Subject: LUSA: Lisbon Aid Chief Brings Help to Muslim Minority

East Timor: Lisbon Aid Chief Brings Help to Muslim Minority 12 Apr-11:29

Rev. Vitor Melicias, the head of Portugal's aid mission for East Timor, arrived in Dili Thursday for a weeklong visit and attempts to bridge hostilities between the territory's Christian majority and Muslim minority.

"We come in solidarity and with the hope that this country builds itself in the full understanding of the democratic rules of civilized peoples", said Melicias, who is a Catholic priest.

As a gesture of goodwill, Melicias, who is accompanied by the leader of Lisbon's Muslims, Abdool Vakil, said he was bringing a euros 20,000 contribution for the Muslim communities of Dili and Baucau, the targets of recent mob violence.

Vakil told Lusa that he came with a "Christian brother" to bring a message of "ecumenical solidarity and hope" to the East Timorese, a predominantly Christian people in the middle of the largely Muslim Indonesian archipelago.

During his weeklong stay, Melicias will participate in Easter celebrations, marking the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and oversee the transfer to Timorese authorities of fire brigades created with Portuguese aid.

Along with Vakil, Melicias will also visit the ruins of Baucau's mosque, which was burned down by a mob last month.

SAS -Lusa-

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