Israeli Government Prohibits Construction of Nazareth Mosque

VATICAN CITY, MAR 4, 2002 (VIS) - At midday today, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls made the following declaration:

"The Holy See has learned with satisfaction of the Israeli government's decision to cancel the project for constructing a mosque in the immediate vicinity of the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, thus re-establishing legality, respect for the Holy Places and consideration for the respective communities of believers.

"It is to be hoped that the traditional harmonious co-existence between Muslims and Christians in Nazareth, endangered by a provocative initiative, may continue with the assistance of the authorities and of the entire population.

"As may be easily understood, this is not a decision against Muslims, whose own political and religious authorities - in the region and in the world - mostly expressed themselves contrary to a project that offended the sensibility of the Christian world and of pilgrims."

Vatican Information Service
4. mars 2002