Madrid: Pope Benedict XVI and Spain`s Prime Minister on Friday voiced concern at the "rise of xenophobic ideology" in Europe following the mass shooting in Norway.
The pontiff, in Madrid for the Catholic World Youth
Festival, held talks with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez
Zapatero on wide range of issues, including the international
economic situation, the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of
Africa and the uprisings in the Arab world, the premier`s
The two discussed "various current issues, such as the
recent events in Norway and both were concerned about the rise
of a xenophobic ideology that threatens the values of
religious freedom and coexistence characteristic of European
society," it said in a statement.
In Norway`s worst peace-time massacre, rightwing extremist
Behring Breivik allegedly shot and killed 69 mainly young
people in a rampage on the island of Utoeya on July 22.
Breivik, 32, chose the island for his shooting rampage
because it was hosting a summer camp for members of the youth
wing of Norway`s ruling Labour Party.
A further eight people were killed by a massive bomb that
he detonated outside government offices in Oslo.
During his previous visit to Spain in November, Benedict
railed against social reforms introduced by Zapatero such as
same-sex marriage and easier access to abortion, prompting the
Prime Minister to defend the measures.