Italy’s Moroccan Women’s Association took part in an event to reflect on a recent decision made by a prestigious Rome university, to oppose a visit by Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope cancelled a visit to Rome’s La Sapienza University after protests by academics and students concerning his position on the astronomer Galileo. Souad Sbai, the president of the Moroccan Women’s Association said that the group’s support of the pope was also to support free speech, saying that it represents a surrender to extremists and is similar to what happens towards moderate Muslims who on many occasions are censored. Citing the picking and choosing of which guests to permit at the university, the organization backed giving the pope the chance to freely speak at the university.

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