social justice. Muslims and Christians took to the street side by side. The Arab Spring has generated real enthusiasm and great expectation," the prelate said.
"Doubts, however, appear on the form of government that will be implemented," he continued. "Christians hope for a strong guiding principle to unify peoples of different faiths."
In his Christmas message, Twal had said he was "concerned" about the plight of Middle East Christians.
In popular uprisings in Tunis and Egypt which ended decades of "secular" dictatorships, Islamist parties have emerged as big winners in the polls. Islamists are also taking centre stage in Libya and Syria.
The Latin Patriarch also referred to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his New Year greeting, calling for "a just and comprehensive peace" to "end the conflict and the culture of violence," and "the creation of a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel."
Born in Jordan to a Christian Bedouin tribe, Twal leads some 70,000 Roman Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Cyprus.