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Church urges Israeli PM to halt Nazareth mosque

    The custodian of the Holy Land, Franciscan Fr Giovanni Battistelli, has sent an urgent letter to the Israeli Prime Minister Mr Ariel Sharon calling on him to interrupt "without further delay" the building of a mosque in Nazareth.
    Fides reports there are plans to build the mosque on the door step of the Church of the Annunciation.
    In his appeal, the Custodian points out that since the church in question in practically "under siege" the Israeli government could be said to no longer "guarantee access to Holy Places".
    It was the Israeli government that took the "ill-fated decision to bow to the extremist elements". Wednesday was the deadline for presenting building plans for the mosque.
    The custodian claims the site chosen for the mosque was occupied illegally by Muslim extremists who then obtained it from the government, while the Nazareth authorities had already destined it to be a public square necessary for the flow of thousands of Christian pilgrims.
    The letter also mentions the opposition to the plan voiced from Christians, Muslims and Jews world wide, and even from the American president George Bush.
   
Fides
   
6-Apr-01