Wrong to identify Islam with violence, Pope Francis says

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE • Pope Francis has said it is wrong to identify Islam with violence and that social injustice and idolatry of money were among the prime causes of terrorism.

"I think it is not right to identity Islam with violence," he told reporters aboard the plane taking him back to Rome on Sunday after a five-day trip to Poland. "This is not right and this is not true."

Pope Francis was responding to a question about the July 26 killing of an 85-year-old Roman Catholic priest by knife-wielding attackers who burst into a church service in France and slit the priest's throat.

The attack was claimed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"I think that in nearly all religions, there is a always a small fundamentalist group," he said, adding: "We have them," referring to Catholicism.

"I don't like to talk about Islamic violence because every day when I look at the papers, I see violence here in Italy - someone killing his girlfriend, someone killing his mother-in-law. These are baptised Catholics," he said.

"If I speak of Islamic violence, I have to speak of Catholic violence. Not all Muslims are violent."

He added: "I know it's dangerous to say this, but terrorism grows when there is no other option and when money is made a god and it, instead of the person, is put at the centre of the world economy.

"That is the first form of terrorism. That is a basic terrorism against all humanity."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2016, with the headline 'Wrong to identify Islam with violence, Pope Francis says'. Print Edition | Subscribe