Pope criticizes West for imposing own model to Mideast

Pope Francis has criticized attempts by Western countries to impose their own brand of democracy on countries with different social and political textures, such as Iraq.

“Faced with current… terrorism, we should question the way a model of democracy that was too Western was exported to countries where there was a strong power, as in Iraq, or Libya, where there was a tribal structure,” the Pope said.

“We cannot advance without taking these cultures into account,” he added.

He also tacitly referred to the chaos and violence that has erupted in Libya after the ouster and killing of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi by an American-led coalition in September 2011.

“As a Libyan said recently, ‘We used to have one Gaddafi, now we have 50,’” the Pope said.

Libya was turned into a major battleground for rival militants when its long-time dictator Gaddafi was toppled in a militancy with the backing of Western powers some five years ago.

The country has now two administrations, one which is recognized by world powers resides in the city of Tobruk and the other rules areas from the capital Tripoli.

A unity government formed from members of the two rival administrations has had difficulty taking over.

The Arab country, which is separated from Europe only through a relatively small stretch of the Mediterranean Sea, has also seen some high-profile attacks by Daesh, a major terrorist organization that is mainly based in Iraq and Syria.

Pope Francis has on occasions blasted “cultural colonialism,” accusing Western powers of seeking to impose their values on developing countries in return for financial aid.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Pope also said Europe should better integrate refugees and asylum seekers, condemning the “ghettoizing” of refugees as a wrong and misguided step in the fight against terrorism.

He pointed to the March 22 Daesh bomb attacks in Brussels, which killed at least 30 people and wounded about 230 others, saying, “The terrorists were Belgians, children of migrants, but they came from a ghetto.”

Pope Francis also hailed the election of UK Labour Party candidate Sadiq Khan as the first Muslim mayor of London.

“In London, the new mayor was sworn in a cathedral and will probably be received by the Queen. This shows the importance for Europe to regain its ability to integrate,” the Pope noted.

Khan, the son of a Pakistani bus driver and a seamstress, scored a resounding victory over his Conservative rival, billionaire Zac Goldsmith, in the race for the mayoralty of Britain’s capital and financial center.

Khan won 57 percent of the votes after second preferences were taken into account with Goldsmith receiving 43 percent, according to The Guardian.

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