Wiesenthal Center: Cardinal Should Denounce Libya - Not U.S. - for a “Culture Of Vengeance” Misplaced Compassion for a Mass Murderer Instead of the 270 Victims

August 10, 2010

Wiesenthal Center: Cardinal Should Denounce Libya - Not U.S. - for a “Culture Of Vengeance” Misplaced Compassion for a Mass Murderer Instead of the 270 Victims

U.S. Senate query about Lockerbie bomber’s release denounced by leader of Scotland’s Catholics

The Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Scotland’s Catholic leader, for condemning the U.S. system of justice as based on “vengeance and retribution” and a planned renewed investigation by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee of Scotland’s release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. In defending the release of al-Megrahi, who allegedly had three months to live and who received a hero’s welcome when he arrived in Tripoli Libya last year, Cardinal O’ Brien praised Scotland’s “culture of compassion” where “justice is tempered with mercy.”

“It was misplaced compassion in the first place that led to this travesty of justice,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human rights NGO. “Now Cardinal O’Brien’s words only add to the suffering of the families of 270 innocent people blown out of the sky over Scotland.”

Rabbi Cooper noted that Cardinal Obrien’s comments were in stark contrast to the ranking Roman Catholic leader in New York. Archbishop Timothy Dolan, at the time of al-Megrahi’s release said this, “Sad and perplexing.... Mercy can be demonstrated in ways other than by releasing a man responsible for so much pain, suffering and death.” Another Christian leader, the Episcopalian Bishop of New York, Mark Sisk, called the release, “a terrible misunderstanding of what compassion is.”

Rabbi Cooper said that as Jews are now entering the days of reflection and repentance leading to Yom Kippur, “perhaps it would be appropriate for Jew, Gentile and atheist alike to ponder the universal truth of the ancient Jewish Medrash: ‘He who is merciful to the cruel will become cruel to the merciful.’”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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