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UK Bishops Praise Ahmadinejad For His “Mercy”

From the UK’s Telegraph:

Fury as bishops back Iran

By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent Nicole Martin and Brendan Carlin

09/04/2007

The Roman Catholic bishop who oversees the armed forces has provoked fury by praising the Iranian leadership for its “forgiveness” and “act of mercy” in freeing the 15 British sailors and marines last week.

The Bishop of the Forces, the Rt Rev Tom Burns, said that the religious beliefs of the Iranians had played a large part in their decision to release the hostages after holding them for more than two weeks.

His words were echoed by a leading Anglican figure, the Right Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, who said Iran had acted within the “moral and spiritual tradition of their country” and contrasted this with Britain’s “free-floating attitudes”.

Bishop Burns, who ministers to the 40,000 Catholics and their families who are members of the armed forces, said the decision to release the captives had demonstrated “faith in a forgiving God”.

But his comments were angrily denounced yesterday by politicians and soldiers as “naive” and “wishful thinking” for failing to recognise the illegality of Teheran’s actions.

In a statement welcoming the hostages’ release on Thursday, Bishop Burns said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had spoken of forgiveness, and appealed to the religious traditions of Islam. This might seem puzzling, said the bishop. But it had to be seen in the context of the Iranians’ belief that Britain had violated their territorial waters.

“So, if that is the case they are putting forward, then by their own standards, the standards enshrined in their religion, they have then chosen to put their faith into action to resolve the situation,” said the bishop.

“Faith in a forgiving God has been exemplified in action by their good deeds. They are offering to release the sailors and marines, not just as the result of diplomacy, but also as an act of mercy in accordance with their religion.”

Bishop Burns said he had issued an appeal to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, “in the name of his nation and in the name of Islam”, to free the sailors and marines, but he could not be sure whether his appeal had reached the authorities in Iran.

He added that the Iranian’s Islamic faith shared many religious values with Christianity. “Over the past two weeks, there has been a unity of purpose between Britain and Iran, whereby everyone has sought justice and forgiveness where that is appropriate,” he said.

“Repentance has a common root in each religion. We all profess to hold a faith that comes from Abraham – the Father of all Nations.

“All nations form one community: we come from the one God who created us, and we will return to the one God as our common destiny.” …

It’s more likely Mr. Ahmadinejad decided the time still isn’t quite right for the Hidden Imam to re-appear and to destroy all of the infidels.

Including Bishop Burns.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, April 9th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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