Pope encourages Indonesia stand against terrorism

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VATICAN CITY, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict today praised Indonesia's efforts to promote relations between different religions and said terrorism was a major threat to the country with the world's largest Muslim population.

At a ceremony to welcome Indonesia's new ambassador to the Holy See, the Pope said Indonesia was playing an ''important and positive role in promoting inter-religious cooperation'' and was right to condemn violence.

''Certainly at present one of the gravest threats to Indonesia's cherished idea of national unity is the phenomenon of international terrorism,'' Benedict said.

''Terrorist violence ... undermines the very foundations of society,'' Benedict added. ''This is particularly the case when the holy name of God is invoked as a justification of such acts.'' Three Islamic militants face the death penalty for the 2002 Bali bombings which killed more than 200 people. The Pope, who opposes capital punishment, did not specifically mention the case in his speech.

REUTERS PD HT2002

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