CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 21 April 2018

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Al-Qaida call to target Catholics for conversion

DUBLIN (CNS): An official of the al-Qaida organisation in the United States of America, Adam Gadahn, said he had written to Osama bin Laden in January 2011, to tell him that he believed that Catholics were fertile ground for conversion as a result of rage against the Vatican, resulting from policies that are unacceptable to many of its members and the spate of scandals that have rocked the Church in recent times.

He said that he laid out reasons for reaching out to Catholics, particularly the Irish. He urged bin Laden to use public anger at the Church’s mishandling of clerical abuse to encourage Irish people to convert to Islam, newly released classified documents reveal.

The letter was contained in files allegedly found at bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, after he was assassinated by special forces from the US in May last year.

The Combating Terrorism Centre, a privately funded research base at the US Military Academy at West Point, posted a number of declassified documents belonging to bin Laden on its website on May 3 that had been taken in the raid on his house.

The letter from Gadahn highlighted the reason for approaching the Irish, noting Ireland was not a participant in what he called the Bush crusade wars.

It quotes Gadahn as saying, “The increasing anger in Ireland towards the Catholic Church after exposing a number of sex scandals and others…” and goes on to speak about the hunger of young people as a result of the economic downturn in Ireland.

Gadahn called the Irish the most religious people of atheist Europe and described them as moving toward secularism......

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