Mohammed Rashid Kabbani delivers a sermon to Sunni worshippers in Beirut
Mohammed Rashid Kabbani delivers a sermon to Sunni worshippers inside a Beirut mosque in 2010. Kabbani -- the spiritual leader of Lebanon's Sunni Muslims -- has told Pope Benedict XVI that he would consider "any attack on a Christian as an attack on all Muslims." © Anwar Amro - AFP/File
Mohammed Rashid Kabbani delivers a sermon to Sunni worshippers in Beirut
AFP
Last updated: September 15, 2012

Lebanon's mufti slams attacks on Christians

The mufti, or spiritual leader, of Lebanon's Sunni Muslims told Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday that he would consider "any attack on a Christian as an attack on all Muslims."

Mohammed Rashid Kabbani, who met the pontiff at the presidential palace, added that he also considered "any attack on a church as equivalent to an attack on mosque, because our religion prohibits us from doing so."

Kabbani's remarks were included in a letter he handed to the pope, as the pontiff also met leaders of the Shiite, Druze and Alawite communities.

He said the events rocking the Arab world "bring us Muslims and Christians a light that shows us the path to a better tomorrow, though they also bring many dangers that are a threat to us.

"But just as we made our history together in the past, we will also make our future together, based on coexistence."

After their meeting, the pope delivered an address whose language was a reflection of Kabbani's words. He urged Christians and Muslims to forge a harmonious, pluralistic society in which the dignity of each person is respected and the right to worship in peace is guaranteed.

Benedict has also encouraged Christians not to fear for their futures in a Middle East where they are vastly outnumbered by Muslims.

Kabbani said "we support your invitation to Christians of the Arab world to hold fast to their presence in the Arab region, and to take on their natural role alongside the (other) citizens of these states."

The pope is on a three-day visit to Lebanon, where Sunnis are the largest group among the Muslim majority.

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