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EUobserver / Church enters the fray in European elections

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The Christian church has in the UK, Austria and Poland spoken out against far-right parties in the EU elections, while in Sweden a fringe movement calling for internet freedoms is gaining ground.

The UK's most senior Anglican clerics, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, at the weekend urged mainstream voters to go to the ballot box on 7 June in order to keep extremist parties, such as the BNP, out of the European Parliament.

Mountain cross: the church says low turnout could see far-right parties score high

"It would be tragic if the understandable sense of anger and disillusionment with some MPs over recent revelations [on expenses] led voters to shun the ballot box," the pair said in a statement, adding that "some parties" want to exploit "fear and division within communities."

The Austrian church criticised what it calls the exploitation of Christian symbols after the leader of the far-right FPO party recently held up a cross at a demonstration against a Muslim centre. The FPO's election platform uses the slogan "The West in Christian Hands."

The cross "must not be misused as a fighting symbol against other religions," the Archbishop of Vienna, Roman Catholic cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, said.

by Fran on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 11:38:05 AM EST
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