Pope Francis denounces 'perversion' of religion to justify violence

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

Agency
Sunday 21 September 2014 11:46 BST
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Pope Francis gives a press conference aboard the plane carrying him to Tirana, Albania on 21 September, 2014
Pope Francis gives a press conference aboard the plane carrying him to Tirana, Albania on 21 September, 2014 (Getty Images)

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.

AP

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