EGYPT: Pope Urges Religious Leaders to Preach Tolerance, Peace

CAIRO MAY 2, 2017(CISA)-Pope Francis has urged religious leaders in Egypt to preach peace and tolerance to counter religious violence.

“As religious leaders we are called to unmask violence that masquerades as purported sanctity. Let us say once more a firm and a clear NO to every form of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out in the name of religion or in the name of God,” said Pope Francis April 28 at the Al Azhar University.

Speaking during a peace conference hosted by grand Imam of AL Azhar, the Pope urged the leaders to teach the youth how to respond to extremist teachings and help them to mature.

“To counter effectively the barbarity of those who foment hatred with violence, we need to accompany young people, helping them on the path to maturity and teaching them to respond to incendiary logic of evil by patiently working for the growth of goodness,” he said.

The Pope condemned religious extremism and warned that no civilized society can be achieved from suppressing others using the name of God.

“No civilized society can be built without repudiating every ideology of evil, violence and extremism that presumes to suppress others and to annihilate diversity by manipulating and profaning the sacred name of God,” he said.

He backed the government’s response to insurgency led by extremist Islamic State group in the country.

Egypt declared a state of emergency after twin suicide bombings in Coptic Orthodox Church killed 75 people on Palm Sunday in April. Islamic state claimed responsibility.

Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb the grand Imam thanked the pope for his comments adding that Islam is a peaceful religion.

“Islam is not a religion of terrorism just because minority from among its followers hijacked some of its texts to shed blood and be provided by some weapons and funds,” the Sheikh said.

Pope Francis also met President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Pope Tawadros II the spiritual leader of Coptic Orthodox Church.

He ended his two-day tour on April 29 after delivering mass to a crowd of estimated 25,000 Catholics in Egypt’s’ Air Force Stadium.

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