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East Timor's Muslim PM touched by Bishop Belo's post-riot visit

East Timor's prime minister tearfully acknowledged Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo's presence among Muslims on their Id al-Fitr feast in an emotional speech two days after rioters burned their mosque.

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, a Muslim, and Bishop Belo, who recently resigned as apostolic administrator of Dili diocese, both visited Almunawarah Mushola on Friday, Id al-Fitr day.

The "mushola", a small Islamic worship place, is located in Fatuhada village, about 1 km west of Kampong Alor, where rioters set fire to An'nur Mosque last week.

Alkatiri said: "We Muslims in this country are celebrating Id al-Fitr in the midst of a national crisis."

Silence followed, for almost a minute. He finally continued, "But the presence of Bishop Belo here among Muslims shows (his) high tolerance and democratisation."

UCA News

Belo apologises to East Timor Muslims after rioting (9/12/02)
East Timor calm after riots (BBC 5/12/02)

12 Dec 2002