DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     September 16, 1999     vol. 10, no. 176

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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        PARIS (CWNews.com) - Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran said he regretted that no Muslim leaders had spoken out against the slaughter of Catholics in East Timor by mainly Muslim militias, according to an interview on Wednesday in the French Catholic newspaper La Croix.

        Archbishop Tauran also said he was disappointed at how slowly the United Nations reacted to the massive slaughter in the mainly Catholic territory which voted earlier this month to seek independence from Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country. Pro-Indonesia militias, armed and trained by the country's military, have killed thousands and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and the country.

        On this subject, allow me to tell you how disappointed I am to see that no Muslim religious personality has raised his voice to condemn the massacre of Christians and the systematic destruction of the Church's works in Timor," the archbishop said. "Pope John Paul II was a daring defender of human rights when the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina faced the same fate," he added. "That gives you something to think about."

        On Wednesday, the UN Security Council authorized a multinational peacekeeping force led by Australia to restore peace in the territory after international criticism that Indonesian soldiers were abetting the massacres. The force was expected to start arriving by Monday. The UN World Food Program also said it will implement a plan to air drop 70 tons of high-energy biscuits to hundreds of thousands of people hiding in Timor's wilderness and said to be suffering from a lack of food, drinking water, and medical care.

        The Vatican Fides news agency quoted Carmelite nuns in East Timor on Wednesday who said the Indonesian military planned to bomb refugees as soon they come out of hiding to search for the UN food parcels. "The Indonesian army is planning to bomb refugees in the mountains to the south of Dili," said Sister Maria del Carmen Aparicio. "They are waiting for humanitarian air drops to coax out the refugees and show them which areas to hit."

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

September 16, 1999       volume 10, no. 176


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