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Don’t identify Islam with terrorism

VATICAN (SE): “It is not right to identify Islam with violence. It is not right and it is not true,” Pope Francis told reporters during his return flight from World Youth Day in Poland on July 31.

The pope also stressed that he would not identify Islam with terrorism, because that would be unfair and not true.

Explaining why he didn’t describe the murder of 84-year-old Father Jaques Hamel in France on July 26 by two men claiming to represent the Islamic State as Islamist terrorism, Pope Francis said, “I believe that in every religion there is always a little fundamentalist group.” 

“I don’t like to talk of Islamic violence, because every day, when I go through the newspapers, I see violence, this man who kills his girlfriend, another who kills his mother-in-law,” he said.

“And these are baptised Catholics. If I speak of Islamic violence, then I have to speak of Catholic violence,” he explained.

“In Islam, not all are violent, not all the Catholics are violent. It is like a fruit salad, everything’s in there,” he explained.

The pontiff said he speaks with Muslim clergy. “I know how they think, they are looking for peace.”

He added that he thinks that the Islamic State presents itself with a violent identity card, but he does not believe that is Islam.

Thousands of Muslims in France responded to a call from the French Council for the Muslim Religion to attend Masses on July 31 in solidarity with their grieving Christian brothers and sisters.

On August 3, the Sunni Muslim Theological Centre of Al Azhar in Cairo thanked Pope Francis for his remarks disassociating Islam and violence.

The MENA news agency quoted the statement as saying, “On his way back from Poland, the pope said it is neither right nor true to speak of violent Islam nor Islamic terrorism. This statement reflects the pontiff’s understanding of the true nature of Islam and its teachings of tolerance.”

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