2011-10-11 18:12:00

Patriarch Kirill worried that events in Arab world are perceived as Christian-Muslim conflict

Chisinau, October 11, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia is worried that, as he sees it, many people in the Middle East perceive the events that have happened there of late as a conflict between the Christians and the Muslims.

"It is absolutely unacceptable if Europe is perceived as an aggressor in the Arab world's eyes. This must be prevented by any means, because, although Europe today is, excuse me, godless and secular and does not associate itself too much with Christianity, the deeply religious Islamic population still sees Europe as Christians," Patriarch Kirill said in an interview with Moldovan and Romanian TV channels and the Russian news TV channel Rossiya-24 in Chisinau.

Therefore, "at the market and street level, many see Europe's engagement in the problems of the Arab world - not only political but also military - as some combat between Christians and Muslims," he said.

It is important to prevent "an inter-religious and inter-civilizational factor, because this all can backfire very painfully in the globalizing world, and not only in the Middle East, but also in European counties," he said.

At the same time, the Patriarch admitted that he did not possess enough information to make final conclusions regarding the events in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

"I would express some concerns. My first concern is that neither you, nor me or the international community understand clearly what share in everything that is going on there today belongs to the people's initiative and what share is a result - let's choose the mildest wording possible - of assistance to this process from abroad," he said.

It is not wholly clear "how much the expression of the people's will is spontaneous and natural - as the people did not agree with their rulers, and surely some share of this reaction exists - and how much this situation was organized," he said.