Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Nation

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Nation

Article excerpt

Carter working with Graham to help suffering Iraqis

Former President Jimmy Carter has sharply criticized the U.S. policy of sanctions against Iraq and said he is working with evangelist Billy Graham to help people who are suffering in that country.

"In Iraq ... our ill-advised, sustained sanctions on shipments of food and medicine and so forth have caused a quintupling of the infant mortality rate in the last seven years," Carter said in an interview with "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly," a Public Broadcasting Service Program.

Through The Friendship Force, an organization he started with his wife, Rosalynn, Carter has been building relations with Christian and Muslim leaders in Iraq.

"Billy Graham and I agreed -- I contacted Billy Graham personally -- that it would be a good thing to bypass Saddam Hussein and to go directly to the religious leaders of Iraq," Carter said.

Carter said both he and Graham have met with those leaders in the United States. The two men are considering writing an op-ed piece together, he said. "What we are trying to do is to let the American people know ... that when we try to impose sanctions to hurt Saddam Hussein, we actually hurt the people who are already suffering under his despotic leadership," said Carter.

Carter's son Chip is vice president of The Friendship Force, which also hopes to have a future meeting with leaders in Iraq. "We're talking about the possibility of my son and Billy Graham's son [Franklin] ... going to Baghdad as highly publicized visitors who would certainly avoid the political aspect associated with Saddam Hussein, but who would give publicity to the plight of the people in Iraq who are suffering."

Judge orders New York to restore museum funds

A federal judge has ordered New York City officials to restore millions of dollars to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, which lost the funding during a dispute over a controversial art exhibit.

U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon filed an opinion Nov. 1 that granted the museum's request for a preliminary injunction against the city.

The Judge also has barred Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and other city officials from "taking steps to inflict any punishment, retaliation, discrimination or sanction" against the museum for opening the exhibit called "Sensation" in October.

Giuliani criticized the museum for showcasing a portrait of the Virgin Mary accented with elephant dung.

The museum sued the city, claiming its First Amendment rights had been violated when Giuliani decided to freeze a $7.2 million subsidy -- about a third of its annual budget. The museum sought the injunction to restore the money until the legal dispute could be settled.

U.S. bishop writes Clinton that Israel's mosque decision

The U.S. bishop's conference president told President Clinton that Israel's approval of construction of a mosque near a Catholic church in Nazareth raises concerns over Israel's capacity to protect religious minorities.

Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, conference president, wrote Clinton Oct. 29. The letter, made public Nov. 1, was delivered to the White House prior to Clinton's departure for Norway for talks on the Mideast peace process with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Fiorenza asked Clinton to express U.S. "concern over developments in Nazareth and ask Prime Minister Barak to consider the impact of recent actions on Israel's credibility in serving as a guardian of the Holy Places and protector of religious minorities."

Islamic protesters occupied land next to the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth in 1997, demanding construction of a mosque on the site they claimed was Islamic Trust or "Waqf" land. …

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