WASHINGTON (February 6, 2002) -- Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement, February 6, on the construction of a mosque near the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. The statement follows.
"We are encouraged by the steps of the Israeli government to deal with the disturbing question of the construction of a mosque on a square in the vicinity of the Basilica of the Annunciation at Nazareth.
"It is essential that the proposed mosque be located in some other place. We support the right of the Muslims to their places of worship. A mosque adjacent to a major Christian shrine, however, would not contribute to the strengthening of interreligious relations because it would prove difficult for both Muslims and Christians. We are confident that another and more appropriate location for the proposed mosque can be found. It will be to the advantage of all if this matter is quickly settled."
Bishop Wilton D. Gregory
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
February 6, 2002