Hindus, Jews Ask Pope to Abandon Double Standards on Roma Apartheid

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Nevada (US), Jan 17 (ANI):Hindus and Jews claim that Pope Benedict holds double standards on the issues of Roma (Gypsy) apartheid in Europe.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed; and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA; in a statement in Nevada today, said that despite their repeated requests, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI had not come out openly to support the 15-million European Roma who faced apartheid conditions. But in a message for "19th World Day of the Sick, 2011", posted on Holy See's website on January 15, Pope says (as per Zenit.org translation): "...know how to recognize and serve him also in those brothers who are poor, sick, suffering and in difficulty, who have need of your help".

The Pope also points out in this message: "A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through 'com-passion' is a cruel and inhuman society". And he quotes in this message: "As I have loved you, so must you love one another" (John 13:34).

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, and Rabbi Freirich argued that it was a travesty to silently watch Roma suffer day after day for the last about 1200 years, and do nothing about it. Roma apartheid occurred right under the Pope's nose in Europe. Hindus and Jews had been regularly appealing to the Pope to openly support the Roma cause and come up with a White Paper on their plight, and yet the Pope continued to ignore these reasonable requests for justice in Europe for the Roma.

Rajan Zed and Rabbi Jonathan Freirich further said that the alarming condition of the Roma people was a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as they reportedly regularly faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, and racist slogans on Internet.

The Pope needed to make a public statement against persecution of the Roma, Zed and Freirich added.

Rajan Zed and Rabbi Freirich pointed out that religions shared a conviction to help the helpless, defenseless and downtrodden. The Pope should recognize, acknowledge and affirm the Roma as children of God who deserved to be treated like all other people-as equals. Roma apartheid was shocking, reprehensible, hazardous and immoral. As the most powerful religious leader in the world, the Pope's must lead in upholding the moral obligation to make efforts to stop the frequent human rights violations suffered by Roma.

Hindu Rajan Zed and Jewish Jonathan Freirich offered help to the Pope, if asked, to support the Roma cause.(ANI)

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