Pope Francis denounces 'perversion' of religion to justify violence

Francis held up Albania as an 'inspiring example' of Christian-Muslim coexistence

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The Independent Online

Pope Francis denounced how religion has been "perverted" to justify violence as he arrived in Albania to highlight a Balkan nation that endured brutal religious oppression but where Christians and Muslims now live and work together.

Francis told Prime Minister Edi Rama at the start of his 11-hour visit Sunday that Albania's interreligious harmony was an "inspiring example" for the world, showing that Christian-Muslim coexistence was not only possible but beneficial for a country's development.

He said: "Let no one consider themselves to be the 'armor' of God while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression!"

It was Francis' first visit to a majority Muslim nation since the Islamic State crackdown on Christians in Iraq.