An indication of just how far the Catholics of Jerusalem may or may not go in support of the anti-Zionist agitation of the Arab Executice, is seen in the comment of Dr. Alexander Mombelli. Jerusalem correspondent of the National Catholic Welfare Council News Service on an interview granted him by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.
Discussing the Mufti’s placing of special emphasis upon the sympathy which the Palestine Moslems have for the Catholics of the Holy Land, Dr. Mombelli warns against indulging in too much optimism concerning the relations between Moslems, and Christians.
Speaking of the Mufti’s patent attempt to align Catholic sympathy on the side of the Arabs, Dr. Mombelli writes in the current issue of the “National Catholic Welfare Council News” that “a political entente between the Christians and the Moslems here (in Palestine) is not of today alone. Everyone here remembers the propaganda carried on some years ago with the united sympathy of the Holy Sepulchre and the Mosque of Omar, to form a national bloc which could meet effectively the invasion of the Jews, and that there are several Islamo-Christian societies established for the same purpose.
“However, the union of the followers of two such different religions has proved to be very solid. The formation of this political alliance was prompted by the danger of Zionism. But, if this situation had to be met, is it not possible that the religious fanaticism of such long standing will again manifest itself, and destroy the concord that has marked the recent years? One must not forget the persecutions of several centuries.
“It is true that in Palestine today the situation is no longer one of Turkish domination. But, a people do not lose in a few years their traditional instincts of hatred for foreign nations and foreign religions. It is for this reason that one must not exaggerate, even in supporting the proper claims of the Palestine nationalists.
“And even if the Holy Land should be given complete political independence under an Arab regime, the Western people would still have to be present in Jerusalem and with some organization of an international character, the better to guarantee the respect due from the Moslems to the Holy Places of Christianity and to the followers of the Gospel.”
In his interview with Dr. Mombelli, the Grand Mufti declared:
“The relations between the Christians and the Moslems in the Holy Land are today more cordial than they have ever been, and they will continue so in the future. But, to speak more accurately, one should say the inhabi (Continued on Page 6)
“Now among the Arabs of the Holy Land no difference at all is admitted. Be they Moslems or Christians, they are all sons of the same race, with the same rights and duties towards their common country. The day when Palestine will attain its political autonomy, there will be within its borders but one nation, in spite of the inevitable distinctions of religion among its sons.
“It will be as in the Valley of the Nile. In the land of the Pyramids, the Moslems and the Copts are equal citizens of the same Egyptian nation. To be appointed to state offices, no inquiry will be made concerning the religious beliefs of the candidates. Even the members of the smallest religious minority may aim at these positions as well as the members of that religion that embraces nearly the whole of the country.
“Even the foreign Christians have nothing to fear from the Moslems of the Holy Land. They, too, can come to Palestine without the slightest objection on the part of the followers of the Koran. We are the first to recognize that Palestine is a land sacred to the followers of three great religions, all of these then, have the right to come here in order to venerate the Holy Places of their faith-be-they. Moslems, Christians or Jews-provided they do not violate the laws of the country and do not trouble the public peace with religious proselytizing conducted in a provocative manner.
“Even our opposition to the Jews is not on religious grounds. It is only national. We do not object in any way to the Israelites coming to Palestine to pray. We oppose only the Zionists who claim to invade our country with the political purpose of dislodging us and re-establishing here their Kingdom of Israel.”