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Pope Says Religious Freedom Must Be Criterion for EU Membership
By Flavia Krause-Jackson and Ayla Jean Yackley

For the full story, go to (Bloomberg) — Pope Benedict XVI, speaking in Turkey, the European Union’s only majority Muslim candidate, called on the EU to ensure that religious freedom is a criterion for membership and that its “Christian roots” are preserved.

“Those engaged in this great project should not fail to take into consideration all aspects affecting the inalienable rights of the human person, especially religious freedom,” the pope said in a joint declaration with Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos I today in Istanbul . “In every step toward unification, minorities must be protected.”

The European Union repeatedly has demanded that Turkey expand the rights of religious minorities. Turkey does not recognize Bartholomeos as leader of the world’s Orthodox and has refused EU demands to open a closed seminary that has been used to train Orthodox priests.